Router Forums banner
1 - 20 of 20 Posts

·
Registered
Joined
·
384 Posts
Discussion Starter · #1 ·
I'm thinking about designing a new product (like a cabinet) that can be shipped and assembled by the consumer. Anyone have experience designing/building knockdown furniture?

I've assembled enough IKEA products (hundreds) that I understand the basics. I'm thinking about building the prototype using biscuits then the production using Festool domino (I don't have one). I believe it's perfectly acceptable to require these customers to glue the pieces together, but it would be better if I could design it without.

The design needs to be such that we can build the parts with standard cabinet shop equipment (router/jigs, drill press, table saw - no CNC) Since for the first 50-100 units I expect to build them myself or sub out to local cabinet shop.

So any thoughts?

Sorry, I'm not comfortable disclosing the product to such a learned bunch as reads this forum since so many of you could easily copy my idea. I know that will happen eventually but I'd like to get a little head start on my competition :)

thanks
Everend

PS. If you really need to know and I recognize you as having conversed with me before privately and in other threads, I may tell you what it is if that will really help you provide better advice. At this point I'm more looking for anyone who's learned some things first hand about designing and building knockdown cabinetry.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
341 Posts
i haven't done what you are trying to do per say but I can tell you to take a zillion pictures of your idea, (prototype) write down exactly what it is what it does blah blah blah as much detail as you can date it all put it in an envelope and mail it to yourself but make sure you send it so you have to sign for it, but when you get it leave it sealed .......you may need to prove you came up with the idea someday.....and what better evidence you would have is a registered letter.....
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
384 Posts
Discussion Starter · #3 ·
Yea, I've been thinking about the patent angle. I don't think I'll be doing anything really that's patentable. I'll be using traditional joinery and common knockdown techniques. I would be shocked if I could patent 'using knockdown techniques to produce a shippable xxxx'
 

·
Retired Moderator
Joined
·
16,385 Posts
You'll need a bunch of well made, durable jigs because the fastest and most efficient way is to make large batches and if they are going to fit together properly then you'll need to jig them so that all of them are identical. I worked for a short while in a cabinet shop and a lot of that type work was done by a CNC router and I ran a CNC beam saw (worth over 100 grand) that cut all the panels. Even with the CNC router we had some issues at times with dowel holes matching up and it was mostly, I think, issues with vacuum hold downs and getting the pieces registered to zero accurately. Even with handheld jigs you'll have to be careful about the same issues. Dowels are one of the most common line up methods and you can make some pretty good jigs with these: Bushings and Inserts - Lee Valley Tools One of the best parts about these is if you think the bushing is starting to wear you just unscrew it and screw in a new one so the jig never changes. They can also be used to drill the pilots for screw holes. That would be one of the best tips I have for you.
 
  • Like
Reactions: Everend and OPG3

·
Registered
Joined
·
30 Posts
You mentioned using Festool Dominos. They just came out with a knock down system for the larger Domino machine. I saw a demo recently and it really holds. If I recall correctly, the wood needs to be at least 1.5 inches thick. For thinner panels, a company named Dominofix has come out with knock down fasteners for the smaller domino machine.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
239 Posts
I built this wall unit for my son when he was in med school in Maryland and we were in Colorado. The unit is made of oak veneer plywood and the face frames front and back are solid oak. I used dowels to attach the vertical boards to the horizontal shelves and biscuits align the face frames to the shelves. Steel brackets hold the face frame to the shelves in the corners where that can't be seen. You assemble it laying on the floor to get everything aligned and then lift it up with help as it weighs around 200 pounds. My son is in the Air Force and has moved this 3 times so far.
 

Attachments

  • Like
Reactions: ksidwy

·
Registered
Joined
·
1,992 Posts
Everend, As one who holds numerous patents - I agree there's quite likely nothing patentable about KD (knock-down) furniture. Beside IKEA, there's another BIG MANUFACTURER of KD furniture, SAUTER. Sauter isn't really a household world, but they do make some good quality for the money KD items.
What I am impressed with is the wide variety of special purpose fasteners and connections that are offered in some of the specialty outlets and online.

Otis Guillebeau from Auburn, Georgia
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
191 Posts
Everand,

I just purchased a KD sewing cabinet for my wife for her birthday. I was going to try to build one, but the cost of a quality lift for a 40 LB sewing machine was a little over $ 400.00, and I didn't even have plans for a cabinet yet or the hardware for the swinging doors and support structure sooooo. I paid just under $ 1000.00 for the cabinet that she picked out from pictures only, since we visisted many sewing centers within 50 miles and every store had heard of these products, but not one had any on display, that should have been my warning. Anyway, it is a piece of junk that I don't think will last very long. As I expected, it was not made in the US, what I didn't expect, for the amount of money I spent, was low grade it was. The laminate, if that is what they used, was paper thin and will easliy chip the first time something hits one of the corners, the KD hardware was metal screws into plastic locks and most of the holes, which I assumed were drilled on a CNC, were very poorly matched. I won't name the company because I am now trying to get a complete refund through my credit card company, so for now I will keep this low key. If I do get the full refund, I will try to find a local cabinet shop to have one built. Please don't take this as an insult to you, but I will not purchase KD furniture again. Sorry for the long rant.
 

·
Registered
Mike
Joined
·
3,940 Posts
You mentioned using Festool Dominos. They just came out with a knock down system for the larger Domino machine. I saw a demo recently and it really holds. If I recall correctly, the wood needs to be at least 1.5 inches thick. For thinner panels, a company named Dominofix has come out with knock down fasteners for the smaller domino machine.
You can get the Festool hardware in the USA but it looks like there are no distributors for the Dominofix hardware in the USA.

I don't think glue up is an option unless you make sure that the buyer knows that they need clamps and squares for assembly or you open yourself up to very bad reviews of your product. Put notice on the package and any written description of the product. Then you will still get bad reviews from people that have no idea what they are doing when trying to assemble you product.
 
  • Like
Reactions: Herb Stoops

·
Registered
Joined
·
8,956 Posts
My first thought is that the way the currant young mobile society may just want knock down furniture as they are always on the move. A lot easier to move knock down than assembled furniture. Another consideration is that shipping might be more than the product cost.
Herb
 

·
Registered
Theo
Joined
·
7,194 Posts
Listen to Otis on patent stuff.

When I read knock down, I thought you meant something that would just fit together. What you are meaning is what I would call take-apart.

A long time back I made a batch of knock down book shelves. They are about 18" wide, about the same deep, and about a foot tall, and 4 pieces. The bottom piece is slotted about 1" or so on each side, halfway, to accept the side pieces. The side pieces are slotted an 1" or so from back to front at bottom, and slide in the bottom, and is also slotted at the back, from top to middle, to accept the back. The back is slotted to fit the two end pieces. All 1/2" plywood, very sturdy, don't know how much weight they will hold, but a lot. The sides are angled just a bit, so you can stack them. Anything over 4 levels tho they tend to start tilting. You can cut a piece that will fit in the bottom of the piece on the floor. I also cut pieces that go from side of one to the side of another, making a shelf. One I made a piece with 'guides' to fit on the top shelf, making a shelf or top. I really don't know if they would sell, probably not, but are remarkably handy, and very quick and easy to put together, or take apart. What I especially like is, no fasteners. I guess you would call them puzzle shelves. I have my hallway lined with them, filled with books and magazines, one with a top by my front room seat, and a number in the shop. Think I still have the masters too, if I ever want more. Sounds simple to make, and singles are very simple. However, to stack them you need a slight angle on the sides, and that is tricky, you will need to make a few before you get that right.
 
  • Like
Reactions: jj777746

·
Registered
Theo
Joined
·
7,194 Posts
The product I'm talking about is knock down only for the initial shipping. Once assembled, most of it would not come apart again.
Ah, understand now. My son gave me a TV stand like that years ago. Tried to get him to take it back, as I didn't want it, but he wouldn't. I still have it, but have not even taken it out of the box. All my life people have gotten me things I would never buy myself, and don't want. If they would only ask me beforehand, I could tell them if I wanted whatever or not, but no matter how many times I tell them that they never do.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
384 Posts
Discussion Starter · #16 ·
The issue with getting the customer to glue stuff up is going to be clamping. It's going to take some smart design to guarantee that everything will be held square as the glue dries.
Andy,
I hadn't thought about needing clamps. Thanks for bringing this up. I had thought about using sliding dovetail joints. I haven't spent too much time working on the design yet. Too many things competing for brain time.


What I am impressed with is the wide variety of special purpose fasteners and connections that are offered in some of the specialty outlets and online.
Otis,
Do you have some favorite sites to suggest? What's the likelyhood I could unknowingly violate someone else' pattent by using a KD or joinery technique? I would be shocked if anyone would even think to or even discover my product to challenge my design.

Then you will still get bad reviews from people that have no idea what they are doing when trying to assemble you product.
Mike,
Good point.

I have my hallway lined with them, filled with books and magazines, one with a top by my front room seat, and a number in the shop. Think I still have the masters too, if I ever want more.
Theo,
Can you post a picture? I've read your description twice and have a vague idea what it looks like but my brain isn't working well at the end of this day :)

What material are you thinking of using MDF? Particle Bd?
Herb,
It's an exterior product so either 1"x cypress or cedar. There's a Cedar Supply less than a mile from my place so that's the most convenient. Austin has several suppliers, one sells kiln dried cedar and kiln dried cypress. I was surprised to hear the cypress was less than the cedar (both were pricy).

When fully assembled it will be about 20"x15"x48" standing on legs putting it at a high table / bar height. I haven't actually checked shipping on that shape/size/weight but I expect it will be outragious. So my thought is to design it into a flat pack that's 24"x20" (not sure how thick that will make it yet). I expect shipping the 'flat pack' will be much more reasonable. I will get that all figured out before getting too far into the design.

thanks
Everend
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
15,459 Posts
Everend, As one who holds numerous patents - I agree there's quite likely nothing patentable about KD (knock-down) furniture. Beside IKEA, there's another BIG MANUFACTURER of KD furniture, SAUTER. Sauter isn't really a household world, but they do make some good quality for the money KD items.
What I am impressed with is the wide variety of special purpose fasteners and connections that are offered in some of the specialty outlets and online.

Otis Guillebeau from Auburn, Georgia
Otis; did you mean Sauder? They're big up here; I have a couple of pieces by them. My desk for one; and I glued mine...my choice. It's going to be a b*tch getting it out of the room it's in
Organization Shelves & Furniture - Sauder
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
577 Posts
Andy,
I hadn't thought about needing clamps. Thanks for bringing this up. I had thought about using sliding dovetail joints. I haven't spent too much time working on the design yet. Too many things competing for brain time.
Sliding dovetails could be tricky to get right. Especially as you're using solid wood and not a manufactured product. They need to be accurately machined - too tight and assembly is a problem, too loose and the joint will be sloppy. If it's accurately machined when it leaves your shop, it may not be by the time it's been shipped to the customer and the humidity has changed.
Simple dados or rabbets might be more reliable if you need a way to locate parts together, in combination with mechanical fasteners. Most flat packed furniture I've seen uses either just the fasteners for location, or sometimes dowels. As Otis said there's a wide variety of specialist fasteners available: confirmat screws, interscrews/chicago screws, cross dowels, cam locks to name a few.

We've come up with a lot of problems for you Everend, I hope this doesn't discourage you from your endeavour :) All these problems can be overcome, I'm certain.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
384 Posts
Discussion Starter · #20 ·
Thanks for the comments, I'm not discouraged :) Those biscuit clips look interesting.

I've thought about and been concerned with the problem of humidity effecting the fit.
 
1 - 20 of 20 Posts
This is an older thread, you may not receive a response, and could be reviving an old thread. Please consider creating a new thread.
Top