Design for a Simple Workbench


Tam and I needed a workbench for our new workspace. The design challenges for the piece were the typical limits of affordable furniture. Quick and simple fabrication and assembly and using few resources were both guiding principles of the design and entire process.

Work Bench Materials

The work bench is designed for both of us to use daily. It includes two workstations for computing, a central share work space for tutorials, individual small filing cabinets flanking the sides, and multi-purpose cable drops to accommodate media versatility. The top and supports are cut out of a single sheet of plywood, and a 2×2 and a 2×6 are employed as a structural runner and backing board. The 4′x8′ sheet of plywood is designed and cut to create less than 5% waste.

Cut Sheet

Although digital fabrication was not a main desire for the design, it was used to create simple notching connections, minimize waste, and shop time. The table top and supports were cut out of a single sheet of plywood on a 3-axis CNC router. The dimensional pieces were cut with a table and chop saw. The 2″x6″ backing board is dadoed out to be friction-fit on the back.

CNC Router

We used the tools available to create the best product possible. Using the computer as a design tool necessitated thoughtful craft in both digital and physical technique. Measurements were taken and designed for to the sixteen of an inch in some cases.

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100 Balloons Capture a Fresh Perspective on #OCCUPYWALLSTREET

As thousands descended on Wall Street in a mass protest, another type of grassroots movement was at work: Grassroots Mapping. On October 1st, a small team set about the task of documenting the protests, not from the ground, but from the air. A small team, led by Oscar Brett, Zach Postone, Yaeir Heber, and Anjali Cadambi, used 100 helium balloons, some twine, and a digital camera to catch a different perspective of the action. The group, inspired by the organization at, led a colorful, artistic collaboration to suspend the camera high above the protest throughout the day.

From the team:

The project was inspired by Grassroots Mapping – a group that uses accessible technology such as balloons and kites for community-based mapping projects around the world. With the mainstream media focused on today’s arrests and clashes with police, the DIY rig was able to capture the massive crowds streaming in solidarity from Liberty Plaza to Brooklyn. The large bundle of multicolored balloons hovering above the crowd was well received by demonstrators and police alike – and despite some tangled lines and gusty winds, returned to report back with these initial photos.

After processing, the hope to stitch the entire set into a large-scale photographic map. We wish them the best of luck and love to hear their story, bringing digital technologies to new ‘heights’ and changing the way we see the world. Great job guys.

Check out more Grassroots Mapping at

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Markus Kayser – Solar Sinter Project

Markus Kayser’s Solar Sinter Project pushes our ideas of technology and making on more than one front. His mechanical experiment using Makerbot electronics and hardware, even some skateboard wheels, to make a solar powered 3d printer is a great idea. Not only are the mechanical operations solar powered, the ‘print’ isn’t extruding a raw material, so much as it is melting sand into glass by the raw power of the sun.

Any one interested in digital fabrication or 3d print no doubt is impressed by this show of ingenuity. But what is more interesting is the idea of a possible net zero manufacturing facility using only the sun. Often, energy use conservation is thought to offset average household or office space energy use and maintenance, not energy-intensive manufacturing processes. The possibility of a net-zero manufacturing plant in the desert is certainly an interesting one. More at Markus Kayser’s website.

…This project explores the potential of desert manufacturing, where energy and material occur in abundance. In this experiment sunlight and sand are used as raw energy and material to produce glass objects using a 3D printing process, that combines natural energy and material with high-tech production technology.

Solar-sintering aims to raise questions about the future of manufacturing and trigger dreams of the full utilisation of the production potential of the world’s most efficient energy resource – the sun. Whilst not providing definitive answers this experiment aims to provide a point of departure for fresh thinking.

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