High tech wood A visit to the Maker Fair part two

Except for the impressive army of the 3D printers that I saw there, I encountered a few other fascinating machines. One of them is instrumental in the process of fabricating a plywood knock-down furniture. This little machine resembles a regular desktop printer. However, instead of an ink cartridge it has little knife that cuts paper and thin cardboard. After cutting out the test pattern, the designer separate the parts from the sheet and test the 3D design.

The results of some of the knock-down designs are very cleaver, although the joinery is yet not that solid. In fact, the hallmark desk showcasing one of these new knockdown designs was strengthen with regular (and unattractive) pozidriv screws that were driven in to prevent it from collapsing.

Below are images of some additional knock-down furniture and wooden toys made in by CNC machines.

In addition to the Knock-downs on display, I also saw tiny computerized lathes and milling machines that can sculpture blocks of wood or plastic, creating intricate shapes and ornamentation.

In my next blog entry I will describe another neat apparatus I saw in the fair: a creative group of designers who build bicycle frames from environmentally friendly bamboo..

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Yoav Liberman

About Yoav Liberman

Yoav S. Liberman is a woodworker and a teacher. His pieces have been featured in several woodworking books, most recently in Robin Wood’s CORES Recycled. Yoav teaches woodworking at the Rudolf Steiner School in Manhattan, and also frequently guest teaches in craft schools across the country.  Between 2003 and 2011 Yoav  headed the woodworking program at Harvard University's Eliot House. Yoav’s articles have appeared in American Woodworker and Woodwork Magazine. He frequently contributes woodworking web content to a number of digital publications   Yoav has a degree in architecture and later held two competitive residency programs: at The Worcester Center for Crafts in Massachusetts, and the Windgate Foundation Fellowship at Purchase College, New York. He lives in Chestnut Ridge NY.