A self-initiated project with one simple goal: build a full size bedframe from a single sheet of plywood.
Like many young people, I tend to move frequently. I haven't had a traditional bed frame since I left my parents house before college. The rickety metal rails that came with my most recent mattress looked like something out of a Soviet prison; anything would be better. The only constraints I put upon myself were that I should be able to store shoes and boots beneath the bed, and that it be made from a single sheet of plywood.
In approaching this from a human-centered perspective (which it's apparent most manufacturers of bedframes have yet to do) it was very important that the frame disassemble and transport easily. It needed to fit in my modestly sized car and be handled easily by just one person.
I settled on a hybrid platform/skeleton structure which relies on the lateral strength inherent in plywood. By turning the ribs on their sides, the bed is remarkably stiff and needs no center floor support. The small platforms bordering the central structure give the illusion that the mattress is sitting on a nice smooth sheet of wood.
Fitting all of the pieces on a 4x8' sheet of 3/4" plywood was an immense challenge. Translating structural integrity to part layout became a tug-of-war like I've never experienced in designing a product. Miraculously, everything fit and the very first prototype turned out to be structurally sound.
As of this writing, I've been sleeping on the first prototype for over 8 months without any issues. Next up is developing twin and queen size iterations and developing a strategy for scaling production. The beauty of this type of construction is that it can be manufactured anywhere by anyone with access to a CNC router, and I'd like to take advantage of that. This actually gets at a larger topic, which is digital fabrication. With all of the hype around 3d printing and desktop manufacturing lately, I wanted to approach this sort of production from a different, more feasible direction. 3d printed goods still aren't durable, and certainly can't be produced on this physical scale. Working with a CNC router or other means for cutting flat material is a more viable way to produce useful domestic products, at least for the time being.
As with any manufacturing process, challenges were encountered. I now know that 3/4" plywood is never exactly the size it's advertised as. Atmospheric conditions also play a big part in fitment of the pieces; a humid day can make them swell 5% or more, and at different rates across different areas of the sheet.
This is of course a work in progress. Check back for future updates, or sign up for the newsletter if you're interested in following the development or purchasing one in the future.