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table13D printing can be lots of fun. Once you get a knack for the technology, it seems like there’s no end to the little projects you can accomplish. Household projects, like devices and furniture, can be especially gratifying because you get so much daily use out of these creations. Here we have an example of a practical piece of furniture with (mostly) 3D printed parts that you are sure to get plenty of use out of: a coffee table from Universe of Design.

The idea here is to utilize 3D printing’s functionality when it comes to furniture design, while also elevating 3D printing to “something more real” by making the design tasteful and aesthetically pleasing to the eye. After all, if you consider 3D printed furniture the “future replacement for flat-pack furniture” — as Universe of Design contends — then you also want to really make sure you are offering the furniture-making public something to get excited about.

table4Universe of Design’s mission was quite straightforward here: make an inexpensive table that utilizes principles of “printable distribution.” Beginning with a scrap piece of plywood, the size of  the coffee table top was figured out before Universe of Design decided on a glass top instead.

The table was designed in CAD, and there were challenges as the more elegant glass table top called for equally elegant legs and feet for the table:

“I was able to slim down the foot and top pieces to something less match-like. By either turning the dowel on a lathe, or drilling out the end and inserting a smaller dowel, I could keep my over-the-top mounting method for the printed parts but slim their outer diameter to match seamlessly with larger dowel. The end caps also became two pieces each, with the addition of a snap-fit elastic nib for surface grip.”

table2The center joint is printed in white PLA, and Universe of Design reports going “with white NinjaFlex for the grippers and stainless steel-filled PLA from ProtoPasta for the end caps.” While that may sound simple now, after the fact, it took quite a bit of experimentation with different materials and colors to arrive at the final results.

Universe of Design explains here just how satisfying it was to work with the stainless steel-filled PLA:

“The stainless parts have an incredibly uniform, almost sand-cast look to them which is hard to believe came from a printer. These can supposedly be polished up to a more metallic shine, but for now I’m a big fan of the raw finish.”

You can tell by the finished product that this project was well worth the effort, as we have a functional and elegant coffee table piece that follows the principle of printable distribution. The only unexpected change was the upgrade to glass from plywood. But one look at the table and you can see that this was an upgrade well worth the price!

If you enjoyed this coffee table project, you should check out the other projects documented on the Universe of Design website. What do you think of this furniture? Tell us in the 3D Printed Coffee Table forum over at 3DPB.com.

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