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BellowBench 

A Composite Woven Furniture that Enables Multi-stiffness within One-piece

By Rosalie Lin

Advisor: Jaffe Tseng (Advanced International Multitech)

Martin Bechthold, Saurabh Mhatre (Harvard GSD)

This project starts by experimenting with a multi-stiffness woven structure using carbon fiber composite. A material library specific for furniture application is then built for material choices among levels of strength, from soft to stiff. Weaving acts as a technique to deploy multi-softness within 'a piece of fabric'. It allows one-piece fabrication for different functional parts, such as rigid frame and soft cushion. Inspired by compliant mechanisms, the furniture is designed to be foldable, compressible, which allows storage in spaces of different sizes. Customizable design and modular fabrication are also considered in the iteration process.

Foldable, compact storage, modular fabrication

Inspired by compliant mechanisms, BellowBench is designed to be foldable, compressible, which allows storage in spaces of different sizes. Customizable design and modular fabrication are also considered in the iteration process. The parametric design algorithm allows end-users to manipulate their unique furniture through several parameters: how many units, the length of each unit, the height of the arc, or the dimension of the bench..., etc.

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Simulation the Deflection Bevaious

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Besides the physical material test, the fine-element analysis (FEA) can predict the deflection tendency and facilitate a more accurate material choice before the real fabrication. In our case, we mainly laminate our composite (fiber in x-direction with matrix in y and z-direction) to the defined thicknesses or volume. Then the boundary condition and forces are then applied for the deflection simulation.

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Simulate the Physical Fabrication 

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The process includes the steps and jigs, which are important to simulate and clarify before the fabrication. As we were in the prototype stage, we just considered using off-the-shelf materials, such as styrofoam or paper sheets to make the jigs. The main idea is still to make the jig modular fabricable, reduce different types of parts.