Wednesday, January 23, 2019

Streamlining original furniture design and production

Oakland-based MU Form designs, fabricates, and distributes furniture products for the modern home and business. MU Form strives to produce original pieces, often incorporating many curves and flowing surfaces. So, the primary material MU Form works with is high-quality bent ply, one of the most widely used materials in the industry due to its ability to create a variety of shapes for chairs, stools, and tables.

Formerly, MU Form shipped a physical prototype model to a factory overseas to reverse engineer the model by using a router duplicator to create a wood mold. The process included much trial and error and lacked efficiency in fine-tuning the curvatures and surfaces.

Recently, MU Form started outsourcing its 3D model making services to Artec in Palo Alto, California, changing its workflow process to:

  • The furniture designer develops the physical prototype of a furniture piece. 
  • The prototype is 3D scanned with Artec Eva to reverse engineer the piece.
  • The raw point data is used to create contours in Rhino to accurately model every nuance in curvatures and radii.
  • The 3D model is emailed to the factory which creates an accurate CNC metal mold directly from the file. 

The result is a final model that has been minimally altered to remove the prototype’s defects. The time for creating a mold has gone from 60-90 days to 20 days, and savings are estimated to reach 10-15%.

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