Step 4: Building the Base
Having set my design to drawings I collected my tools…
packed up my jeep…
and went to my friend’s shop to get building.
The first steps were to cut the ¾” and ½” plywood sheets to the part sizes needed. Note that each “x” (side support) is made of 2 parts sandwiched together, so there are four plates for them, in addition to 4 wheel rails, a top plate, and two parts for the “bookshelf” underneath…
I started with the wheel rails, shaping them and drilling 3/8″ holes at the ends for the wheel shafts and 5 circular holes along the length. the latter process was made easier by bolting the 4 rails together with the wheel axle bolts to make drilling them all together possible. That said, drilling the holes became quite the endeavor as the hole saw I had could only cut through one rail at a time and prying the plug out after each cut was quite painful. But I soldiered through… (anyone need about 50 small wooden wheels?)
Next, I laid out the X shaped side members and stacked the plates for them in pairs. Similarly, this allowed me to cut all four to shape and drill their holes together.
With the sides complete, I attached the wheel rails and attached them to the base plate. Note, up to this point I had only used drywall screws to join the pieces. However, the leg to base joint was critical to the chairs stability and strength, so I used wood glue in addition to screws.
Similarly, I fit, glued, and screwed the “bookshelf” components in between the leg supports.
Finally, the upper standoffs were added and holes drilled to accommodate the bolt locations and pins that extend from the base of the chair’s rails. Note that these holes were not in the drawings as I had not yet measured their placement. This ended up being a bit of a mistake as I was quite tired at this point and missed a measurement by ~ ¼”. Hence, if you look closely, you’ll see that I had to use a router to turn the holes into slots. Fortunately, these errors would be hidden under the chair and not visible upon completion.
I had intended to paint the base at this point, but as mentioned previously, was beginning to make mistakes. Instead, I packed everything home and had a pleasant dinner with my wife and father in law. Later that night, I made the first full up assembly of the chair and.. voila!
Everything fits as planned, all the motors work, and its really comfortable! (for me at least, if you’re not 6’1″ you might want to knock an inch or so off the base’s height) Both my wife and a friend I sent a picture to suggested that the wood looks great next to my desk, and I have to agree. That said, the exposed screws, pencil marks from construction, and couple of burn marks from the dull band saw blade are a turn off for me, so I still plan to paint it. But its raining (in LA?! Crazy, I know!) and it will have to wait for another opportunity.
To be continued… (#PCSeat)
Original photos by Dana P. Howard (www.highlandwolf.com)