Every designer has a different process for translating their ideas into reality. I wanted to introduce you to mine with a TV Stand I was tasked to design and build.
After I get an inspirational starting idea I usually go into SketchUp and start playing with different shapes and assemblies. I had an idea for a trapezoidal TV stand. Unfortunately, I was not satisfied with its space utilization and ease of assembly. As a result, I restarted the process with a less unusual rectangular shape. As seen in the center above it was pretty standard. To make it a little more interesting I separated the two compartments to make it look like one was floating atop the other. For the final design, I add some cute little legs and a lot of little details necessary for turning a digital idea into a physical item.
This is a close-up view of the final 3D model. This piece was textured to show the differences between the face and end grain of the birch plywood. I allowed the parts from the legs and spacer to show through the top and bottom of the boxes. These slots helped in aligning parts for assembly and visually breaking up some of the large flat spaces.
The last step in SketchUp was to lay out all the unique pieces flat so that it could be easily exported into a format that my CAM software, EnRoute, can use.
In EnRoute I added tool paths, feeds rates, and speeds for the cutters for the CNC machine. The blue lines visually show the path that the cutters take. Here is also where I laid out the location and quantity of all the pieces will be cut on the sheet of plywood. This gives me the ability to organize everything to maximize the material usage and reduce waste.
Here are all the parts off of the CNC machine and prepared for 3 coats of spray on lacquer finish. Certain edges have been routed with a roundover to break the corners and all surfaces have been sanded in preparation for the finish. Certain parts I did not want to get sprayed are masked in blue tape.
Since I'm the one doing the assembly I tried to design this stage to be as easy as possible. Each part had a corresponding hole to slot into making positioning and alignment simple. The sides of the two storage boxes were mitered together. The visible red straps held the miters together as the glue dried.
The completed project ready for delivery!