replacement for presswood
You can't just throw it away because, cumulatively, it costs too much. Yet each and every piece is all but worthless. After a year it sags (even of its own weight). It's very heavy for what it does. When you buy it in Wal-Mart you might get a hernia just getting it home!
I hate press-wood furniture
NEW --------------- After One Year
So, what are the alternatives? plastic, metal, more wood, ceramics!, bricks?
The parameters here are: Cost to the consumer per cubic foot of storage, Weight per cubic foot, and to some lesser extent - Aesthetics. Actually, what the thing looks like is probably most important to women. They have to look at it but don't have to move it or repair the stupid, cheap broken doors, drawers, shelves ... or shore up the sagging shelf that makes it look like your TV is resting in a "hammock" (for cripe sake!).
A typical file cabinet is a good example of what can be accomplished with metal and for what cost. For $100 at Office Depot you can get a respectable 4-drawer file cabinet that weighs only about half what a presswood chest of drawers of the same cubic foot storage capacity would weigh. Costs are less than or equal to Wal-Mart presswood prices (per cubic foot).
Now, a business file cabinet isn't pretty and won't fit in with the decor of any woman's boudoir. But it sure is utilitarian! The drawers don't stick ... they "roll" out on ball bearings. And the drawer comes out ALL the way ... not just half the way, because of the way the drawer tracks are constructed with an extra rail. Some file systems are quite deep as well as wide, offering superior viewing of the contents. What would it take to "liven up" the appearance?
But file cabinets are not what I wish to sell you onI have something "almost" new. Almost because things quite similar are seen in department stores everywhere. In fact, that's where I got the idea to start working on this thing (Jamesway's in New York).
What I saw was foot square glass plates fastened together with metal "clips" to make display cases for blue jeans. Each of the cubicles formed by the glass plates had different size pants in them. You've seen this in many department stores ... everywhere.
But glass is breakable and much too heavy for home use. I want something light, unbreakable and easier to put together than screw-on-clamps. I wnat "tool-less" or forget about it.
This leaves two candidates ... plastic or metal.
Plastic is much more expensive in strength per dollar, so I went with man's best friend ... Steel.
A cubic foot of steel weighs in at about 500 pounds and I want a foot square plate weighing not more than one pound. So, 12 inches divided by 500 pounds = .024 inches. Now, that's not too thick and steel that's stamped out that thin (even when formed), bends easily. We don't want to get the "bends". Therefore, after stamping, it's off to heat treat for hardening.
So here's my basic plate design.It is modified to a 9 inch plate because I wanted to get to ~29 inches with an integral number of plates. This is desk height.
The edges are rolled over to form a tube (that's the point of attachment). This is a potentially difficult machining problem at the corners ... but other options are available so it's not terminal.
Here is the "clip" ... made of not too soft vinyl. Notice that it is to be extruded not injection molded. So it's reasonably cheap.
Check out these examples:
But that's not all ! ...We needn't restrict ourselves to just the square shape. We can have, reasonably, 2x rectangles, trapezoids, right triangles and, just possibly, (if the weight is low enough) an octagon!
And with any colors!
The reason for the triangles is to make "braces" for plates which fold out of the way when not needed. Then, fold down and ... fold out and under a triangle and attach with appropriate plastic connectors ... as in a fold out desk.
Let me illustrate
We need here a connector made for a 90 degree foldout. The "offset hole" hinge piece won't quite do.
Also, might as well throw in a pic of a connector used for closing a shelf door. It could require a slight modification although other connectors would do the job too. Notice that the point of close-connection has a wider opening ... easy open-close.
"Hinge pins" are thick at one end (to hold ... in one connector) and thin at the other end to facilitate movement in the other connector. Some have short thin ends to allow three connector hinge sets (two outer stationary connectors and one inside moving piece ... the two short ends both go into the inside mover. These pieces are injection molded. However, one might just get away with a tight fitting straight, extruded hinge pin as well ... and it would be cheaper. Hmmmm ... give the customer some long, plastic, hinge rods and let him cut them to size.
All right ... let's do some designing !This is the main attraction. Let the buyer exercise his artistic flair and create his own furnishings.
In ConclusionThere is a huge hole in the marketplace for such a thing. When people see what can be done, cheaply, and that they can take it apart and "redesign" to freshen up their decor or modify it to suit changing needs ... they will buy ... a few pieces here ... a few there ... Hmmm ... starter set!