Material Experimentation

Following up suggestions from the Second Group Critique. I decided to create some small test boxes out of the three main types of sheet wood, MDF, OSB and Ply.

I mistakenly chose an inefficient method of CNCing. I was thinking of the each piece as if it was a different file and a different cut. Therefore I chose the smaller CNC machine. This meant that every piece needed to be loaded individually. This took a lot of time and labour on behalf of the technicians. I could have treated them as a whole, create one big file and have it cut on the large CNC machine in the FabLab.

Small bridges were needed to hold the piece down while the cutter goes around the edge. Without these the piece would fly off and damage the machine.

Material Bridge


Pushing the piece I want out of it’s frame is the first job. This was easy with the MDF & OSB. However, with the Ply little bits of splintered and broke away, this ruined the clean surface.

This was probably due to the layering of Ply. If I use Ply again I will use a band saw to cut the frame away. Unfortunately, the Ply also bowed.


Videos and Properties of OSB

Properties of MDF

The MDF Pieces slotted together nicely, however both the OSB & PLY pieces were loose. I think this is down to the individual CNCing process I had chosen.

I attended Huw’s furniture club. Where he explained one of the positives of MDF is that it doesn’t have any wood grain as it is a 100% manufactured material, therefore it does not twist or bow as normal timber might.

Images: Materials – Mitchells Building Series 5th Revised edition Alan Everett, C. M. H. Barritt]

Properties of Ply

I didn’t much like this the cheapest version of Ply, the more expensive and most recognisable ply is the white birch covered kind. Aesthetically, this cheaper Ply surprised me how beautiful it looks. I also think this version is better as it gives a bit of colour. The pale viable layers along the edges contrasts with the red/brown surface give off a two tone aesthetic.

Properties of OSB

The OSB has more texture out of these examples. However, it requires a lot more sanding. I think it has a rebellious connotation when compared to the others; they have a more subtle aesthetics. This rebellious streak is very apparent when touched and handled. It is both physically and visually tough.

Boxes stacked next to each other



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