Archimedes Coffee Table

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Project by Kyle VanMeter posted 05-23-2011 05:09 AM 2235 views 6 times favorited 14 comments Add to Favorites Watch

I made this coffee table for a furniture design class that I took last semester at Purdue. For the class, we were required to make a coffee table, so I figured I’d try to take a project that could have been easy, and make things hard on myself.

My original design concept was to incorporate complex Archimedean geometries in conjunction with a mathematical take on 16th century fractal architecture to design and construct a modern, practical coffee table. With these underlying themes in mind, I began doing research on complex geometric shapes and types of fractal patterns. After sifting through mounds of boring technical information, I decided to make an octagonal coffee table mounted on a shape known as a truncated cuboctahedron constructed from 12 squares, 8 hexagons, and 6 octagons all intersecting each other in identical vertices.

With the octagonal top and a polyhedron as a base, I started toying around with various designs construction methods. I decided to go with a marquetry style top with 13 different types of wood to make the fractal design. The base is made out of solid cherry and walnut mitered to fit together and then joined with bur oak splines. I used Solidworks 2011 to construct a model that my entire design was based around. I drew the design for the marquetry style top in Mastercam X3, and cut the large pieces using a Thermwood CNC router and used a scroll saw for the smaller pieces. All of the pieces on the top are made of separate solid pieces of wood, it is not veneer.

The types of wood I used are walnut, cherry, yellow poplar, wavy hard maple, holly, yellowwood, purple heart, osage orange, quartered sycamore, paduk, honey locust, eastern red-cedar, and figured soft maple.

14 comments so far

View Bob Collins's profile

Bob Collins

2520 posts in 3709 days

#1 posted 05-23-2011 05:27 AM

Great work, like the pattern and the use of various woods.

-- Bob C, Australia. Your best teacher is your last mistake.

View deon's profile


2522 posts in 3051 days

#2 posted 05-23-2011 07:42 AM

Great design and execution. Well done!

-- Dreaming patterns

View Suthy's profile


13 posts in 3647 days

#3 posted 05-23-2011 10:37 AM

You need to show more details of the base! This is wonderful in design and in execution.


View mtkate's profile


2049 posts in 3351 days

#4 posted 05-23-2011 10:42 AM

Beautiful. More pics avail?

View littlecope's profile


3071 posts in 3528 days

#5 posted 05-23-2011 10:54 AM

Excellent Work Kyle!!
Thanks for sharing it and Welcome to LJ’s!!

-- Mike in Concord, NH---Unpleasant tasks are simply worthy challenges to improve skills.

View stefang's profile


15881 posts in 3360 days

#6 posted 05-23-2011 12:22 PM

A real show piece Kyle! I agree it would be nice to get a better look at the base.

-- Mike, an American living in Norway.

View christopheralan's profile


1126 posts in 3746 days

#7 posted 05-23-2011 03:15 PM

Beautiful! Perfect design!

-- christopheralan

View BritBoxmaker's profile


4611 posts in 3062 days

#8 posted 05-23-2011 05:03 PM

Very striking, Kyle. Good to see its ‘solid’ too!

-- Martyn -- Boxologist, Pattern Juggler and Candyman of the visually challenging.

View patron's profile


13607 posts in 3367 days

#9 posted 05-23-2011 05:10 PM

now that is an excellent piece of work

not bad for a college guy lol

welcome to LJ’s

-- david - only thru kindness can this world be whole . If we don't succeed we run the risk of failure. Dan Quayle

View SASmith               's profile


1850 posts in 3013 days

#10 posted 05-24-2011 12:27 AM


-- Scott Smith, Southern Illinois

View Jack_T's profile


623 posts in 3057 days

#11 posted 05-24-2011 12:40 AM

Very impressive work.

-- Jack T, John 3:16 "For God so loved the world that he gave his only Son, so that everyone who believes in him might not perish but might have eternal life."

View cwdance1's profile


1158 posts in 3285 days

#12 posted 05-24-2011 03:32 AM

Wow, that is some great wood working.

View Kyle VanMeter's profile

Kyle VanMeter

10 posts in 2587 days

#13 posted 05-24-2011 08:16 AM

I have more pics, but I’m new to the site, and have yet to figure out how to upload them. I’ll work on getting them up soon!

View Randolph Torres's profile

Randolph Torres

295 posts in 3554 days

#14 posted 12-04-2011 02:01 AM

Students that go overboard always learn 10 times more, I’ve always said a good student can pick up 5 years of information in less than a couple with dilligence. Good for you. great job.

-- another tip from cooperedpatterns

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