Archimedes Coffee Table

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Project by Kyle VanMeter posted 05-23-2011 05:09 AM 1663 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

1555 posts in 2350 days

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

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

-- Bob C, Australia. I love sharing as long as it is not my tools

View deon's profile


2187 posts in 1692 days

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

Great design and execution. Well done!

-- Dreaming patterns

View Suthy's profile


13 posts in 2287 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 1991 days

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

Beautiful. More pics avail?

View littlecope's profile


2919 posts in 2168 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


13101 posts in 2000 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


1105 posts in 2386 days

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

Beautiful! Perfect design!

-- christopheralan

View BritBoxmaker's profile (online now)


4378 posts in 1702 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


13064 posts in 2007 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


1597 posts in 1653 days

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


-- Scott Smith, Southern Illinois

View Jack_T's profile


621 posts in 1697 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


1143 posts in 1925 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 1227 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 2194 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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