Statement of Purpose: Our class was assigned to design and build cardboard furniture. My group chose to design a cardboard bench. Our bench had to 1) Be Function and withstand considerable weight 2)  The entire process was arduous, but worth it. 
Define the Problem-  The main problem was to build a functional and innovative bench. How tall would the bench be? What shapes will we utilize? How many people is the bench supposed to hold? How will the bench sustain our weight? Another problem was the methods of attachment we would use because the use adhesives was prohibited.  

Designing this bench was quite a challenge because being its function is so essential. The bench needs to the weight of 2-3 people. The hardest part was figuring out what to do for the inside of the bench. What supports we should use and how do we manipulate the cardboard to do this? Another problem we encountered is the base. We went from having one piece of cardboard to having 2 legs. Figuring out how to keep the bench flat on the ground was also difficult. 

Collect Information- We collected a considerable amount of information by looking at websites and by looking at our surroundings. The first problem we aimed to solve was the shapes we would incorporate into our design. An important factor in this process was looking at our resources and the size of available cardboard. From looking at what we had to use, we decided that a "modern" rectangular design would be appropriate with an array of triangular supports. The next problem we has was determining dimensions. We measured the height of the stools in our classroom (roughly 18 inches tall) and decided to use the longest piece of cardboard we had for the length (roughly 64 inches). We also searched the internet for preexisting cardboard furniture for inspiration. The information we collected from these websites gave us the idea to not have a back to our bench (similar to the headboard of a bed). Instead we will have a rectangular piece will various aesthetic and functioning pieces within it. 


Brainstorm and Analyze Ideas- Our brainstorming consisted of quick sketches and writing down dimensions for smaller pieces. The main idea we agreed on was the use of large "staples" at either side of the bench. These staples would stick out at the top for aesthetic purposes and were intended to be converted into arm rests. Another major piece of out design was the "accordion" underneath our seat. This would be the supporting piece, composed of vertical triangles. The base of our bench was an introverted version of the top (seat), which would go through the staples. 


Develop Solutions/Build a Model- Building our prototype was more difficult than we imagined. Our initial ideas failed because we did not know a good way to attach the "accordion" piece to our structure. However, we attempted many things, but in the end our prototype lacked stability. It still incorporated our staples. We also had trouble with the base. At one point we cut the base into two separated squares. Each "leg" had a base. Within our staples we used interconnecting diagonal pieces to support the structure. We inserted an upside down triangle into the upper "V" of the "X" support. Underneath this we has a horizontal piece inserted from into one "X" and extending to the other. These methods provided good support, but our triangle supports were futile.


Present Your Ideas to Others for Feedback- After having an around the table discussion with our classmates and instructor we decided to scratch the "accordion bench" idea and began to use cubical supports. This was a sign of success and we chose to move onto the construction of our actual bench, hoping to improve our design along the way. 


Improve Your Design!- Building our actual bench was just as difficult as building our prototype, but surprisingly followed the design of our prototype, almost exactly. The only changes we made was repeating the "staple" design underneath the seat of the bench to provide support. 


Summary/Reflection: I do not think that our group had a defined leader. Instead each of us took on leadership roles on certain days. Some days I would initiate the task for that day and then instruct my team members on what to do. I also helped in discussions. Before doing anything we would discuss the issue with each other. However, overall I believe that I had more of a designing position. I helped come up with a few ideas for supports and sketched out the bench. I was very happy with what my teammates contributed. Essentially, the three of us were constantly coming up with revisions and always had something to bring to the table. We were great problem solvers and paid attention to detail. In the end there was a great sigh of relief. Our bench was functional!!!




 





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