Camping Chair- Upcycle Design Report

My first inspiration for this project came from the material itself. Since the goal of this project is to upcycle, I started by thinking about sources of waste in my life. This led me to want to base my project around bike tubes. I was also inspired by the fact that I don’t own a camping- chair, so it seemed like a no-brainer to combine both of these sources of inspiration and make a chair out of bike tubes. Functionally, I wanted my chair to be compact and pretty simple. Aesthetically I was going for a somewhat retro rustic camping aesthetic; like the kind of chair you might find in a lakeside cabin.

I began this process using SolidWorks to make a model, so that I could better envision the dimensions and angles of my chair. Once I had a CAD model I drew out the shapes for my chair on a piece of plywood. Next I cut out my pieces and added holes in order to slide dowels through. After this, I assembled the back and seat of the chair. At this point, I had to rethink my idea of using bike tubes to make the seat of the chair. Originally I had planned on wrapping and weaving the bike tubes around the dowels that help to make up the frame of the chair. However, I realized that the tubes would be difficult to reconnect and I thought that tying knots in them would ruin the aesthetic. As I was trying to decide what to do next, I found some nylon webbing in my garage and decided to use that instead. I then sewed loops at the ends of the webbing in order to slip it around the dowels. After this it was just a matter of sliding the pieces of the chair together. 

SolidWorks Model
Marked Pieces
Cut Out Pieces With Marks for Holes
Pieces With Holes
Sewed Webbing
Assembled Chair

In the future I would like to stain the wood to really finish it up. I would also like to experiment with other ways to actually make the seat out of bike tubes as I had first planned. However, since it isn’t very comfortable I might come up with another design before staining and giving bike tubes another shot. 

Below is a link to my presentation



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4 Comments. Leave new

  • I like the thought that went into this project. I’d be excited to see another version more focused around comfort. It looks like some of the dowel stretchers interfere with the ergonomics and might have to be creatively rearranged. Keep in mind that the best angle between the seat and back of the chair is 104*.

    • Maddie O'Brien
      February 27, 2023 1:35 pm

      Thanks! I totally agree. I spent a lot of time thinking about dimensions and angles for this version, but didn’t think enough about the impact of the dowels. We’ll see what happens in the future.

  • Aidan Shelburne
    February 26, 2023 12:17 pm

    Your project came together really well, thanks for sharing it with us! I think the switch from bike tube to static tubular webbing makes a lot of practical sense and having that pop of color feels like a strong aesthetic decision as well, I think it would probably take many many woven tubes to match the durability of the webbing you have. What sort of stain do you think you might try?

    • Maddie O'Brien
      February 27, 2023 1:34 pm

      Thank you! I agree that the webbing provides a nice contrast to the wood, and I’m glad I pivoted that way. I was originally thinking about going for a darker, maybe walnut stain, but during my critique a lot of people thought that preserving the plywood color and going with something lighter would be better.


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