cardboard furniture prototypes

I am an interior designer working on cardboard furniture. I have tons of sketches and drawings ready to be turned into prototypes, if I could only find a company that would cut the cardboard shapes for me, that I want to assemble myself. I contacted several companies locally as well as further away. I talked to cardboard display and packaging specialists as well as die- and laser cutting companies, water jet cutters and CNC router services. I got a few very expensive quotes. I am looking for a nice edge quality and a good price.

Does anybody have a suggestion for a company that would want to cut 100 sheets of triple wall (1/2" x 36" x48") corrugated cardboard and a few sheets of 1/8" Masonite for my prototypes according to my drawings?

Have you tried any signage shops? You don’t need any of those pieces of equipment that you mentioned to cut the triple wall. You do need to locate a place that has a Kongsberg cutting table with a recipricating head. All the places I know of are tied to larger corrugated and paperboard manufacturors, so they’re not willing to take on additional work like you’ve mentioned.

They will more than likely charge you an additional fee to convert your files into AritosCAD in order to cut them on the table. Also, be prepared to be told that some of your shapes may not be able to be cut on triple wall. Tight Radii are often very hard to cut and may not be possible when cutting on a plotter table.

I would ask around on some LinkedIn groups like Packaging Professionals and Paperboard Packaging Group. You might also be able to find a group that uses the Esko Kongsberg plotter table and see if anyone can help you out there.

Now that I think about it. If the profiles are all the same and it’s not huge, it might be cheaper to just do a wood die. The hard part is finding a die shop that would have a press that’s large enough to run what you’re looking to do. A die can cost you a couple hundred to thousands of dollars depending on size. Then you’d have to source the board stock as well.

Thanks for your reply. I was hoping that you would read this, found your responses on a similar topic a while back. I have no problem with providing the materials to the cutting company. Would they cut the Masonite as well? Do you think that wood cutting is the right process? How does it work? I am willing to spend considerable $$$. The die cutters wanted 3,000 to 5,000 $ for those 100 sheets which is at least twice as much as I want to spend.

If the unit price for the cuts would somehow come down considerable, I would use double wall instead of the triple wall. I will try signage shops and search for the equipment you mentioned.

They wouldn’t be able to cut the masonite on the cutting table. It would damage the reciprocating head because the material is too dense. I’m not even sure a die shop could make an impression using the same die as the corrugate because the materials are of different density. A signage shop may be able to cut the masonite, or the die shop would use the laser they use to make the dies to cut the masonite. I’m not sure if the die shop will actually do that though because the masonite is more flammable than the hard maple they traditionally cut. So the operator may get wierd about cutting different materials on his machine. If you go the cutting table route much of the cost will be built in from labor and cutting time. Most designs can take a minute to 15 minutes to setup and cut. If it’s a lot of pieces it might be worth just having a die made.

Triple wall can be pretty tricky to cut on a cutting table because of it’s thickness. So don’t be afraid to explore a BC doublewall combo or even a single C flute and increase your laminations. By reducing your material thickness, you might find someone more willing to cut it on a table. In terms of material cost, triplewall can be pretty pricey because it’s not a commonly used substrate. You may find a doublewall combo or single flute to be cheaper even though you’re using more of the material.

That sounds about right in terms of price from a die shop. The die can easily run a couple thousand and then you have to pay for the pheonolic counters (If there are creases/perfs in the design), press time and the labor/setup charges to run. In order to lower your unit cost, you might want to consider running a higher quantity. A majority of charges coming from a die shop will be from initial setup costs. So running a few pieces can be much more expensive then running a larger quantity.

Thanks. I will follow up on all these tips. One more question though. I also have a few designs for which I would like to cut the prototypes by hand, to leave room for later shape adjustments, while saving money on the production off the prototype. I still would want to use a custom produced cutting guide made out of aluminum (?). What kind of machine and / or company would you suggest for the production of the cutting guide?

Any shop with a waterjet should be able to cut the aluminum. A few die shops have them as well as machine shops.

google is your friend; water jet cutting services.

What kind of machine and / or company would you suggest for the production of the cutting guide?

You can easily cut 1/8" thick aluminum sheet with a jig saw and m 32T per inch metal blade. At that thickness cooling isn’t that much of an issue, just use WD40.

Certainly cheaper than going the “job shop” route, and since you’ll be using it to guide hand-cutting operations accuracy shouldn’t be an issue.

Anyone with a vacuum bed routing table can cut both the Masonite and cardboard. As someone else mentioned, signage companies are your best bet. Specialty packaging companies charge too much to use their machines and if you dont need any scoring done for folding and you only need a flat profile cut, then a simple routing table will work.

I absolutly agree. Any shop with a waterjet should be able to cut the aluminum. A few die shops have them as well as machine shops.

Hello, I am a new member and came across this post. We are a printer and manufacturer of corrugated cardboard packaging. We have several pieces of equipment including Kongsberg, laser and router CNC tables. We are also a digital printer of corrugated. If you are still looking for someone to cut your furniture designs, I would be happy to put together a quote for you.


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