Research on safety concerning infant furniture

Design of cot

Since the furniture is meant for a wide age range from infants to adults, special consideration has to be taken into the design of the cot to ensure safety for babies. First and foremost, the design of the cot has to be such that there are no drop-sides. A drop-side is basically the gap between the mattress and the side railing. If the gap is too wide, there is a risk of the infant’s head getting trapped in the space which results in suffocation. Generally, the rule of thumb is to ensure the gap is no more than 2cm apart. As such, the buaian chair is designed to eliminate any gaps along the sides of the cot with a sturdier mattress/cushion base and a firm side railing. Additionally, the spacing between each railing is kept at 4cm apart to prevent the infant from either crawling out or getting his head stuck between the poles. This also adheres to the EU standard for cots of having poles no more than 6cm apart.

Material of cot

The base material of the cot should be made from environmentally-friendly material which produces less harmful chemicals. Conventional plywood is made of thin veneers of wood that are bonded together with formaldehyde resins.

The majority of hardwood plywood, used indoors for cabinetry and paneling, are composed of a core layer faced with higher quality woods using urea-formaldehyde (UF) glue. Softwood plywood is used for exterior and structural applications (walls, floors, roofs), and its adhesive consists of phenol formaldehyde (PF) resin. PF, a more expensive, water-resistant glue, off-gasses at a considerably slower rate than UF glues.

Particleboard, used primarily indoors for furniture and cabinets, is made from wood chips and other plant fibers bonded with formaldehyde-based resins. Fortunately, a new generation of products are created with little to no formaldehyde added. This gives consumers the option to replace plywood and particleboard cabinets and furniture throughout your house.

Choice of paint for cot

In addition, extra care should be placed on children’s furniture with regards to the use of paint, it should use lead-free non-toxic paints for children’s furniture without stimulation for MDF (medium density fiber) board, and we should check its formaldehyde emission level before we purchase them. According to EN71, all MDF used in children’s furniture must be at least E1(1.5mg/l) level.

Outsourcing/ Manufacturing Process 4

So I went to collect my rattan and bamboo on Monday, it was a total of 4 hours drive back and forth as the factory was at a desolate place that there were cows walking around the road.

After collecting my rattan and bamboo from the seller, I sent the bamboo to the carpenter and also check on the manufacturing progress. So far most of the parts are done except the fence. After seeing the bamboo that i brought, the carpenter say it will be very difficult to use the bamboo to make the fencing because the size of the bamboo is not equal, so he suggested using normal wooden pole for the fencing.

During this week’s supervising, it was not a pleasant one as the carpenter will be postponing the collection date from 15 April to 17 April. And I realized that the carpenter will change his plan of the manufacturing method every week but as long as is not very major I most probably will agree with him as I just want my product to be done as soon as possible. After 3 weeks of supervising and communicating with the carpenter, there were a lot of issues that I never thought I would encounter but I guess this is also part of a learning process so that I will know how to handle similar situation in the future.

Outsourcing/Manufacturing Process 3 – Bamboo & Rattan purhasing

As the furniture workshop’s boss refuse to get bamboo for my fence so after much negotiating, I will need to get the bamboo myself for them to help me put onto the cradle fence.

I had been going around Johor Bahru to look for rattan and bamboo supplier. The process was not as smooth I thought it would be, as there are supplier that tend to charge more than I would expected the price of rattan and bamboo to be so I would need to keep going around comparing the price first before I settle on one supplier.

I manage to find this supplier Gek Guan Enterprise Sdn Bhd from Muar, Johor Bahru Malaysia for both rattan and bamboo. After negotiating and discussing about the size and quantity of the two materials that I want, the collection date was set to be on 10 April.

Outsourcing/Manufacturing Process 2

I went to the furniture workshop to monitor on the manufacturing process again this week. The carpenter told me that because he didn’t have a proper wood bending machine like Ikea does, the wood that he bend open up when he sanding the piece. So he thinks that it is no longer good to use wood bending method to make the furniture. He said that because the way he bend the wood is different from Ikea or other furniture company does (with steaming the wood before bending), he only manage to bend the wood without steaming it that is why the wood is harder to bend and easier for the layers to open up. So after discussing about this problem, we had decided to cut out the shape instead of using the wood bending method to form the curve shapes. And he will be using wood veneer to cover up the whole furniture as to avoid showing the nails and ugly plywood surface.

The snap grid fitting that I 3D printed

The carpenter also said that the side edge of the fence are too sharp so he will sand it to make it round and smooth if not will be dangerous to use especially when assembling the parts.

Keyshot Animation Process 1

After discussing with Fabrizio, it is better for me to come out with an animation video showing how to assemble the furniture instead of waiting for the prototype to finish making and film a video base on the prototype as it may be risky that I will only have one week’s time to do the filming of the assembling and story video and what if the I cannot get my prototype on time.

It was another learning experience for me that I actually went to Youtube to learn how to make animation video using Keyshot. As I couldn’t make a complete video of the assemble due to my newly learnt animation skill, I decided to make part by part and join all video parts together using video making software after that. After a few days of exploring, I manage to come out with these videos.


Outsourcing/Manufacturing Progress 1

I finally able to settle down with one carpenter that willing to help with to create my project. I am lucky to be able to meet this experience carpenter uncle who has been doing woodwork for more than 50 years. I think is a good experience for me to learn about how to talk to the manufacturer as how should I present the dimensions for them and how I should use my mock up 2 to give them a better idea of how it should look like. And I also learnt what are the ways to negotiate for a lower price, as I am very lucky to met a lot of people that are very helpful, there was this uncle who I got introduce to, he is the one who introduce the old carpenter uncle to me and he told me to tell them that I am his relative so they will charge lesser for me. So I guess this is one of the tricks to get lower price and also knowing how important it is to get as more contacts as possible so that it will be helpful in all kind of ways.

After showing the dimensions and materials needed to the carpenter, the accountant will look through the design and size to quote me a price before the carpenter start making. The furniture company charge me RM3600 (about SGD$1200) for making the everything except the rattan base, snap grid fitting, and cushion. The collection date are set to be on 15 April so I will have about 1 week’s time to film the story video before the final presentation.

The carpenter said that he will use wood bending method to make the curve shapes because he thinks that it will make the structure of the furniture stronger. Is really an eye opening to see how carpenter plan the making of the furniture. There were discussions about the thickness of some parts that need to be adjust in order to make the structure stronger from the carpenter’s experience, I learnt a lot from him. Also, I need to decide whether the thickness that he suggested will affect the aesthetic of my work and learn how to negotiate with the carpenter.

Before the carpenter start making the furniture, he used a huge board to draw out the real size dimension of the furniture’s front view.
This is the mold he use to make the wood bending.

The piece that he bend using the mold.

The carpenter said that it is hard for him to bend the wood into the shape of that I want for the main cradle (the one that are curved to form the handle), he he will bend the wood into a ‘U’ shape and join the handle separately.


Instruction Manual

Since I want to make my project into a ready-to-assemble furniture, I came out with the instruction manual as well as to let the audience understand better of What are the parts and how to assemble the piece. So i went to research on how other furniture company come out with their instruction manual.  I realized that is important to list out the parts and the quantity of each part so the user can check whether they are missing parts or not. And how clear the steps are is very important too, so here are how my instruction manual look like.

Buaian Chair – Product Description (Approved)

Buaian chair is a transformable furniture for users of all age groups. Designed to be a cradle, it allows the user to change the configuration into an armchair when the child grows. Generally, people tend to dismiss cradles when not needed anymore to prevent clutter. Buaian chair is designed to last and to remain in the family as an important piece of furniture and as a valuable memory.

This piece of furniture is made primarily out of bamboo, rattan and plywood. The concept behind the choice of materials is to create a furniture which carries tradition and modernity. Bamboo and rattan were traditionally a popular choice in the region for their durability while plywood is the favored option today for the industrial and the sustainable  aspects of the material. These choices signify a shift towards being environmentally friendly.

Similarly, the name “Buaian” adopts the idea of traditional and modern-day elements. “Buaian” is a Malay word for cradle. With the increasing use of English in the population, the English language can be considered as an element of modernity while the conventional Malay language is a mother tongue that is only used natively, giving it a sense of tradition around it.