When 2014 Tour of Britain cycle race winner Dylan van Baarle took a well-deserved rest in the Time Trial ‘Hot Seat’ it was in a chair which began life as a college project, created from wood, metal and leather, by a long-standing Alphacam customer.
Kent-based Setyard specialises in set building, along with making furniture and props, offering a complete CNC service from design to the finished piece, and managing director Andy McDonald has helped a friend, Simon Taylor, with a number of projects. “This was different, though, as it was the final work-piece for his BA Three Dimensional Design course, for which he gained a first class honours degree.”
Having worked together to design and produce the chair, Andy and Simon have now set up a new company, Two Makers, specifically to manufacture it commercially.
Andy explains how the seat, known as Randonneur Chair, was developed. “We originally used Alphacam, from Vero Software, to draw up and machine the chair’s ski-rockers.
“Alphacam was used as soon as we had a full-scale round-bar prototype. We drew, cut and tested various different radiuses for the rockers and when we’d finalised the details we began to mark points on the prototype to be plotted and drawn in Alphacam. This gave us the points to draw and tool the rockers, and we cut the Sapele hardwood on our Wadkin UX CNC router with Bosch CC100.
“Having used Alphacam almost daily for over three years, I draw straight into it, and once the points from the prototype were plotted offsetting the geometries to represent the different tube diameters was very simple.”
A sub-contractor used a CNC plasma machine to cut the 6mm mild steel flatbar which provides the backbone of the chair, fastening the bottom of the frame together. “This also enabled us to draw an initial jig for assembling and tacking up each side of the chair with repeated accuracy.”
Once the prototype was made, they saw the potential, realising it would go much further than a university project.
The chair was exhibited at a number of design shows in London where it was spotted by Tour of Britain director Mick Bennett, selected for the Time Trial Hot Seat, featuring on the winner’s podium at the final stage of the tour, in London.
Inspired by the combination of classic 1940s hand-built racing and touring bicycles and modernist tubular steel furniture, the Randonneur Chair is handcrafted from Reynolds 631 tubing, hardwood and bicycle saddle leather, using bicycle geometries and traditional frame-building techniques. While Sapele was used for the prototype and for the Tour of Britain chair, the hardwood will vary for commercial contracts, depending on the colour requirements.
Following its success at London design exhibitions, the chair featured at Two Makers’ stand at the 2014 Cycle Show at the NEC in Birmingham. “And our stand was also drawn and cut using Alphacam,” says Andy McDonald.
The Randonneur Chair, designed an produced by Andy McDonald and Simon Taylor using Alphacam
Two Makers Simon Taylor (left) and Andy McDonald