Fiberboard Provides for Eco-Friendly 'Shelter in a Day'
March 14, 2013 | 11:44 am CDT
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MATLACHA, FL - Eco-friendly furniture designer Frank Schooley has developed the "Shelter in a Day" to provide housing for people in disaster-ravaged areas.

Schooley, along with his wife Doreen, own and operate Tropical Kitchens, a custom cabinet, furniture and home organization manufacturer serving the Southwest Florida region.

“It occurred to me that the same materials and assembly method I was using for Terrapeg (recycled wood fiber) furniture could be used to produce a form of transitional housing that was more solid and secure than the usual tents supplied in emergencies,” Frank Schooley said.

Using fiberboard and the Tool Free Joints developed for his Terrapeg furniture, Schooley said he designed a 12-foot by 12-foot shelter that could be produced quickly, shipped easily and assembled within an afternoon to provide housing that was strong, long lasting, flexible and secure. The basic shelters can be extended with one or more 4-foot by 12-foot sections to create larger homes, classrooms, churches or clinics. The shelters also feature lockable windows and doors for security.

In rebuilding areas  of Haiti following the devestating earthquake a few years ago, the patented  Shelter in a Day structures were used in combination with Terrapeg furniture for the construction of 10 to 12 cabins, a mess hall and bathroom/shower buildings as well as kitchen and bakery buildings. With this  technology, it is possible to build a furnished house — shipped flat on a pallet — a furnished clinic or a furnished school...anywhere, without tools or electric power, in an afternoon.

Before conceiving Shelter in a Day, Schooley had years of experience as a designer and craftsman, building yacht interiors, furniture and even musical instruments. His interest in interior design led him to cabinetmaking, and in 2004 he set up Tropical Kitchens, one of the first small companies to use computer aided CNC manufacturing, he said. The company uses SAi's EnRoute CAD/CAM software in the manufacturing process.

“Using our computerized manufacturing techniques, we can build cabinets with a minimum of waste because the EnRoute software ‘nests’ cabinet parts together on the sheets of material and can even put parts inside other parts to minimize waste further,” explained Schooley. In addition to nesting capabilities, other benefits include the ability of SAi EnRoute to import files from different programs and to save and re-use toolpaths without having to set up every time.

“Because we build cabinets to order, shipping materials is minimized, and warehousing eliminated. This ‘on-time manufacturing’ saves resources, money and accelerates delivery times,” he said.

Controlling design and manufacture has enabled Schooley to meet his quality and concept objectives as well as customers’ requirements. His approach, he added, is “a perfect blend of Old World craftsmanship, 40 years of experience and 21st century technology.”

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