The inspiration for Gypsy Modular came from a need for mobility. College student Clark Davis was tired of having to move his heavy furniture from place to place. He developed Gypsy Modular furniture with interchangeable modular components that could be assembled and disassembled not in minutes, but in seconds.

Davis is a recent graduate of Brigham Young University who is seeking orders and a company to put Gypsy Modular into production. He needs a connection between a good idea and the large amount of panel processing capacity that is currently out there.

Initially, Davis started by concentrating on the student market. College students move frequently and have to travel light, as he experienced when he had to move his student furniture in his 1995 Ford Escort. Students need furniture that can be broken down and set up quickly, with easy-to-assemble, snap together, interchangeable parts.

Recently, Davis switched his focus to the children’s furniture market, including seats, shelves, benches and desks, as well as modern furniture.

“The kid’s line is currently the focus of my design,” Davis told CabinetMakerFDM. “In this line, the seat, back and brace of the chair are interchangeable. Additionally, these parts are interchangeable between the chair and the rocker. Components can be swapped between the cubby set and chair to make a bench and smaller cubby set.

Gypsy Modular is made of melamine laminated MDF or Baltic birch plywood. Moisture resistant MDF is a possible option. The MDF edges are left unfinished. Baltic Birch edges will be finished. Pieces are cut on a nested CNC router.

Joints use pressure and friction to stay together and make assembly easy. The joints are designed so that the parts have to twist or bend slightly as they go together. This provides a pressure or tension between parts, and friction keeps them from coming apart.

Davis says assembly is extremely simple. “Simply insert the tab in the slot, and push down,” he explains. “No connectors or hardware is used, which means (there is) nothing to lose. And the parts can be assembled and disassembled repeatedly.”

Davis grew up in Genola, Utah, a small farming community and has always loved building things, such as mechanisms, systems, and enterprises. He also had a childhood enthusiasm for Legos, since they could be put together, then rearranged to create something different.

“Growing up I worked at my father’s cabinet shop, Davis Mill and Cabinet,” he said. “I learned to make cabinets, finish, and install. This was a great background for engineering and helped me gain a greater appreciation of how to design and manufacture products. I studied Mechanical Engineering at Brigham Young University and recently graduated. I also minored in business management. I love entrepreneurship. Making and pushing new and innovative products.”

Davis won the first Student Innovator of the Year Award at BYU’s Ira A. Fulton College of Engineering and Technology, and also won an award for Uppercase, an automatically adjusting overhead storage system. Over the summer of 2010, he did an internship at a factory in China.

What’s in the future for the line? “Gypsy is a product architecture, which allows a large number of additional pieces to be added to the line,” Davis explains. “We will likely develop the line further then look to sell it.“We are currently looking for panel processing plants and machining operations to partner with.”

It is currently available for preorder at www.kickstarter.com. Interested parties can make pledges to buy the furniture, but only are committed to pay if orders reach a certain level. Gypsy Modular will also be available through the website, www.gypsymodular.com. 

Have something to say? Share your thoughts with us in the comments below.