|$8 Ikea bar stool to be upgraded|
Of course, at $8 a piece, it would be smarter to just replace the stools -- and I certainly would have done this -- but this model of stool went the route of so many things Ikea: it was discontinued.
So I decided to set out to not only fix these ailing stools but to give them an upgrade, thanks to my over sized Shapeoko CNC Router and to some new materials that I was able to acquire inexpensively on eBay.
To my mind, the ideal material for the replacement seat would be something lustrous like marble or granite but those are too challenging to cut on my machine and far too expensive to acquire so I settled on the next best thing: Dupont Corian. It is beautiful stone-like surface that is easily milled. What's more, cheap leftover pieces can be found on eBay with free shipping, despite their high weight, thanks to the USPS, who will ship anything that fits into a Priority Mail box.
So I broke out my trusty caliper and measured all screw hole positions and the ideal screw hole diameter. I jotted everything down in my usual barely-legible chicken scratch before putting it into CamBam, my CAD/CAM 2.5D software of choice.
One faulty measurement forced me to re-cut my holes. Fortunately, all I needed to do was to rotate my piece and try it again. Excess holes in the bottom of the seat will not be visible. In the end, my CNC Router managed to get the hole positions right and it did a great job of cutting the circular profile out of the 1/2" Corian plate.
Now that I have the files for the cuts, I can now repeat this procedure with my remaining Corian plates so that all my stools can have the same upgrade. The only thing that I need to do to improve this seat top is to round or bevel the top lip -- something done easily enought with a trim router.