Bad Design Diary: Cruddy Cupholder

My red-haired wife and our friends and do a lot of sitting on the driveway. Just about every night, and certainly every weekend. We sit out there drinking Cold Ones and starting at the lake, telling stories, playing guitars, Danae and I singing together, smoking cigars, skinning catfish – whatever. The point being we’re always out there, and the easiest way to accommodate all this madness is fold-up chairs. These things are pretty comfortable, and they’re great for space-saving when you’re done with them. They fold up and stand in the corner of the garage. The problem is, they don’t last very long.

Well, this black chair has one more problem in particular. It’s the top-dollar version of the chair. It used to have a footrest and all that, which is another bad design in and of itself. But today we’re going to talk about the cupholder. Have a looksee.

As you can see, the weight of a human arm, and perhaps the addition of a frosty can of beer in that there cupholder stresses the weave after a while, and you end up with that split. And I think it would be a relatively easy thing to fix, were one so inclined to build it more betterly.

My proposal for this redesign includes a simple ring of stretch fabric or elastic around the cupholder. Boom. Done. I mean, I really don’t need to go on, do I? This would save the rest of the weave against all that stress (or tension, rather) and the whole chair would last a lot longer.

Most of the time what you see is the legs starting to pop out of the holders at the bottom because the rivets break, or the top of the chair back where it attaches to the posts starts ripping and the seatback falls to the point where you can no longer sit on it. I’m still trying to work out a design fix for that in my head. But for now, I think we’ve got the cupholder part of it solved.

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