GroundFX Bed

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About: By day, Jeff is the Jack of All Robots at Clearpath Robotics. By night, a mad scientist / hacker / artist / industrial designer wannabe!

Throw away your clumsy old steel frame bed. You deserve a bed that looks like it’s floating! And glows! And is impossible to stub your toe on! And most importantly - that you built with your own hands. You may have seen something like this online before, but I’ve made some improvements that make it easier to assemble, stronger, and easier to move.

I built this bed on one unseasonably warm day in November. It requires a minimum of tools, and can be done by only one person. It is designed to come apart into pieces small enough for a single person to carry into a house and assemble.

The bed in this Instructable is queen sized, and designed for use with a box spring. If you don't have a box spring, simply cut a piece of plywood, fibreboard, MDF or particleboard to lay across the "ladder" sections.

Step 1: Tools and Supplies

Tools

  • Mitre saw
  • Electric drill
  • Tape measure
  • Hammer
  • Sander
  • Lots of clamps
  • Pilot drill bit for #8 construction screws
  • 1/2" drill bit
  • Impact driver (optional)
  • Planer (optional)
  • Drill guide (optional, but recommended)
  • Dowel centre kit (optional, but recommended)

Supplies

  • 2x4x8 pine : 12
  • 2x6x8 pine : 8
  • 2x10x5 pine : 2
  • 1/2” dowels
  • 2.5” #8 wood screws
  • 3” #8 wood screws
  • Wood glue (I recommend Titebond III)
  • rope light (single colour, or RGB)
  • cable clips

A note on "dimensional" lumber available from DIY stores like Home Depot: a 2x4 is actually about 1.5"x3.5". I recommend using the pre-planed pine rather than the construction-grade spruce. It costs a bit more, but it's easier to work with, has no surface marks, and has nice square corners.

Step 2: The Ladder Sections

The box spring rests mainly on three "ladder" sections. These are what you'll build first. Before you start, be sure to measure the dimensions of the box spring. In the case of a queen size bed, the outside dimensions are approximately 60"x80". Therefore, you will need six 2x4 pieces cut to 60" in length. In addition to this, ten more 2x4 pieces cut to about 14".

Construct two ladder sections consisting of two 60" pieces and three 14" 'rungs'. One rung on each end, and a third centred in the middle. Construct a third ladder that uses four rungs, again with one rung on each end and the other two evenly spaced (ie. at 20" and 40"). This third ladder is going to be the foot of the bed, where the extra rung helps support the overhang.

The classic "glue and screw" method works well here: simply run a thick bead of glue along the end of the 14" rung, position it, and drive in two 3" screws to pull the pieces of wood together. The ladder sections should be reasonably square.

Step 3: Head and Foot Bed Rails

The bed rail serves to keep the box spring from sliding around, and provides a nice finish free of visible fasteners. In this step we'll attach the rails to the head and foot of the bed.

Cut two 2x6 pieces of lumber to 60" in length. One of these should be glued and screwed to one of the three-rung ladders, and the other to the four-rung ladder. WATCH OUT!! Drive the screws from the INSIDE of the ladder, so that the screw heads will be hidden. Also be sure to use 2.5" long screws here, so that there's less chance of the screw point breaching the far side.

Step 4: Side Rails

This is probably the trickiest and most time-consuming part of the build. Here we're going to drill and attach the side rails of the bed. The side rails basically hold everything together, but do so in a way that can be disassembled!

This is accomplished by using dowel pins. The dowels both align the various pieces and serve as structural support. Fortunately, they're one of the easier joinery techniques. A hole is drilled in one piece of the joint, a dowel centring plug is inserted, and the second piece is pressed against the first. The dowel centre presses an impression not the second piece of wood, which can then be used as a drill guide.

On the head and foot ladder sections, drill two dowel holes into the end of each 2x6, and one dowel hole into the end of each 2x4. The holes should be about half the length of the dowel pin. I recommend using a drill guide for this, so that the resulting hole is as perpendicular to the surface of the wood as possible.

The side rails are each about 83" long 2x6 lumber (80" for the box spring plus 1.5" on each end to overlap the head and foot rails).

Very carefully align the ladder sections with the side rail, and using the dowel centres transfer the hole positions over to the side rails. My kit of centres only had two of the 1/2" size, so I had to work in pairs. With the hole positions marked, drill the dowel holes. Be sure to limit the depth of the holes made on the side rails! I like to use a piece of masking tape to mark the depth right on the drill bit. Do this for both side rails.

The dowel pins may now be inserted into the ladder sections. Squeeze some glue into the hole then press in the dowel. Be sure to clean up any glue that squeezes out of the hole. Then, line up the side rails with the dowels and fit them together. Naturally, you don't want to put any glue onto the side rail hole, or it will be impossible to disassemble the frame!

Finish the job by driving 2.5" screws from the insides of the ladder sections to the side rails.

Step 5: Build the Platform

The bed frame rests on an elevated platform. The platform is made of two stout 66" long 2x10s, and some 2x6 lumber to tie them together. The length of those 2x6 pieces will depend on the size of the bed. On a queen bed they're about 24" long. Too long and the lumber will be too visible from the side. Too short and the bed will be tippy.

As before, glue and screw the lumber to form a nice, simple rectangle.

Step 6: Attach the Frame to the Platform

The frame is attached to the platform by screwing them together at four points.

Set the frame on top of the platform, so that "head" end of the platform is flush with the outside face of the "head" rail. The majority of one beam of the "foot" ladder should align with the other end of the platform. Left-right centre the frame on the platform.

There's no way our 3" screws will be long enough to fasten through the frame rails to the platform, so we'll need to counterbore the holes. Using the 1/2" bit, drill a 2-2.5" deep hole in 4 or 6 locations. Then, drive a 3" screw into each.

Step 7: Build the Headboard

You could attach nearly any headboard to this bed. In order to maintain the aesthetic of the design, I chose a simple stack of spaced-out 2x6 boards.

Start by fastening the headboard vertical supports to the bed frame. The length of the vertical support will depend on how tall you want the headboard to be. Four 2.5" screws per vertical support is enough. As you can see in the pictures, I attached them to both the frame and the platform, right down to the ground.

The horizontal sections are made up of three 63" long 2x6 pieces, spaced 3" apart. I used some scrap wood as a spacer: simply place the spacer, set the horizontal board on top, then screw it in place with 2.5" screws. As you may have guessed, drive the screws in from behind so they won't be visible. Then stack the next horizontal piece on top and repeat!

Step 8: Finishing

Once assembled, the entire frame can be sanded with an electric sander. I also used a placer to add a chamfer to any edge that would likely be stepped on or touched frequently. You may choose to leave it as-is, or round the corner.

I left the wood of my bed "natural" and unfinished. By all means, paint or stain the wood to your liking!

Step 9: Add the Rope Light

Being so close to Christmas, it was easy to find a section of LED rope light!

Using wire clips (the type used to fasten electrical wiring to wood studs), run the rope light around the circumference of the platform, as high up as possible.

I have my rope light connected to a timer, so it turns on and off automatically each day.

Step 10: Disassembly/Assembly

As I mentioned in the intro step, this bed is designed to be easily disassembled and moved.

  1. If necessary, remove the mattress and box spring. Unplug the rope light.
  2. If not already done, mark joint locations using letters or numbers to make reassembly easier.
  3. Remove the headboard by loosening the eight screws that secure it to the frame and platform
  4. Remove the remaining screws that attach the frame to the platform.
  5. Remove the screws that attach the ladder sections to the side rails.
  6. Slide the side rails off.

Woodworking Contest 2017

Third Prize in the
Woodworking Contest 2017

3 People Made This Project!

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72 Discussions

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winneremerald12

19 days ago

I literally thought this was floating.

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perec3

19 days ago on Step 10

Great build and clearly explained. I'll definitely take inspirantion from you when I get around building it. Thanks!

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Gusgonnet

19 days ago

AMAZING RESULTS!! I really really like the way it seems to float. Congrats!

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SajjadP

8 months ago on Introduction

Love the idea, was wondering if you would have any idea for how to adjust dimensions for a double size mattaress

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Lovetra

11 months ago

I love it! Now I have to find the time to make it. There was on comment about not understanding the closed box instead of storage in rubber-maid containers. My answer:

Great for storage if you need that storage space but difficult cleaning project for the Maid Service you most likely don't have. Once? Twice? Thrice or Four? times a year? Nothing like crawling under the bed with a vacuum cleaner or convincing the "man" of the house to tear the bed apart for cleaning

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jeff-oLovetra

Reply 11 months ago

Yeah but a GREAT place to hide christmas gifts...

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mikki1

11 months ago

How would you cut it down to a twin size?

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jeff-omikki1

Reply 11 months ago

You'll simply need to measure the outside dimensions of the twin bed mattress, then reduce the width and length appropriately. For the base, I wouldn't shrink it quite as much, but I would reduce the height - maybe use 2x8s instead of 2x10s.

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crazy_thiago

1 year ago

Prettynice project, if u lean or stand on the side of the bed, does it tip?

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BobH160crazy_thiago

Reply 11 months ago

I was a bit worried as I am of a larger frame but if I built this, for my own peace of mind, I would probably fix a couple of metal strips to the floor and to the bed and hide them under the carpet so the bed could attach and never move. But as I say that is only for my peace of mind as 3+somes can be a problem sometimes

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david0429BobH160

Reply 11 months ago

That could definitely work. However, it should be sufficient to anchor the headboard to the wall - it would prevent the frame from tipping, and you wouldn't need to modify the floor at all.

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jeff-ocrazy_thiago

Reply 1 year ago

I have to stand on the edge and jump to make it move. I'm about 185lbs.

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LeandroJ7jeff-o

Reply 1 year ago

Amazing project. I'm worried about stay in one side of the bed. I have the habit to sit in one side to put my tennis every morning, and have some concern about overload joints, or even tip entire bed. You already did this test on yours?

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jeff-oLeandroJ7

Reply 1 year ago

Here I am balanced on the edge with all my weight. It doesn't tip unless I jump. Like you, I sit on the edge every morning to get dressed and it's never a problem. Thanks for your concern!

IMG_1822.JPG
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Splitfir3

1 year ago

Very nice project. I have something similar in mind but due the everyday sruggle I never got a grasp of the full concept I wanted. Your tutorial kinda opened my eyes. Thank you very much.

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AshKetchum114

1 year ago

Awesome project man! And very thorough. I know cost will vary upon location and availability of materials, but I was curious as to what you have invested in it. Any response is appreciated. Thank you!

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jeff-oAshKetchum114

Reply 1 year ago

Hmmm, the wood was a bit over $100 since I opted for pre-milled pine. The LED lights were $20.

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wolfarkas

1 year ago

Hey, great Instructable! Very well documented and explained for beginners.


One small suggestion is for your screw placement - When placing screws aligned with the grain (as in your vertical supports for the headboard) you should stagger them when possible so they're not putting pressure on the same grain line. This reduces the likelihood of causing a split in the wood.

Love the project!

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jf_blanco

1 year ago

My 2 cents. This led stripes or ropes, call it as you like, usually smells very bad when turned on. It is better to install a non plastic covered led stripe ;-)