I decided to tackle this project from the outside in. I didn't want to design a bed frame that emulated every other frame I found. I thought about my issues with king bed frames and what I thought would be an idea situation with materials that are strong and look nice, yet cheap.
The first issue is that most bed frames have several wekanesses. First, the strain on most bed frames occur at the joint between the bed rails and where they meet the headboard/footboard. If I made a bed frame, I would make sure that either that joint is rock solid or the stress of the bed is reduced at those points. The most common idea is just to make everything bigger and stronger. I went another route: I took out the bed rail altogether. In fact, while I have never personally heard of a bed collapsing down the middle, I have often wondered why you don't because most king bed frames only have a thin support in the middle. The second issue is that when you move, disassembling a bed frame and moving it around is a pain. The bed rails are long and don't turn corners down hallways very well. There's also a lot of assmbling that requires two people or more. gypsy_sylvan knows what I am talking about.
I solved a lot of these problems be rethinking the purpose of the bed frame. It really on exists for two reasons: to support the mattress set and to look nice. So why have a huge grid with long rails. Why not have four mini-frames that connect to make one big frame in a 2 x 2 grid?
- Very sturdy.
- This saves me from finding long rails which are prone to warp anyway. This also separated the frame from the headboard and footboard, so I can build this first, and the hb/fb later. I can also make the hb/fb replaceable without having to buy a whole new frame.
- Assembly of the frame (after building) would require 4 wing nuts, and one person could do it: just bump the boxes together, and bolt it secure with wing nuts. No ratchet set, no screwdriver beyond the first build.
- When I break down and move the bed, it makes it easier to carry smaller frames by hand, through doorways, and stack them in an SUV.
I am going to build a prototype out of Legos sometime in the next few weeks, after I unpack them from my den move. I forgot which one of you suggested that, but it's a good idea whomever you are.