Good Thinking

Geometry genius designs 4-legged cafe table that never rocks

No Rock inventor Chris Heyring, with one of the asymmetrical No Rock table feet
No Rock inventor Chris Heyring, with one of the asymmetrical No Rock table feet
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No Rock inventor Chris Heyring, with one of the asymmetrical No Rock table feet
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No Rock inventor Chris Heyring, with one of the asymmetrical No Rock table feet
No Rock founder Chris Heyring with one of his remarkable table feet
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No Rock founder Chris Heyring with one of his remarkable table feet
No Rock's Terrace series has two different foot heights, to make them nestable for quick storage
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No Rock's Terrace series has two different foot heights, to make them nestable for quick storage
No Rock's mechanically simple 4-legged cafe table sits flat, even on uneven surfaces
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No Rock's mechanically simple 4-legged cafe table sits flat, even on uneven surfaces
Assembling a No Rock table support is quick and easy
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Assembling a No Rock table support is quick and easy
The foot pieces are loose, until they have weight on them.
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The foot pieces are loose, until they have weight on them.
Different styles are available
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Different styles are available
The oddly-shaped loose foot sections all rest on one another to create a stable base
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The oddly-shaped loose foot sections all rest on one another to create a stable base
No Rock cafe tables: any spilled coffee in your lap won't be the table's fault.
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No Rock cafe tables: any spilled coffee in your lap won't be the table's fault.

Many religions would tell us our purpose in life is to ease suffering wherever we can. And if that's the truth, this wonderfully small invention may be the pinnacle of geometry genius Chris Heyring's storied career.

This is the man responsible for the wild suspension system on the 2Play catamaran, not to mention the Kinetic suspension system, which underpins the more hardcore Toyota and Nissan 4WDs, as well as contributing to the the incredible on-road handling of the McLaren MP4-12C and P1 supercars.

Heyring describes himself as an artist more than a scientist, but he's intuitively tuned in to the notion of stability. That, and a wacky-looking shape called the hyperbolic paraboloid, but that's another story. Now, he's turned his hand to a new venture that aims to eradicate the wobbly cafe table from the face of the Earth.

No Rock's mechanically simple 4-legged cafe table sits flat, even on uneven surfaces
No Rock's mechanically simple 4-legged cafe table sits flat, even on uneven surfaces

The problem is simple enough – a three-legged table will always sit flat, but they're unstable and easy to knock over. A four-legged table gives you a good stable base, but if the ground's not perfectly flat beneath it, it's going to rock back and forth between two triangles, spilling your coffee and causing all sorts of unnecessary angst.

Yes, you can solve it by folding up a napkin as a wedge under the high leg. Yes, you can fit a table with extendable screw-out legs so you can balance it manually. But neither of those offer a real solution for stressed-out cafe staff who need to set up and tear down tables before and after shifts each day.

So Heyring has built what he calls the No-Rock table – a four-legged table that's designed to sit perfectly stable on all four legs, whether the floor is even or not.

The foot pieces are loose, until they have weight on them.
The foot pieces are loose, until they have weight on them.

It's mechanically simple; it's all in the shape of the table feet, which are designed to fit loosely together when there's no load on them. When you place the table down, the feet lean on each other to create a stable base in which each leg can settle at the height of the floor beneath it.

The technology works with a bunch of different aesthetic designs. There's also a terrace version which easily folds the table down and lets you store a bunch of them in a nested formation that's easy to keep out of the way.

No-Rock is already rolling the system out in Europe, Australia and North America.

I really feel you're robbing yourself if you don't spend a little time watching this video, which eventually gets around to the No-Rock table and how it works, but does a wonderful job giving you an insight into Chris Heyring's mind and character. What a unique fellow!

NOROCK - Chris Heyring - Inventor & Founder - “Hyperbolic Paraboloid-ist”

If you just want to see something a bit drier about the product itself, this video will do the trick:

NOROCK - Self-stabilising table bases

Source: No-Rock

8 comments
Brian M
Nice idea - but I get a feeling of Déjà vu here. Remembering seeing something similar in Italy as a kid (read a fair time ago!) and being fascinated by how it worked. Not sure if it was the same concept as this, but remember thinking it was a very simple mechanism doing something magical. Every time a rocking table spills my drink I think of that café in Italy! Not as elegant but the tables were rock steady on the uneven pavement - more like cobble stones.
Bruce H. Anderson
Yep, other stuff out there. Gyro table. Flat table. Rockless table.
CraigAllenCorson
Great idea, keeps the table from rocking - but does it also keep the table surface level? I mean, of course it won't if you put it on a sloping surface, but on a relatively level surface? Inquiring minds want to know!
PlanetPapi
Donno. Most people will be satisfied with available solutions like folded paper or a wedge. If you own a restaurant with 50 tables, would you pay extra for each one? Rocking table would be the last thing on your mind. It appears that the inventor has other valid patents than this one. Also there are other similar, "cost adding" solutions available.
ljaques
I love the video portion where they show an -already- -broken- stem on a wine glass fall over. I call FOUL! I'm frugal, so I install adjustable feet on the tables I have if there's a problem. It's a new patent, so expect to pay an arm, a leg, and your firstborn for one of these. No price is shown on the site, so you know what that means. <g>
AllanDallyn
My son visualizes complex problems in 3 dimensions to, and he has ADHD I think they have this in common
Nik
This seems like a solution looking for a problem. A three legged table does not have to be 'unstable and easy to knock over' just spread the legs wide enough. I've had experience with antique three legged tables, and modern versions, and they function admirably.
nehopsa
I just find this ingenious. Sure, you have the old solutions: three legs, screw out legs and what have you. Sure, there will be a premium price for a time. But this is such a charmingly novel and nice thing I love it. I for myself never thought this would be possible - to set a plane through four points - and I am thrilled somebody came up with the impossible. With time even the price may become more reasonable and this makes the quality of life in general just little little better. For similar reason I love Dyson cyclone vacuums. Yes, I do hate wobbly tables and the "solutions" so far do not work. High time for the world to be saved.
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