A friend is building a roll out chicken egg collector (roll out refers to the eggs rolling out of the way of the chickens so they can't poke at them, not the collector). The design he picked is the one linked from here:
Looking it over its over engineered for the purpose and I made some basic design changes that I think will substantially reduce the complexity:
- Replaced the tabs on the sides that hold the shelf from sliding with a chamfered dowels. I explained how to make a simple and repeatable indexing jig to make sure the dowels were all in the same place.
- skip the "fancy' angled cuts on the same side pieces and just use a 1x2 cut to length and nailed on at a consistent angle.
- Replaced the half lap joins on the interior connections with nail down battens on the cross pieces and just cut the uprights to fit and slide them in place.
This reduced the expected build time from ~2 days (he's handy but doesn't have a huge amount of tools and isn't that much of a woodworker) to a 2-3 hours.
On a related note The Schwartz has been blathering on about stuff from Enzo Mari's 1974 book "Autoprogettazione", pdf here (enzo explicitly released it so that anyone NOT doing commercial work is free to copy/etc.. the book).
While a lot of the designs in that book are not what I would do (and some aren't really even usable) its an interesting perspective. As woodworkers (and engineers formal or not) there is often a tendency to over complicate things and do designs that incorporate elements past the required requirements. Sometimes its fun and useful, other times you just need to get the chicken coop built and some hardware store pine is just the ticket.
Although I'm making this rant I also did a basic design for how you would make it using only green wood and minimal tooling (think 1700's era work; I figured a axe, one chisel and two drill bits plus a brace would get the job done - a sheath knife would also be useful for whittling pegs), only solid wood and nails (think late 1800's-mid 1900's work) as well as re-designing the current one to be simpler.. so I'm clearly not immune to the problem