The cam lock nuts championed by Ikea constrain the design potential of any given piece; the connectors only work at butt-joining two pieces at 90 degrees.
Typical cam lock nuts
Scheulenburg, a German manufacturer of innovative furniture connections, has a more versatile offering. Their Gelenkdübel (German for "articulated dowel") allows designers to create furniture that joins at a mitered connection and at a variety of angles.
Here's how the clever piece of hardware works:
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Six years ago I chatted with Georg Scheulenburg, the company's Managing Director, at a German tradeshow. At that time he lamented that he hadn't yet seen designers utilizing his company's hardware to bring some much-needed design updates to flatpack furniture. Will you break that cycle?