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This project is a prototype for a modular shelving system that uses simple boxes and connectors to create infinite sizes and configurations.The primary goal was to design a system that anyone could adapt to suit their own space and stuff. The secondary goal was to test whether minimal 3d-printed joints had the structural integrity to hold the weight of solid plywood.

Step 1: Design

I had a few critera for the design of the shelves. They couldn't have too many types of parts. They had to be modular. And the pieces all had to be simple shapes that were easy to fabricate. The complexity had to arise from the aggregate of the parts, not the parts themselves.

Most modular shelving units fit into one of two categories: they are either stacks of boxes piled on top of each other, or they are large monoliths that are not really modular at all, like the Ikea Expedit. The plus shelf invests instead in the modularity of the connector: simple, colorful, 3d-printed plusses. Each plus connects two boxes diagonally by snapping into holes pre-drilled into the edges of the boxes.

<p>Have you thought about starting a Kickstarter campaign or something to start selling these?</p>
<p>I HAVE :) But I think first I need to come up with a sturdier connector - possibly one that's milled or cast out of metal. </p>
<p>Great idea, and great project. I hope you can work out the integrity issue. I love things which don't make me cringe when i imagine moving them. If they had a slight lip at the back, you could drop another piece of plywood in and use them as moving boxes. The lip may also add some lateral stability. It looks so cool, i hope whatever the solution is doesn't mess with the look.</p>
<p>Thank you! Can you elaborate more what you mean about the lip? Do you mean every box would have an additional side? The boxes themselves are very sturdy, but I did think about adding another long cubby that sits underneath the whole assembly to stabilize it when I move it. You're right - the idea of moving it does scare me more than a bit right now! </p>
<p>just a thin support inside, so when it's time to move, you slip a piece in, and each box can move stuff. Perhaps the things which were in them already ;-)</p>
<p>Ohhh, I'm following now. Neat!! And nice rendering! Thanks for the idea!</p>
<p>nice idea i like mixing wood and printing. just an idea but if you off set the vertical bits see pic the loading would all be in compression and the joins shouldn't pop out. the system would also take more load if you where going to fill the shelves up. it wouldn't quite be plus shelf but close. good job </p>
<p>Whoa, thanks for the input! This is definitely a more stable system. I think there's got to be a happy medium between the two ideas that is more stable without losing the 'floating' feeling. I'll definitely keep this in mind as I continue to develop it. Thank you!</p>
<p>Who....Great Great Idea - what about embedded the connector into the wood surface ? It will need more extra efforts...and maybe CNC...</p>
<p>That's a great idea! I may do something like that next. Thanks!</p>
<p>nice work</p>
This is great! I like the variation in size among the cubbies and the use of color with the plusses.

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Bio: Vera Shur has a background in architecture, with special focus on exhibition and furniture design. Her investigations focus on the unexpected qualities of everyday materials ... More »
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