Introduction: DIY Wunderkammer

Picture of DIY Wunderkammer

"Whats a Wunderkammer," you say? Well, a Wunderkammer is a shelf, or cabinet, to store one's unique collection of trinkets, or objects. A display box for your most awesome and absurd goods.

I had never heard about Wunderkammer, or curiosity cabinents, until I was in college and studying the history of museum culture. Wunderkammer were not originially confined to one cabinet, in fact they were giant rooms where one could see the taxanomic structure of one's strange possesions. Early Wunderkammers were often filled with specimens, rocks, art, and other trinkets. The more diverse your curiosity cabinet, the more prestigious you could think you were.

I wanted to build one to hold tiny robots, windup toys, and other small modern wunders - like my collection of shattered iPhones.

Step 1: Modeling and Design in AutoCAD

Picture of Modeling and Design in AutoCAD

I considered what kind of objects I was going to include in my Wunderkammer, and designed my shelves based on the dimensions of the items I wanted to include.

In AutoCAD, I made a system of rectangles within rectangles, with a .25 inch border, to account for the thickness of the material I was going to use for fabrication. After the I had mapped out the rectangles, I used the PRESS/PULL tool to lift the structure 4 inches in the z-plane.

After you have a shape that you like, select all of your model (ctrl/cmd+A), and export the file (ctrl/cmd+E) to an .stl file so that you may import your design into the next step.

I have included .dwg and .stl files of my design.

Step 2: Preparing the Model to Be Laser Cut.

Picture of Preparing the Model to Be Laser Cut.

I imported the STL file into a soon-to-be-released 3D modeling program called 123D Make, by Autodesk, and began to input the settings I needed for the materials I was working with. I implemented the 'plate' functionality which is great for flat-pack design, and rapid prototyping. 

In experimenting with the preview version of this software, the program output my 3D model into a series of plates that would be laser cut and assembled, easily developing a prototype of my Wunderkammer. 123D Make is free and will soon be available to download at For the time being, there is a browser-based version of the software that one could use.

My 2D vector files (eps files) for the Wunderkammer are attached.

Step 3: Assemble It!

Picture of Assemble It!

After laser cutting a sheet of smokey quartz acrylic, I laid out all of the parts, and used a two part epoxy to get the pieces to stick together permanently. 

While I was building this structure, a co-worker suggested that I use this plastics glue, with this administration system to 'weld' the pieces together.

Step 4: Show Off Your Curiosities.

Picture of Show Off Your Curiosities.

Mine turned out swell, perfect for the treasures I have now, with room for the ones I will acquire in the future!


Dr.Duckhunt made it! (author)2014-03-04

This is how mine turned out

Awesome! I have the same ET! He's glued to my dashboard.

Dr.Duckhunt (author)2014-03-04

Thanks for the idea. I used a golf ball shelf. Flipping it upside down gave me a smooth shelf rather then the indents used for golf balls.

loanshark (author)2012-05-16

"like my collection of shattered iPhones."

Thats too funny.

Thinking about building this next week if I have time.

Thantalas (author)2012-03-15

well...wunderkammer is german and means nothing else than "chamber of wonders" the idea of the shelf fits not 100%, but wouldn't be a destroyer of the general idea ;o)

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