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Updated - Lightweight Shelves for Legos - Cut with the Laser Engraver

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LEGOs are wonderful!

Some might say LEGOs are TOO wonderful!

My son loves them and has developed great manual dexterity by building many of them. From Fire Engines to Trains to dinosaurs, he's been having a blast. Now it's hard to store them without eating-up lots of cabinet and bookshelf space...

So one night while watching How it's Made on TV, I started dinking-around, drawing an interlocking set of adjustable shelves using Corel Draw 5 (version 15 when you save the file).

I built these out of cheap 1/4" MDF.  Fortunately Legos do not weigh a whole bunch, so I felt comfortable using 1/4" MDF.

They feature Earthquake Lips, which help keep the vehicles from rolling onto the floor...

Luckily, I've got access to a 60-watt laser cutter/engraver as a member of TechShop in San Jose, California. Check 'em out at http://techshop.ws

I made a couple of sets of shelves that can hold the lightweight LEGOs.  This main photo shows only the bottom and middle shelf backboards - putting the top shelf backboard puts the shelves out of reach - too high for my son. All the shelves shown in the picture cost a total of maybe $20.
 
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Step 1: Get the MDF

Somehow I've developed the Mr. MDF moniker at TechShop.  Maybe it's because of the fun stuff I've been building from Cub Scout neckerchief slides to toy cranes to toolboxes to a wide variety of boxes.  I first started using the MDF as a good prototyping material for its cost.

MDF: Medium Density Fiberboard


**** NOTE! Home Depot is no longer my supplier for MDF.  ***

Check out this Instructable for more info:  http://www.instructables.com/id/-GOOD-MDF-BAD-MDF-/



I pay about $5.25 per 2' by 4' sheet of 1/4" MDF at my local big home improvement store. Home Depot works well for this stuff. Last time I measured with a micrometer, the actual thickness of the Home Depot 1/4" MDF was .236 inches.

MDF quality varies. It's worth confirming you've got a dimension that will work well with 1/4" mortises and tenons. Do some test-burning on the laser cutter/engraver before buying lots of MDF and expecting the parts to interlock well.

Cut the MDF to 24" x 18" pieces or have them cut for you at the home improvement store.

The machine you use to make the cuts will need to accept a 24" by 18" piece of MDF. 
wow, i barely have a minifig and a police car...
this is fantastic but I could never fabricate it myself, I wonder if I could create something with the same concept with a peg board.. Thanks for sharing this!!
togo1919 (author) 1 year ago
Maybe I should have called it "Overtly-Legoed"...
totallyc1 year ago
There is no over-LEGOed. No. There is only under-LEGOed...
hmm... looks a lot like my room... i do have a few more sets though! i cant help it, LEGO keeps coming out with awesome new sets! :S
mansionwb1 year ago
I was expecting something different because of the title. Crafty, eh...
I'm going to try it with other things of little weight, thanks.
thats great! im 13 and still love legos! i have about 200 pounds of legos! XD shelves would be so helpful. (no im not a maker noob!) i do many electronics and i am a real maker!i use arduinos... i love this idea... thanks for sharing! keep it up!
togo1919 (author) 1 year ago

Hmmmm... I'd feel good with 3 to 5 pounds per shelf.

Lego's density is not especially high, even on the larger creations, so the weight on each shelf is pretty low. I kept the depth of the shelves a bit minimal to keep any sagging at bay.

They've been in place about 2 months now, and ZERO weight/sag issues with even more Legos than shown in the pic.

TG
jschrempp1 year ago
Hey Tom!

Cool shelves. Nicely designed. How many pounds do you think they might support?

Jim
togo1919 (author) 1 year ago

Earthquake lip... Inspired by Mick Jagger...
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