Introduction: Laser Cut Book End
In this tutorial, I will show you how I made a book case end using a cnc laser. Its a nice little DIY book end, and I think it actually looks a lot nicer than those cheap metal ones, and is much cheaper than a fancy one at the store.
I keep some books on top of my book case, as all the shelves are full. My cat likes to climb around up there though, and she would knock the edge books down every now and then. So I made the book end, and now she cant knock them down anymore.
For this tutorial, you will need to download one of the following two files. If you use Adobe Illustrator, download the .ai file. Otherwise, the PDF should be useable on any laser's software.
Step 1: Tools and Materials
This tutorial assumes you have access to and operator's knowledge of a CNC lasercutter. As each machine's software and interface are drastically different, I'll have to assume that you know how to operate the laser cutter you will be using. The laser I used accepts illustrator files, which is why I uploaded the design as an .ai file. However, I also uploaded the .pdf for people who use a different software. Open the .pdf file in your laser's software, as pdf's are very standard file types and should be accepted by your laser's software.
Wood glue: I used Elmers wood glue, but any wood glue will suffice. You can probably also get away with using super glue or epoxy, but wood glue will yeild the best results.
A wood stain/finish (optional but recommended)
5"x 12" of 1/8" birch plywood. The pieces are pretty small, so you could also make them out of a few scrap pieces. Otherwise, a small sheet of 1/8" plywood at a hobby store would only run you a couple dollars.
Step 2: Laser Cutting the Pieces
I used a Universal Systems Laser Cutter. It has a materials data base in which you select materials and the machine then knows what power/speed/ppi settings to use. I used the material 'general medium woods' and set the thickness to .120 (using my calipers). I will have to assume for this part that you know how to use your own laser cutter, because they vary significantly from model to model.
Go ahead and cut out the pieces in the provided file, and bring them over to a well ventilated area or a fume hood to apply the stain.
Step 3: Staining the Wood
I used a fume hood as my venue for applying the stain. Use a cloth or paint brush, and carefully apply a layer of wood stain to the top half of each part. After the stain dries, flip the pieces over and stain the other side. The time it takes to dry can vary from stain to stain, so read the side of the wood finish can to see how long you should wait between sides. After both sides are stained and dried, bring the parts over to a table with some wood glue.
For those who like this particular finish, I used dark walnut. I personally enjoy this particular stain very much. It can be bought at any major hardware outlet for just a couple bucks.
Step 4: Assembly
Assembly is pretty straightforward. Grab the small triangle piece, and apply some wood glue on the indented parts of the fingers. Insert this piece into the larger triangle piece, as shown in the second photo above.
Next, add some wood glue in the slots of the bottom piece, and then insert the top assembly that you just glued together. Due to the geometry of this model, its difficult to clamp together in some fashion while it dries. Since it won't be clamped, you will want to give it more time to dry. I left it overnight, just to be safe, before handling it. As usual, you should wait about 24 hours to achieve a full cure.
There you have it, you're all done. You can always make a second one or more if you have a lot of book case ends to support. I hope you enjoyed the tutorial. If you have any questions or feedback, I'd love to hear it. Check out my profile for more DIY home improvement if you liked this tutorial.
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