Introduction: Laser Cut Plywood Heart Shaped Box
Runner Up in the
Valentine's Day Challenge 2016
Here is a heart shaped box that you can laser cut and assemble just in time for Valentines day.
The file has been sized to fit into a single A3 sheet and can be cut on a machine such as the Blacknose A3 Laser cutter. I have shared it in pdf, dxf and the original svg. The artwork was drawn in Inkscape if you have trouble opening the file in your preferred CAD package, please consider downloading inkscape and trying one of the other file formats it can export as.
This box was cut in 3mm Poplar plywood, available from Kitronik if you're in the UK.
There are 2 different colours in the file. The blue lines are intended to be a low power cut and are used as guidelines to show you where to glue parts together. The red lines are full power cuts and give you all the parts required.
I use Evo-stik weatherproof wood adhesive for all my wooden parts, it holds the parts together in just a few minutes.
Step 1: Assembling the Box: Flat Panels
The box is cut in multiple parts with some of the different layers actually nesting inside each other.
The first thing is to create the base of the box, take the top left heart and place it on the bottom left heart. There is an outline on this part to show you exactly where to stick the smaller shape.
Take the outer ring from the top right heart and glue it to the underside of the top middle heart. The insides of both rings should be aligned.
Take the middle stack of hearts and glue the inner heart to the underside of the bottom right heart to form the lid. The outer ring will help you align the inner heart shape, be careful not to glue the outer ring to the lid or your box will not open.
Once the glue has set you should end up with 3 flat pieces. The flat base of the box, the top ring of the box and the lid of the box. You will also end up with 2 heart shaped rings that are large enough to go round the box, these will be used in the next step.
Step 2: Assembling the Box: Curved Edges
Take the flat base of the box and apply glue all the way round the outside in the step gap. This is where the sides will glue on to.
Use the two large heart rings to form a guide for the edges.
Place the first piece of flexible plywood into the gap, note how the ring around the base keeps it in place.
Apply glue to the ends of the second flexible strip and place it into the other side of the box. Make sure the ends line up, you may have to stretch the ends slightly.
Apply glue all the way around the step of the lid ring
Press the lid ring into place on top of the box walls.
Position the large rings half way up the box walls, they will keep the walls in place while the glue is drying. These rings are what allows us to have a concave shape around part of the box.
Step 3: Finished the Box
Once the glue is dry give the box a light sanding, maybe some oiling and put the lid on top of the box. I used the flat surface inside the box to engrave a message for my wife, although that was something that needed to be done at the time of cutting.
Almost any shape could be made with this style of box, the only considerations are:
- The bend radius of the flexible strip (which is about 20mm).
- Concave curves need to be held in place with retaining rings until the glue dries.
- Sharp corners need to be made by placing two strips next to each other.
Thanks for reading and if you make this or any other box in the same style we'd love to see a picture in the comments.
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