I'm going to show you how to build this simple wood box on a laser cutter. I designed this box for a specific purpose but it would work great as a jewelry box, a pencil box (without the divider) or to hold any other small knick-knacks. If you build more than one they will lock together as they stack and the lid will stay open on its own as you peruse its contents. I made mine using Techshop's Epilog 60 Watt Helix.
Step 1: Gather Materials
1. The box pattern
2. 1/4 plywood of your choice (I used maple)
3. Fine grit andpaper (I used 320 grit)
4. Wood glue (optional)
Step 2: Preparing Your Wood
The next step is to determine thickness of your wood. Although the lumber yard may say it is 1/4 inch thick, most of the time it is not. I have made a separate Instructable on how to account for this discrepancy, including how to adjust your pattern for the kerf of your laser. If you plan to use glue to hold your box together you may simply measure the thickness with a calipers.
Another optional step in preparing your wood for the laser cutter is to shield it. When the wood is laser cut, fumes from burning glue, flame, water vapor and smoke may discolor the surface near edges. In my demonstration I didn't worry about this and was able afterwards to sand away any discoloration. However in other projects (with no etching) I have covered the wood with masking tape before cutting and removed it from each piece after cutting. This has worked with great success and there is little to no sanding required.
Step 3: Preparing the Pattern
1. Select the group of lines representing slots.
2. Change the line thickness to the thickness of your wood minus one kerf thickness of your laser.
3. Expand the group of lines by hitting Object>Expand. Now they are a group of blocks.
4. Select the blocks and the outline of all the pieces and using the Pathfinder tool (If you can't find it use Window>Pathfinder and it will appear) choose the option "Subtract from shape area".
5. Make sure all lines are still set to .001 thickness and your file is ready for laser cutting.
Step 4: Cut Your Pieces
Step 5: Sand Your Pieces
I like the dark edges to my piece and you will have a lot of trouble removing them completely with sandpaper without deforming the shapes. If you want to lighten them, scrubbing the edges with hydrogen peroxide and an old t-shirt will start to remove the charred edge but may leave it blotchy and uneven.