Furniture should have the flexibility and versatility of a good building toy. Stacking, combining, and re-configuring discreet elements to make storage for any space would save money and reduce waste. Instead of replacing the old furniture that doesn't fit in a new space, just take apart what you've got and re-assemble it in a configuration that works. With the multitude of rapid prototyping tools at our fingertips these days, we can produce dozens of copies of basic elements, then make highly specific specialized pieces for unique applications.

This quick-and-dirty laser cut modular storage system does just that. It's a 14 1/2" X 14 1/2" square box with one open side, allowing you to snugly fit a dairy crate in the box. There are also 4 evenly spaced holes on each face. The spacing of the holes allows you to stack and attach the blocks in a number of different configurations: side by side, vertically, horizontally, and stepped (like bricks).

Instructables' office is on the second floor of Pier 9 where there is limited space, even more limited storage, and exposed overhead steel trusses all over the place; so for the first use of this modular storage system, I made an attachment for an industrial truss trolley so we can move the storage around the office.

Step 1: Tools, Materials, & Files


  • Laser Cutter or CNC Router. I used a lastercutter, but the same files would work very well on a standard CNC router.

LOW-TECH OPTION: If you don't have access to anything like this, use the files I've provided as templates. Print out the pieces, spray-glue them to the plywood (use something like Super 45 since it will un-stick easily), and follow the lines with a jigsaw. If you're careful and take your time, you'll end up with the same result.

  • Hand drill and/or drill press, drill bits. You'll need to drill pilot holes for screws and countersunk pockets for screw heads and nuts.


  • Plywood. I used 3/4" maple veneer finish grade for the boxes, and 1/4" for the spacers. If you use the files I've posted here, your box material will need to be 3/4" thick (actually .71"), and your spacer material must be 1/4" thick.
  • Hardware.
    • #10 X 1 3/4" #2 sq. drive screws.
    • 10/24 2" flat head machine screws.
    • 10/24 lock nuts.


  • The files included here were made in inventor and intended to be used on a shopbot. The pieces in the Inventor file have recessed pockets for the spacers that would allow for easier assembly and more relieable alignment, but since our shopbot is out of commission for the moment, I made a simpler version that doesn't involve CNC fabricated pockets.
  • These files will give you one hanger and three boxes using one sheet of 3/4" plywood, and they also include the 1/4" thick round spacers.
<p>I LOVE the design!!! Wish I could download it, but don't have anything for that format I'd be making a wall of these!!</p>
<p>(probably already been thought of) I'm sure you could hack a RC car or something and give it a little motorised drive wheel so it could be remote driven up and down the office. :D</p><p>Ecellent job though!</p>
<p>That's a good idea. It would be cool to put up like 10 of them with motors and do something like the mobile library stacks:</p>
Pretty awesome
Glad you like it- make one of your own!
<p>I saw these materializing around the office! Very cool to see how you built them!</p>

About This Instructable




Bio: I'm a full-time Designer at the Instructables Design Studio (best job ever). My background is in residential architecture, film set design, film animatronics, media ... More »
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