Introduction: Upcycled Filament-Box Drawers
In the Invention Studio, we recently switched over to using a different brand of 3D printer filament, called Polymaker. The filament is really, really nice, but I think my favorite part of the crossover is the high quality packaging that it comes in. We go through so much filament that we have a LOT of these boxes just hanging around, and they make great containers for little projects and components.
Instead of just throwing out these great boxes, I put my crafting skills to the test to create this cute, 6 drawer cabinet entirely out of stuff I found lying around. Who couldn't use a cheap, compact storage solution?
Step 1: Gather Materials.
Hot glue gun
X-Acto knife or utility knife
Polymaker boxes x3
Large piece of cardboard - I used something leftover from a McMaster Carr sheet metal order.
Step 2: Measure Out and Cut the Outer Casing.
Because I'm building this to fit Polymaker boxes, I used a box top as a reference for the frame.
On my huge flat sheet of cardboard, I drew 2 lines that ran parallel with the corrugation. The sides of the case were 8.5", and the rear panel was 9" wide, to account for wiggle room or inaccuracies - because at the end of the day, it's just cardboard. Cardboard structures are stronger when the corrugation bears the loading, so I made sure that the corrugation was vertical in my final assembly.
Leaving all three sides connected, trim off any extra material.
Use the height and spacing of your Polymaker boxes to determine the overall needed height of the cardboard. For my build, the height was 23-7/8". Trim to the appropriate height, using your knife and straight edge.
Step 3: Bend and Glue Up Cabinet Case.
Place your straight edge on the lines we drew in the last step. Apply even force across the whole flap of cardboard, while holding down the straight edge. Because we chose to work with the corrugation, the cabinet case will bend cleanly, with minimal effort.
Test the fit of the filament box shelves, and temporarily tape the cardboard to hold 90 degree angles.
Put a bead of hot glue along the inside corners of the case. This will keep the case in the correct shape. Remove the tape when the glue cools.
Step 4: Cover Edges in Tape.
The only downside of using cardboard is that when you cut it, you get ugly edges. I covered the edges with blue painters tape to hide the rough internal corrugation.
Step 5: Cut Out and Glue on Bottom.
Use the case to trace out a bottom for the cabinet on a spare sheet of cardboard.
Cut out the bottom, and glue it to the underside of the cabinet.
Cover the corners with painter's tape to hide the edges.
Step 6: Cut Out Shelf Supports.
Using some left over cardboard, cut out shelf supports. You need 2 supports for every drawer you want to include. Since I used 3 boxes, I had a total of 6 drawers. Therefore, I made 12 supports. Each support was about 3/4" of an inch thick, and about 10" long.
This is super important: The load bearing portion of the supports are the long edges, so you need to make sure that they are cut perpendicular to the corrugation.
Step 7: Glue in Shelf Supports.
Bend the edges of the supports to fit closely within the case, and hot glue those tabs.
Carefully hot glue each pair of supports in place. Make sure one of the supports is near the open side of the case, and one of them is roughly 2/3 of the way to the back of the case. Also, make sure that both of the top edges of those supports align, so that they can provide the most support for each drawer. If you need to stabilize the case, use painter's tape, just like you did when you were gluing up the case in the first place.
Be extra careful on this step. As I end up saying a lot, "Is it even a project if you haven't gotten severe burns from your hot glue gun?"
Step 8: Build Dividers (optional).
Each Polymaker box comes with little cardboard inserts to support the spool, and the fit perfectly it the turquoise bottoms of the boxes. They're even pre-perforated!
Tear those inserts apart, and glue them to the bottom of the turquoise part, and BOOM! You've got instant dividers.
Step 9: Paint It.
I like cardboard because it's a cheap, relatively sturdy building material. It's not pretty.
I spray painted the case and the white parts of the boxes. I left the turquoise parts unpainted because they were already a really nice color.
Step 10: Put Your Drawers in the Case.
Add your drawers back into the case, then add stuff to the drawers!
Enjoy your cute, cheap storage!