Introduction: DIY Spherical Waffle Shelves (Massironi Shelves) .. the Easy Guide

About: Fab Lab Irbid is a small-scale workshop for personal digital fabrication, equipped with an array of flexible computer controlled tools and various materials, with the aim to make almost anything.

In this instructable you will build your own Spherical Waffle Shelves(Massironi Shelves).

Massironi shelves is attributed to the Italian architect Manfredo Massironi who studied visual perception and Gestalt psychology. He was always fascinated by visual forms, he designed these awesome spherical grid shelves!

Note: in this project, a CNC machine was used. If you don't have access to one, don't panic, you can still make the shelves by other manual wood cutting techniques using the designs attached.

The .dxf plans file included in Step 5.

Step 1: Tools and Materials Requirements

In this project, we used a set of tools and materials that is found at most carpentry shops or any Fab Lab around the world. The item may vary in color, size, and type according to your preferences.

Machine used:

1)2440mm x 1220mm wood CNC machine (Different types of wood cutting techniques can be used).

Tools used:
1) Rubber Hammer

2) Sand Paper

3) Drill

4)Screw Driver

Materials used:

1) Veneered MDF Board 2440mm x 1220mm x 16.5mm (note: You can use any type of wooden boards)

2) 4 x Double Wide Corner Brace

3) 8 x Wall Mounting Screws

4) 8 x Wood Screws

Step 2: Prepare Your Design

You can choose any 3D CAD software to make the required design and then export it as .stl file. We picked Fusion360 because it is free, easy to use, and can do the required design. The design preparation process steps explained in-detail below.

First,a sphere with 1000mm diameter needs to be modeled using the sphere create tool.

Second, a rectangle with 2/3 the sphere diameter length and width equal to the sphere diameter needs to be sketched.The rectangle edges will be tangent to the sphere projection, so you can take off the 2/3 of the sphere using the extrude cut command and only keep 1/3. Viola, your design is ready to be sliced!

Third, After exporting the CAD model in .stl file format, you need to import it to the Slicer for Fusion360 slicing software. In Slicer you can change the design scale, stock material dimensions, and slice your design into parts as needed.

Fourth, to get the Massironi Shelves, the construction technique needs to be Interlocked Slices. Then, you need to set shelves number on both the horizontal and vertical axes to be 5.

Fifth, choose the Relief Type to be Dog Bone because physically CNC machines cannot cut internal sharp corners that are required for the assembly.

Finally, set the wooden board stock dimensions and export the .dxf plans from Slicer.

Note: shelves number, size, materials dimensions can be changed to fit different preferences.

Step 3: CNC Cut Your Pieces

Time to get dirty!

Prepare the machines instructions file using the CAM software you got to operate your CNC machine.

In this project, the CNC machine used is Shopbot PRSalpha and the CAM software recommended by the manufacturer is VCarve.

The milling bit used to cut the board is a 1/2" two flutes carbide end mill. The speeds and feeds were set accordingly to match the end mill physical cutting capabilities.

Tip: The fit of the assembly depends on your CNC machine tolerances and cutting settings. It is recommended that you do some tests on a small joint with 0.05mm offset increments and decrements. In our case, a good fit was achieved with offset of -0.15mm on the .dxf design outlines.

Wear the safety glasses, dust mask, and other required safety gear by your safety advisor!

After preparing the CNC instructions file, you need to warm up the spindle and fix the wood board on the working bed.

Now, run the CNC!

Step 4: Assemble and Install the Shelves

Carefully remove the cut pieces from the board.

Post process the pieces by a sand paper, especially the sharp edges.

The assembly process was a little bit tricky because you need to have access to the wall in order to fix the shelves using the metal corner braces.

First, assemble all the parts that cannot be installed after fixing the shelves.

Second, mark up locations for the corner braces on the shelves pieces and on the wall. Note: make sure the corner braces fit tightly.

Third, drill holes on both the wooden pieces and on the wall.

Finally, fix the structure to the wall with screws and assemble the remaining pieces afterwards.

Check out this guide for screws wall fixing.

Step 5: Results and Files

Now, you deserve to enjoy your brand new Massironi style organizing shelves.

Thanks for making and hope you liked it!

Note: The final design file is attached below.



  • FabLab Irbid's Team (email:
  • Ideation, designing, documentation, and authoring: Fablab Irbid`s Mobile FabLab Engineer, Karam Khrais (email:
  • Desgin support, authoring, and proofreading: FabLab Irbid's Design and Production Engineer, Amro Sawan(email:
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