Introduction: Laser Cut Furniture Shelf

Too lazy to go buy IKEA furniture? Too savvy to learn woodworking? Then welcome friend, to laser cut furniture! Today we have a small file cabinet made using plywood and compression joints to hold the structure together.

Step 1: Get Those Parts!

Parts List:

2x 1/4"x15"x30" plywood

1x Laser cutter

1x rubber mallet or Dead Blow hammer

1x sheet of sand paper

Step 2: Create Your MakerCase Outline


Go to this website and create a box with sizes of your liking. Make sure the case is selected on finger joints with max width. We want the finger joints to be as wide as possible, as this is what will keep the shelf in place and provide the necessary strength to hold up placed items. For this instructable, we will be making a shelf 16" high by 14" wide and deep. Once you are satisfied with your settings, click generate laser cut plans. We want to export our outline as a .svg file and then open it in Adobe Illustrator.

Step 3: Modify MakerCase Sketch

Open the .svg in Illustrator. Now we will begin editing this file.

1) Delete the blocks so that there are only 2 boxes remaining -- the top shelf and the side shelf.

2) Delete the rivets of the fronts of the top shelf.

3) Delete the side and bottom rivets of the side shelf.

4) Connect the top rivets, so that they form individual rectangular sockets.

5) Remove everything else from the sockets and put a rectangle around the sockets.

6) Adjust the size of the rectangle and copy and paste however many shelves you need.

Step 4: Laser Cut

Next, we will prepare Illustrator file for laser cut by setting the line length to 0.0001pt and making all cut lines be pure red(r=256, b=0, y=0). We will place our 1/4" plywood in the laser cutter and laser cut our cabinet. At this step you may need to split up the cut into multiple cuts, depending on how large your cabinet is.

Step 5: Build Shelf

Now that we have all our parts to the shelf we can begin building our cabinet. Before the building, this is the best time to sand our work. When you are sanding, be careful not to sand away too much wood surrounding the joint area. The measurements tend to be exact and that precision is what keeps the joints locked tight. We will attach all the shelfs to one side cabinet wall by hammering in the joint. Since the thickness of the wood and the socket match, this allows for a tight fit and will keep the shelf in place. Once you have attached all the shelfs to one side cabinet wall, finish the assembly by carefully placing the remaining side cabinet wall into place and hammering its sockets in.

Step 6: Fill Your Shelf With Goodies!

Now that you have your shelf, decorate it by placing all your useful items on the shelf!

Makerspace Contest 2017

Participated in the
Makerspace Contest 2017