3D Printed I-Beam Display Shelf




Introduction: 3D Printed I-Beam Display Shelf

About: I'm a Mechanical Engineer who has been a part of this community for over 10 years! My interests have evolved over time, and now center around 3D printing.

In the new makerspace at my school, we like to have some sample models laying around for people to look at when they stop by for a tour. For the longest time, a large part of our main work table was a mess of pretty much anything that came out of a 3D printer or the laser cutter that people didn't want to hang on to. Not only did this take up valueable work table space, but also looked very unorganized. I decided to blend 3D printing with some leftover MDF to make small shelves that would clamp on to an I-beam in the middle of the room to create a unique display option. Let's get started!


  • Introduction
  • Video
  • Tools and Materials
  • Step 1: 3D Design
  • Step 2: Woodworking
  • Step 3: Assembly
  • Step 4: Conclusion

Teacher Notes

Teachers! Did you use this instructable in your classroom?
Add a Teacher Note to share how you incorporated it into your lesson.

Step 1: Video

Step 2: Tools and Materials

This may seem kind of redundant taking the next steps into consideration, but if you like to plan ahead you'll need the following!:

  • 3D printer or access to a 3D printing service
  • 3D design software
  • 1/2" MDF, or another type of board
  • 1.25" bolts, and matching nuts (x2)
  • Laser cutter
  • Belt sander
  • Drill and drill bits
  • Sand paper
  • Paint
  • Cardboard
  • Ruler
  • Sharpie, or other marking device

Step 3: 3D Design

A key feature of this project was for the shelf to be able to firmly attach to the I-beam in the room. After measuring the desired part of the I-beam with calipers, I took to using Fusion 360 to design a bracket to fit on to the I-beam.

Originally, I anticipated using a bracket on each side, bolted together using the hole that you can see in the red bracket. After test-fitting and testing how sturdy the shelf was using only friction, that plan proved unnecessary. Some design modifications were made for the second purple bracket, but I was still able to use the first as well.

The parts were printed using a Makerbot Replicator 5th Generation at using PLA, with 2 shells and 20% infill.

Step 4: Woodworking

We had some leftover 1/2" MDF left over from another project, so I decided to use that to finish the shelves. There were two pieces that were nearly identical and appropriately sized, so I grabbed them.

After measuring to center the 3D printed brackets, holes were able to be marked and drilled so that bolts can be inserted later to attach them. I mis-measured where the holes should be drilled for the first board, so I used some water putty to fill the holes.

I wanted to round the corners to make them look a little cleaner, so I laser-cut a rounded-corner square, and used that as a tracer so that each corner would be identical. A belt sander was used to round the corners.

Each board received two coats of white paint, which was again left over from another project, with some light sanding in between coats.

Step 5: Assembly

Zinc-coated carriage bolts were used to attach the finished boards to the 3D printed brackets. They were 2" long, 1/4" diameter for the red bracket, and 1.25" long, 1/4" diameter for the purple and green brackets. 1/4" nuts were used to firmly attach them, and then the shelves simply slide on to the I-beam.

Step 6: Conclusion

There you have it! Some great new shelves to display sample models, an awesome project, or anything else! Obviously this project will need to be customized to your I-beam, and other office/work space.

3D Printing Contest

Participated in the
3D Printing Contest

Be the First to Share


    • Backyard Contest

      Backyard Contest
    • Silly Hats Speed Challenge

      Silly Hats Speed Challenge
    • Finish It Already Speed Challenge

      Finish It Already Speed Challenge