This step by step guide will show you how to design and make a strong acrylic drawer using your computer and laser cutter.
You will need knowledge of CAD/CAM and access to a laser cutter (obviously).
The design file is on 123dapp.com, here's the link:
Things you need:
Glue (tensol, araldyte)
Door Knob (optional)
Step 1: Designing the Drawer, the Front
Firstly you must design your drawer on a CAD program, for this tutorial I'm using Tech Soft 2D Design.
You must choose what size you would like the drawer to be. For example if you want it to be a cube measuring 80x80x80mm then you should start by making a box size 80x80mm on your CAD program.
Then you must check what thickness your acrylic sheet is, mine was 3mm. This is the tricky part, you need to make the puzzle joints at the edges of the square. To do this draw a line 3mm (or the thickness of your acrylic) from the edge on the inside and then make perpendicular lines across both vertical lines every 10mm.
You should end up with something like the second picture. Next you must delete some sections of the lines to make the puzzle shape. Using the delete section tool, delete the overhanging lines then delete parts of the vertical lines to make a zigzag shape like in the fourth picture.
You need to do this around three of the edges, leaving one for the top of the drawer.
You may add a hole in the middle to screw a door knob to the drawer to make it easier or a large hole so you can open it with your finger.
Step 2: The Sides
Next you must design the sides of the drawer
Make another square measuring 80x80mm with inner 3mm lines like before and the perpendicular lines too.
Now align both squares side by side and delete the sections so both pieces fit together. Delete the sections on the other side so they look the same (this looks better than odd sides).
Repeat the above steps to do the other side. You may be able to copy and paste the first side.
Step 3: The Bottom
Firstly make another 80x80mm square and place the sides around it like the first picture.
Then go around the bottom piece deleting the sections so that the sides can fit.
Be careful with the corners, make sure the joint is correct because it's easy to leave a small piece out. Take time to work it out.
As you can see in the second picture when you pick the sides up they all fit together and to the bottom.
Step 4: Cutting the Pieces Out
Now comes the interesting part, cutting your design out on a laser cutter.
I advise you to cut the design out on card for the first time to ensure the joints are correct, so you don't waste your acrylic.
The next steps vary depending on your software and laser cutter. So I'll show you the basic steps.
Send the design to the CAM Laser, with the appropriate settings to cut card/acrylic .
Then press start and enjoy!
Step 5: Correcting Mistakes
After assembling the card prototype you can look for any mistakes in the joints and fix them on the computer before cutting on acrylic.
Step 6: The Finished Drawer
If the prototype is okay then cut the actual drawer out on acrylic then use strong glue to assemble the drawer.
Using this joint you will have a very strong drawer that should last for a long time.
After you've finished the drawer stick it into your holder, in my case a lamp.
You can make the drawer any size you want, out of any material you want.
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