Laser Cut Massironi Shelf




Manfredo Massironi was a brilliant Italian avant-garde architect, artist, and scientist who studied visual perception and Gestalt psychology. He also designed this awesome spherical grid shelf! In honor of his contributions, I'll show you how to make a fun-sized 11-inch laser cut version of his original design, which was originally about 6 feet tall. Let's get started!

Step 1: Materials and Tools

1/4 inch plywood

Laser cutter


Dremel with sanding bit

Wood glue


2 small sawtooth hangers

2 nails for mounting the shelf to the wall

Step 2: Download the Vector File

You can download the laser cutting file as an Adobe Illustrator file or pdf. I've also included a simple color-coded assembly diagram to to visually explain how to assemble the pieces once you've cut them out.

Step 3: Laser Cut the Design

I used a Universal Systems laser cutter to cut the design out of 1/4 inch thick plywood.

Step 4: Sanding

I didn't like the color contrast between the faces and the edges of the plywood pieces, so I used a dremel with a sanding bit to sand away the dark brown, burnt edges of each piece. If you don't have a dremel, you could also just use rough grit sandpaper. I only sanded the rounded edges of each piece and left the flat edges alone, since the flat edges will face the wall and won't be visible anyway once the shelf is mounted. Then I used 180 grit sandpaper to remove the smoke stains on the faces of the plywood pieces, then stepped up to 400 grit sandpaper for a final smooth finish.

Step 5: Glue and Assemble

Using the assembly diagram pictured above in Step 2, attach the pieces together with wood glue. Let dry overnight.

Step 6: Attach Brackets and Mount

Using a hammer and small nails, attach two sawtooth hangers onto the upper two corners of the shelf and mount on your wall. Then measure the distance between the two brackets, mark two spots on your wall according to your measurement, and hammer two nails into each spot. Then hang the shelf on the nails and you're done! Now decorate your shelf with your favorite bits and bobs and trinkets, and sit back and admire your handiwork.

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Home Improvement Contest 2017



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    4 Discussions


    1 year ago

    I would question the nails holding the sawtooth hangers going into plywood.


    1 year ago

    I love this design! Do you have to use plywood or will other wood work too? Thanks for including the files! I want one!

    1 reply

    Reply 1 year ago

    You can use any wood you want! The attached file was designed for 1/4 inch thick wood though, so you'd have to make changes to the slot widths if you want to use a different thickness.


    1 year ago

    This is really cool! I'm inspired to build a 4' version as some utility shelving/art in my sewing studio!