Modular Shelving Plywood Boxes




Introduction: Modular Shelving Plywood Boxes

Hello there!

The main idea of that project is to develop modular shelf. Where students will be able to store things for their projects.

The basic requirements for "Modular shelving plywood boxes" project:

  1. The shelf should consist individual "partitions" (boxes).

  2. Each cell(partition) should have standard size, so that box from hardware store (like IKEA, Leroy Merlin, Wallmart) can fit in it.

  3. The shelf could be consist of any number of cells horizontally and vertically.

  4. Assembling without nails and bolts.

Step 1: 3D Modeling

For 3D modeling I used Autodesk Fusion 360.


After developing 3D model, I took off patterns in vector (I used add-on which you could easily in Autodesk App Store DXF for Laser Cutting). Both dxf and dwg formats are good for this purposes.

Step 2: Milling

For fabrication we use FlexiCam milling machine and 12mm plywood sheets

So, as you know "It is better to see once than to hear 5 times".

Here are some photos and a video of how waged milling parts.

Whole process took about several hours (for 8 boxes, with plywood sheets replacement etc).

Step 3: Sanding

At the sanding step we delete all flaw after milling, and make surface pleasant to the touch.

Also sanding is necessary before applying the varnish (what we will do on next steps).

Firstly delete raw defects by coarse sandpaper (P120).

Most time was spent on handling corners and curves. There are a lot of manual work, as a power tool to clean difficult corners.

Secondly more accurate handling by fine sandpaper (P240).

Step 4: Varnishing

For varnishing we use colorless lacquer.

At first the idea was to make painting brushes and rollers.

But in the end we decide to use a spray gun and compressor.

After applying the first layer, let it dry.

We continued the next day.

Step 5: Sanding and Varnishing

After drying, the parts must be sanded again.

We used fine sandpaper (P240).

Honestly, I had to paint some of the boxes others with varnish, since liqueur can over.

After applying the second lacquer layer, leave it till next day, to completely dry.

Step 6: Final Sanding and Assembling

Next day: for further surface polishing we will use sandpaper(P320).

For bellow steps you will need only one tool - the mallet.

For assembly several boxes in one rack you should turn the joints on 90 degree, and drive them into the grooves.

As result boxes will be docked very close to each other.

In this way we assemble all eight boxes, one by one. It could be done by one person in 20 minutes without any hurry.

Fasten the wheels to the rack using the screwdriver (optional).

Step 7: Result

As result we have modular shelving for 8 boxes.

Maybe in future we add one extra row of two boxes above.

Is the idea to repaint the shelves (without disassembly - just top and sides) in some contrasting color, yellow or orange, for example.

Tnx for your watching.

Shelving Contest 2016

Participated in the
Shelving Contest 2016

Be the First to Share


    • Puzzles Speed Challenge

      Puzzles Speed Challenge
    • CNC Contest 2020

      CNC Contest 2020
    • Secret Compartment Challenge

      Secret Compartment Challenge

    3 Discussions


    3 years ago

    Good job love stuff like this. Is that cnc machine at your school. I made something along the same line have a look at my instructables see what you think. keep posting :)


    Reply 3 years ago

    That CNC machine (and some others) is located in Moscow FabLab. It is part of MISIS (


    3 years ago

    These look really nice, they fit perfectly :)