Rocket Bookshelf




An easy way to make a cool Rocket bookshelf using 123D Make and TechShop!. This tutorial only covers the creation of the file, not the actual how to cut out the Rocket. If you have access to a shopbot it couldnt be an easier task. Click here to find a ShopBot near you.


Step 1: 123d Make

123d Make is a free product that Autodesk released recently. You can download for free from , use your favorite design software or bank of models to get an .stl file and then open up 123d Make.

1) up to the upper left hand side click   File--> Open example-->Rocket. You can also import your own CAD file or browse the online Gallery that has ton's of models to pick from.

2) To toggle the view of your model use your right mouse button, to Zoom in and out use your scroll wheel.

3) Choose a Construction Option- for this project I choose to Radial slices.

Step 2: Entering New Sheet Materials

1) By the tab that says Manufacturing Settings, click on the pencil and this Screen will show up. To add a new Material click on the plus sign below. I have labeled mine Ply wood because I plan on making several projects with this lot of material. for units I kept it in inches and then entered in the following
Length- 96 in
Width - 48 in
Thickness-.72 in- (even though they say its 3/4 in ply its almost always a bit under)

2) Enter in your desired size, because of the way the model was created I wanted the bottom piece that held everything together to be one solid piece. So I started at 8 feet and tapped my way down to 6.2 before the warning sign on the bottom right of screen turned off saying that the piece would fit on one cut.

This is also a good way to figure how many sheets you have vs need. If size is not as important to you as amount of sheet material than you can use this to design down to the ideal size for the amount of lumber you have.

Step 3: Assembly

123d Make does some really cool stuff after you figure out what you want your finished piece to look like.

1) click on Assembly Steps- and use the scroll bar to figure out how you would assemble this beast.
2) when finished go ahead and choose "Get Plans" here you will sign in with your 123d login and then save out as .eps or svg. Both are great and open in multiple CAM software packages.

Step 4: Finishing Up.

At this Stage you have lots of options, if you are fortunate to live near a TechShop you can reserve some time on their ShopBot and cut this out after some rework on the CAM side in V-carve. If you don't ShopBot does this cool project showing you where the closest available ShopBot is called 100K garages.

My final version was done by some friends with a giant laser cutter, which brings me to good point, ... Make good friends.

Enjoy this Project, I did. )



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    21 Discussions


    6 years ago on Introduction

    Been trying to get 123d to work on my computer but i'm afraid my pc is just to old to make it work it starts to open then for some reason shuts down and gives me an error message

    This is a cool "Ible" great job too


    6 years ago on Step 4

    well. how much did you spend for that cutting machine ? and the program that compatible with it ?


    6 years ago on Step 4

    This is so cool! My mom is a reading teacher so maybe I'll make her a book shelf for christmas or something. 5* this is AWESOME!

    Yes!, I will get to that as soon as I am near the file again, you can also make your own by downloading the free 123d make and choosing to export PDF as opposed to eps.

    tanks but i dont know if i would have the skills to do this i mean for pepole without the tools this looks like a dream


    Reply 7 years ago on Introduction

    You could do this by hand if you wanted to. You could print the PDFs, lay them out on your boards, then go to town with a jigsaw. Or you could try a bandsaw for cleaner curves, but those are a little tougher to get a hold of. But either is easier to find than a ShopBot (unless you luck out and have a 100K garage or a TechShop near you.)

    You may need to tweak the file a bit to do this by hand. Fiddle with 123D Make to create something that fits the limitations of your tools. It's definitely doable, and 123D Make will allow you to plan out joints that would otherwise be a nightmare for a lay woodworker.

    How about this: try it. Make something using 123D Make. Use handtools. Document it. I'll hook you up with a year of pro membership, even if you fail. (Obviously try not to fail. Wood isn't free.) Just reply to this comment with a link to your project, and I'll set you up.


    Reply 6 years ago on Introduction

    a band saw would be very limiting a lot of this is curved and with a band saw you always run the risk of catching the blade and stopping it. Jigsaw would probably be best


    7 years ago on Step 4

    Beautiful project. Good instructable. I think it would make a great place for sci fi figures/collectibles.


    7 years ago on Introduction

    Great project. Do you have photos of it populated with books? I'm trying to imagine what that would look like since the shelf spaces are wedge-shaped.


    7 years ago on Introduction

    This would be ideal to put your collection of Tintin albums in!


    7 years ago on Introduction

    I would love to make this, but I wouldn't have anywhere to put one. If anyone in San Francisco (or near by) wants to team up and do this, I'd love to be in on the creation and assembly.


    7 years ago on Introduction

    Wow that's stunning Jesse! Any plans to paint or stain it?