Designing a wooden box (and making it)

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WillAdams
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Designing a wooden box (and making it)

Post by WillAdams » Wed Mar 05, 2014 11:47 am

Here're some comments and thoughts and processes for doing this.

Curious as to how it compares w/ everyone else's processes.

First, determine the necessary size, based on the constraints of:

* contents (working from the inside out, what goes in, where does it fit, how much extra space is needed to load / unload)
* intended usage (does it need to fit through doors, into specific spaces, carried by one person, two, &c.)
* necessary hardware (does it need to lock, latch, how many handles, how should hinges be arranged, &c.)
* material limitations --- what are suitable proportions for stock thickness (and what's available)
* joinery --- what joints are suitable for which corners? should end grain show or be hidden? what orientations will the box be used in? are the weights and stresses such that the joints should be arranged in a particular direction?

Draw up an outline of the box, sketch in the material thicknesses and joints and hardware (if any):
5_25x12x_25_V2.png
5_25x12x_25_V2.png (65.26 KiB) Viewed 10679 times
In this case, the box is 5.25" deep by 10.375" wide and 1.4375" tall --- 1/4" stock was selected, and double and blind rabbet (half-lap) joints were used, w/ the bottom being trapped in grooves which hold edges made slim enough to fit in them by rebates (blind rabbet).

The design intent was to create a piece suitable for manufacture on a machine w/ minimal post-processing or machining.

The top is a single piece of wood held in place by hinges fashioned of 3/32" aluminum rod driven through pieces of 1/8" metal tubing (copper or brass for a colour contrast) which are placed in holes drilled in the sides --- for the sake of wood movement, it might be best to mill it out of multiple pieces fashioned together in some interesting way --- this is left as an exercise for the reader. The top does require two additional operations:

- after the box is assembled and the tubing for the hinges is in place, one must drill two holes for the metal rod which will be used to pin the lid in place
- the back bottom of the lid must be rounded off to allow it to open (alternately, one could mill a concavity into the back of the box, or some combination of both)

The box is small enough that there didn't seem to be a need to account for wood movement --- one might want to use plywood for the bottom, especially if the box is scaled up from this size.
Shapeoko 3XL #0006 w/Makita RT0701 Router w/0.125″ and ¼″ Elaire precision collets
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WillAdams
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Re: Designing a wooden box (and making it)

Post by WillAdams » Wed Mar 05, 2014 11:50 am

Then draw up the various views:

Top:
5_25x12x_25_V2-TOP.png
Front:
5_25x12x_25_V2-FRONT.png
Side:
5_25x12x_25_V2-SIDE.png
Last edited by twforeman on Fri Oct 21, 2016 9:25 pm, edited 1 time in total.
Reason: images are breaking the display...
Shapeoko 3XL #0006 w/Makita RT0701 Router w/0.125″ and ¼″ Elaire precision collets
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WillAdams
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Re: Designing a wooden box (and making it)

Post by WillAdams » Wed Mar 05, 2014 12:00 pm

Then, take the views, dismantle the box (virtually) and isolate the parts (I like to put each on a separate layer) and draw up a view of each part suitable for cutting out (and optionally, a second view which communicates how it should be cut):

Bottom:



(the part which will be placed in the grooves for the bottom are rounded at the corners to keep them from interfering w/ the fit)

Sides:



(it may be necessary to add additional profiles for multi-level parts to allow for efficient cutting which does not waste time in cutting air, or unduly stress the machine trying to make an un-supported cut --- the two circles should be drilled for the 1/8" tubing which will be used for the hinges (your choice of through or partially so as to create a hidden hinge), the odd profiles and the outer profile should be milled to 1/8" depth in a pocketing operation to make the grooves and half-lap rebates)

Front and back:



(one may need to manually plot where the machine will mill if your CAM program isn't able to properly plan cuts --- in this case, it was necessary to manually draw in the paths for the rebates and grooves --- they should be milled out first using a follow-path cut, then one should profile the perimeter to the same depth --- on the last piece cut you can keep going down to the full depth if your machine is rigid enough to not have the bit wander)

.svg source files are below the photos of the finished box: http://www.shapeoko.com/forum/viewtopic ... 653#p21653
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WillAdams
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Re: Designing a wooden box (and making it)

Post by WillAdams » Wed Mar 05, 2014 12:19 pm

One can easily source 1/4" stock which is S4S (surfaced four sides) either as small pieces at a craft store (pricey) (Last week, Michael's coupons were for 50% off, so I picked up a stack), or ``craft boards'' at a home center (only slightly less so), or much nicer stock at a specialty woodworking store (unfortunately, Inventables doesn't carry 1/4" stock in anything but MDF and plywood). Of course, if one has, or knows someone w/ a saw, plane and jointer one can make stock of any dimension desired (Not an option for me at the moment, since my deck is still covered in snow and that's where I carry all my (hand) tools to do woodworking).

One will need to work out work-holding and placement of the cut files in relation to the stock --- I didn't trouble about the top, since it's a simple square cut unless one designs an interesting assemblage as noted above, and select a suitable end mill --- in this case, 1/8" to match the grooves.

Place the pieces into one's CAM program and work out the needed cuts and operations in an order suitable to one's machine and stock.
Shapeoko 3XL #0006 w/Makita RT0701 Router w/0.125″ and ¼″ Elaire precision collets
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WillAdams
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Re: Designing a wooden box (and making it)

Post by WillAdams » Sat Mar 08, 2014 7:23 pm

Further considerations:

- since one is cutting the box essentially from the inside out, the reference surface should be the _bottom_ of the stock, and one should set up one's machine and the CAM processes accordingly.

- it would probably be better to move the two sides farther apart in the files and probably to extend the ends a bit, since there's very little material left around the cut-out for the tube for the hinge --- an interesting idea is to not cut that so deeply that it shows, then one has a ``magic'' box w/ an invisible hinge (albeit one which is more difficult to put together)
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Nigel K Tolley
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Re: Designing a wooden box (and making it)

Post by Nigel K Tolley » Sat Mar 08, 2014 11:41 pm

Posted a huge reply, and lost it because Tapatalk doesn't keep the reply until it is sure it had been posted. Bah.

Anyway, to sum up, very nice. Took me a moment to realise it was a pocket not a through - too much laser cutting! I have a good box project too, which I should get on with.

Sent from my SM-N9005 using Tapatalk

WillAdams
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Re: Designing a wooden box (and making it)

Post by WillAdams » Sun Mar 09, 2014 12:12 am

Thanks. Bummer about the reply --- I've had that sort of thing happen as well.

I should work up a better way to show / represent things so that they're not as confusing --- will have to see what can be done about that --- perhaps we could agree on some sort of standard for colour-coding? Is there a standard in the industry? (back when I took drafting classes it was all boards, pencils, Koh-i-noor Rapido-graphs, T-squares and Ames lettering guides....)
Shapeoko 3XL #0006 w/Makita RT0701 Router w/0.125″ and ¼″ Elaire precision collets
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WillAdams
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Re: Designing a wooden box (and making it)

Post by WillAdams » Sun Mar 09, 2014 4:13 pm

I'll look into the colour-coding later --- did find http://www.draftsperson.net/index.php?t ... hts_in_CAD which looks promising.

Cutting the prototype went well, but I need to get more threaded inserts:

Image
(original here: http://www.shapeoko.com/wiki/index.php/ ... -parts.jpg )

I cut some 1/8" copper tubing to put in the hinge holes and expoxied it in place w/ J.B. Weld. It fits fairly well, save for the sides being too thick since I referenced off the top surface of the material, rather than the top of the work area (in retrospect I should've zeroed off a 1/4" drill bit on the work area):

Image
( http://www.shapeoko.com/wiki/index.php/ ... embled.jpg )

For the lid, I manually rounded the back w/ a block plane and used a small pin vise drill w/ a 3/32" drill bit to drill the hinge hole:

Image
( http://www.shapeoko.com/wiki/index.php/ ... embled.jpg )

(My apologies for the colour --- it's too nice a day to be fiddling w/ PhotoShop --- I'll fix them and re-upload them later).

I also touched up all the edges w/ a corner plane, though I'll need to repeat that once I've worked things down to size.

Next I'll glue it up, fasten the top in place by finishing up the hinge w/ some lengths of 3/32" aluminum rod, then use a plane to fix the sides where things don't quite line up. Then I'll finish it w/ a spray laquer and work bee's wax into the hinge area, then wax the whole thing.
Shapeoko 3XL #0006 w/Makita RT0701 Router w/0.125″ and ¼″ Elaire precision collets
Nomad 883 Pro #596 (bamboo)

WillAdams
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Re: Designing a wooden box (and making it)

Post by WillAdams » Sun Mar 09, 2014 10:54 pm

Decided to use polyurethane, since I had a can I want to finish off:

Image

Image

(managed to get the lid flipped over and the nicer surface hidden on the inside of the box....)

Fragile end grain around the hinge is a definite problem, especially if using a soft wood (I used pine) --- probably it'd be best to not fully cut that, even if one is going to be cutting it all the way through, but I really think the hidden hinge idea would be the best --- one would just want to machine some sort of guide block for drilling the hinge in the lid.

Source files:
Shapeoko 3XL #0006 w/Makita RT0701 Router w/0.125″ and ¼″ Elaire precision collets
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Dawn18
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Location: UK

Re: Designing a wooden box (and making it)

Post by Dawn18 » Thu Mar 13, 2014 9:43 pm

Really like this design, nice functional design that can be used for all sorts of end applications.

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