Making boxes with a laser cutter

In a previous blog post I covered how to design and print holders for our galaxy models. This method works great if you only need to make a few holders, but as we need to make 20 of them, we decided to look into faster means of production. After talking with friends over at the Eldon Production Centre we decided to use their laser cutters to make them out of wood.

To give you an idea of the time saved in this process, 3D printing holders takes about 12 hours, laser cutting the parts for them takes about 20 mins (plus we get an etched label and a lid with hinges for little to no extra effort).

Making a pattern

Before using the laser cutter I first had to design what our holder should look like. Using the 3D printed holder’s design as a base I came up with an interlocking design of slots and notches that will allow for easy construction. After the design was finished I used the size of our final models to calculate the final size of each of the pieces. These pieces were arranged on an A1 size canvas and saved as a PDF ready to be sent to the cutter.

Laser cutter pattern for a box to hold our galaxy models
Laser cutter pattern for our galaxy holder

The red lines (which are the outlines of the individual pieces) indicate where the laser should cut through the wood, and the black (which is the Tactile Universe logo in this case) indicates where the laser should engrave a pattern into the wood.

The box pieces after the laser cutter is done cutting them out
The box pieces after the laser cutter is done cutting them out

Constructing the box

After all the pieces are cut out the box is fitted together and some glue is used to attach the bottom and sides.

The pieces of the box being slotted together
The pieces of the box being slotted together

Clamps are used to hold the box together while the glue dries.

The final box with two clamps holding it together as the glue dries
The box after gluing it all together

The final holder

Once finished our resin cast galaxies fit nicely into the holder.

The fully constructed holder
The final constructed holder
The resin galaxies inside the holder
The resin galaxies inside the holder with the lid open

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