[Lab] Laser cut plywood online designs

jweisberg at sympatico.ca jweisberg at sympatico.ca
Mon May 20 14:28:43 EDT 2013

Hi Richard,
I've been making fingerjoint boxes in 3mm and 6 mm baltic birch plywood using the online generator you found at 
http://boxmaker.rahulbotics.com/Thought I'd posted it here before but maybe not. Anyway, it works well. Use a caliper to check the actual thickness of the stock you are using, in a few spots. Using the thicker measurements makes the fingers deeper; where the material is thinner the fingers will project past the surface they connect with, and will need to be sanded down, however they end up flush. Using the thinner of the measurements will leave the fingers shy of the adjoining surface, so it saves on sanding if you don't mind them being recessed.

Using 0.005" for the kerf has resulted in boxes that snap together and are difficult to pull apart without minor damage.

The generator outputs a pdf with the 6 faces of the box in a + shape. I open the pdf in Inkscape and realign the faces to make better use of the material I'm using. Note that initially every line segment of each face is a separate line segment so it's a good idea to select and group each face first. I align the faces vertically then butt them to each other using the align right edge with left edge tool. I then un-group each face and remove the line segments that overlap, i.e., where the tips of the fingers overlay each other. Otherwise the laser will cut that section twice, which is not as clean and takes longer.

I did one box in 6mm where I set up the file so that the projecting part of each finger made the cutout part of each finger on the adjoining piece. The fit is a little sloppier but fine for gluing, and it saves some material and more time lasering. 

Haven't used the templates from this generator for any other materials.

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