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I’ve been learning some interesting things about laser cutting 2D materials to form 3D objects (thanks to the laser cutter I have on loan from Epilog).There are some traditional woodworking joinery concepts that apply, but since all of your cuts are made on a single plane, there are some that don’t (such as dovetailed corners).
Inspired by Raphael Abrams’ cigar box Arduino lab, I’m designing a mobile prototyping kit. To make the box sturdy, I’ve designed a pattern of intersections to lock the sides and bottom together, as seen here. The thickness of my birch plywood is 3/16″, so I’ve made 3/16″ grooves on the edges for a clean fit.




My good friend Tod Kurt had done a lot of experimentation in this area, which you can read about in his slides for a Sketching Conference talk entitled From 2D -> 3D.

John Edgar Park

John Edgar Park likes to make things and tell people about it. He works in CG animation at DisneyToon Studios and writes for Make, Boing Boing, and other places online and in print. You can find him at and twitter @johnedgarpark — if you like that sort of thing.

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