A teacher in our school had a storage cabinet that was used to hold folders, but the width was too thin to fit even a simple manila folder. From this point on, my engineering class became a makeshift IKEA, and stayed this way pretty much all year. This storage solution is designed to use a reasonable amount of filament without losing structural integrity. We accomplished that feat by stealing all the cardboard boxes from the copier rooms. We cut and super glued the cardboard onto a frame in each shelf. Using frames with cardboard on top allowed us to tenth the filament usage. This was not our only issue though. Our shelves needed to fit these parameters:
~Large Generic folder is 24 centimeters so width of slots need to be >24cm. (26cm of room and walls are 1cm on each side Total:28cm)
~10 slots for folders
~Height of each slot is 4cm (y-axis)
~Length of generic folder is ~31cm
~87cm wide is how much horizontal distance we have (x-axis)
~Each slot needs room for a label
The biggest issue was the size of the shelves. Our 3D printers could not fit a shelf of this size on the build plate. I was persistent and denied any simple solution to the problem, so my partner and I designed a complex set of interlocking mechanisms all in the spirit of saving a teacher down the hall from enduring the intense suffering that goes along with slightly too small folder spaces for your student's work.
Parts Needed to Print
Other Required Materials
12 Sheets of Cardboard
Superglue or other adhesive
To make the shelf the same colors as the one in the pictures print with these specifications:
Extra Options and Notes
I recommend printing the Vertical_Connector_Outside piece on it's side which will require supports, but it strengthens the piece as it will reduce the chance of it snapping. You can see what orientation to print it in if you look at the image of the Vertical_Connector_Outside.STL file
You will need a mallet to hammer in the Vertical_Connector_Outside pieces.
Be careful with the Shelf_Front part. It can break or bend if not handled carefully.
The cabinets are assembled into five rows and two columns
To begin, start by grabbing
and one piece of cardboard.
The Front and Back should be lined up so that there is two complete circles on each side and it looks like a bed-frame in the middle. Take the 2 Circle_Inserts and superglue them into the sides with the flat side lined up with the shelf.
Next, Take 2 Horizontal_Connector_Pieces and superglue them into the holes on the left wall on the inside of the shelf
Superglue a sheet of cardboard on the frame.
When this step is finished it will look like this:
What you have built up to this point is the right shelf of the bottom row. [If you are working with color; the bottom row is purple] Repeat this process for the left cabinet except, this time, do NOT insert the Horizontal_Connector_Pieces.
Lay the newly created cabinet to the left of the original one
It will look like this; notice that the left cabinet has no Horizontal_Connector_Pieces.
Before we continue, I highly recommend that you superglue all of the Circle_Inserts and Horizontal_Connector_Pieces as well as superglue all the cardboard on to their frames including the top pieces.
Here is an idiot proof guide to putting cardboard on the top frames.
The 4 top pieces are different in two distinct ways.
The Top_Back_Left and Top_Back_Right have a raised back to them which will lay on the 2 Shelf_Back pieces.
The Top_Front_Left and TopFront Right do not have raised backs, so will go on the 2 Shelf_Front pieces.
The Top_Back_Left and Top_Front_Left have a notch on the left side that will connect to the Vertical_Connector_Outside.
The Top_Back_Right and Top_Front_Right have a notch on the right side that will connect to the other two Vertical_Connector_Outside.
This is how the top pieces are oriented:
Then superglue the cardboard on to the frames.
Finally, duck tape around the cardboard around the front to prevent separation of the cardboard from the frame. It also is to make the front of the shelves slightly more bulky, so you can attach name tags or labels to the front. Do this to all the shelves as well as the top pieces.
The next tutorial will be for connecting the two bottom shelves together.
You are going to need
the 2 shelves we prepared in previous steps,
The Top of the Vertical_Connector has extra filament, so make sure the slots line up correctly when you are assembling it.
This is how it locks together:
IMPORTANT: Line up both Vertical_Connectors before snapping them together
The shelves might not snap together very tightly at first. On the left cabinet you might have noticed that there is extra space around the Horizontal_Connector_Pieces. That space is normal, and is meant to prevent damage to the left shelves
After the first row of shelves are connected, take another right shelf and put it on top of the first row. Connect the Horizontal_Connector_Pieces into the 2 Vertical_Connectors. Then put the left shelf on and snap the Horizontal_Connector_Pieces into the left shelf.
Continue laying rows of shelves in this fashion until there are no more cabinets.
Now for the last steps.
Turn the assembled cabinets on its side and hammer in 2 Vertical_Connector_Outside pieces. They should be very tight.
Now place the top pieces on, and turn the assembled cabinets on its other side. Hammer the final Vertical_Connector_Outside pieces into this side. The top pieces should be held together by notches on the top of the Vertical_Connector_Outside pieces.
Duct tape the top for a less cheap look. Cardboard is not a very professional looking material.
Our original plan was to simply print out a simple boxy holder with slots on the top and bottom of the model. We quickly learned that:
- We didn't have the time to print this much filament
- The build plates were half the size of the model
- We didn't want to use this much filament
- Ocean State Job Lot was down the street
This was the orientation that we devised; two columns and five rows. We took measurements of the space in the teacher's room, and this was the most effective use of space.
U U |
U U |
U U | 30cm
U U |
U U |
U = Shelf
After redesigning, and a lot of winging it, we came up with a way to connect two shelves together using a little clip. We also cut out holes in the bottom, as we wanted to keep the sides obstructed from view for the sake of student privacy. It was still too big, and the amount of filament used had barely even been dented. Actually, we ended up using more filament because we made a cover piece that sits on the top shelf that was literally a rectangle of solid filament.
Left: Early Top Lid | Right: Early Horizontal Connector
Back to the Drawing Board
Redesigning the shelf did allow us to get an idea of how to solve each of the issues that we ran into, but the original design was not working out very well. The plan to print vertically (from the back of the shelf upward) was not working. It solved the size problem, but it created a bunch of other problems, so we needed to stop and reassess the our design philosophy.
We ultimately decided that we would print the shelves in two with the bottom down. The consequence of this change is that we would have to redesign the mechanisms to hold shelves horizontally and vertically. My partner will go over the details of our new design.
In our final design we designed our cabinet with a gap to fill in with cardboard at the base of the cabinet in order to save on filament
We designed vertical connectors to secure the cabinets with interlocking pieces, and hold them together.
For the lid we created a base outline were a piece of cardboard could be placed in order to save filament we split the lid into four pieces in order for them to have space to print.
individual cabinet format with space for cardboard before we split it in two
This insert would be put in the both sides of the shelf to fasten them together