Tabbed Box Maker

October 2011 & January 2015

After making a box with tabbed contruction for a home theatre keyboard, I realised that a tool was needed to make the tabs accounting for the width of the cut to ensure a tight fit of the joints. As the FabLab I frequent uses Inkscape as the preferred drawing software (it's open source) I decided to write an extension for the job.
The files for the extension are here: BoxMaker 0.85 For Inkscape 0.48 (13kB)
or BoxMaker 0.91 For Inkscape 0.91 (13kB)

The tool works by generating a drawing of the pieces of the box with the tab and hole size corrected to account for the kerf (width of cut), these pieces are composed of sides, each side being a discreet object, to move a piece in the drawing the edges need to be grouped together.

Making a Box

Enter the dimensions, prefered tab width, material thickness and cut width.
Then click Apply.
Note: that the more tabs you have the stronger the joint but if the tabs are too small they will be weak (especially at the corners), so some judgement is needed here.

Select whole drawing then set the stroke width for the laser (0.01mm for Epilog) then Save the file as a PDF. Now open the PDF and print to the laser cutter. Assemble.

My first box. (clear acrylic is difficult to photograph)

A few more examples:

4-axis controller

Open Topped

Arduino box

Funfoam robot by SusanBluerobot