Laser Cut Wooden Pencil Box

posted in: Pattern Design

I splashed out on some fancy art pencils recently, and designed a bespoke pencil box to keep them in. I made the box out of 3mm birch plywood using our laser cutter.
Rather than buying something off the shelf, I wanted to make a lidded box that would be an exact fit for my pencils, so that when all 12 pencils were inside they would fit snugly, and not have the chance to roll around, potentially breaking the leads.

I began the design process by measuring the exact interior dimensions I would need for my box. I made a paper template box around the pencils, this gave me a precise width for the box; the length was easier to measure, (just the length of a pencil plus 1cm), and the template helped me to stack the pencils 2 layers deep and measure that height which became the height of the box.

I used an open source program to create the box with tabbed edges, using OpenSCAD, its available here: . This is a parameter based program which allowed precise input of dimensions for the box. I designed a lid for the box adding the 3mm thickness of the birch ply to each dimension, for a tight fit.

One of the best features of using a laser cutter to create the box is the ability to personalise an item – not just with the bespoke dimensions, but also decoration. I decided to add some engraved lettering, this worked well with the  strong font design matching the strong decorative feature of the chequerboard effect tabbed box edges.

The tabbed edges fit together well, and can be specified to fit tightly by estimating the cut width of the laser and compensating for it. In this case it was 0.1mm. However, for an extra robust structure, I used some PVA glue dotted along the edges of eachbox piece before assembly.