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Storage Boxes Made Out of Cardboard and 3D Printed Parts (Update 2019-08-05)

Picture of Storage Boxes Made Out of Cardboard and 3D Printed Parts (Update 2019-08-05)

Storage Boxes made out of Cardboard and 3D Printed Parts

The Change Log can be found in the last step.

Status quo:

There is a lot of chaos in my office. Nearly all surfaces are covered with stuff. Of course, I have some cabinets and drawers, but even they are fully filled with different things. It is not uncommon that I have to outsource stuff to the floor because there is no free space left.

It happens quite often that I'm looking for a specific piece (e.g. servo motor) and even after days it's still missing. Lost in chaos. Some days or weeks later ... ahhh ... there it was.


So a cleanup and a reorganization is really necessary.

My Cardboard Tube Cabinet (In the meantime it moved from the kids' room to my office, because with the three drawers it can not store enough toys for my kids) is little more than a drop in the bucket. Only a few and lightweight objects can be stored inside the three drawers.

There is another cabinet made out of wood in my room. This cabinet has some potential, but it's wasted because of its five big single compartments. There is no separation inside the drawers.

So it would be a good idea and really helpful to create some storage boxes for these drawers.

My Solution:

Buying boxes is boring and not always possible because I need boxes with not-standardized dimensions. So this is not an option for me. Building a box is key. Of course, there are a ton of ways out there to build a box.

Here you can see what I decided and why:

If you know my other projects (1,2,3) you guess which material I used. => Cardboard! ♥

The easiest option to create boxes is by folding them.

  1. But therefore you need a big single piece of cardboard.
  2. Folding a box have to be very accurate to fit in the drawers and on top of each other. Because of the corrugation of the cardboard, that can be hard to achieve.

Nothing is impossible, but this whole projects should have to theme "After-work-brain-off-create-some-boxes". In general yes to folding, but not in this project.

To cut out the different parts of a box from cardboard and bring them together is the second option. Way easier than folding, but how to bring them together? Only Gluing, maybe with hot glue ... hmm ... not really.

After some brainstorming, I decided to use an easy Plug-In-System printed on my 3D printer.

These parts from the 3D printer allow easy installation and have even more benefits:

  • additional stability and edge protection
  • additional features can be easily created and added:
    • stacking the boxes
    • interchangeable labeling of the boxes

Let's go!

In this Instructables I want to show you - How to built Storage Boxes made out of Cardboard and 3D Printed Parts.

Step 1: Tools, Materials and Software

Picture of Tools, Materials and Software

Tools, Materials and Software

  • Cutting Mat
  • Rulers
  • Cutter
  • Pencil, markers
  • Solvent-containing adhesives (UHU HART)
  • 3D Printer (not on the picture)



It is a good technique to use stackable boxes that create more space without taking up as much room. However, if you are experiencing space constraints on a daily basis until the extent of having to utilize the floor space, then perhaps you need to do something about your desk clutter. Discuss with your management on how to better archive documents and so on to create a healthy work environment.
theguymasamato (author)  ChristopherJames4 months ago
Hey, thanks.
Yes you're right. But a cleanup weekend would solve most of my problems. :)
mlduffy4 months ago
will have to give this a try; I like how it is independent of dimension so I could always give it a go with some luan (have a ton of scrap) and my ikea shelves/expedite.
theguymasamato (author)  mlduffy4 months ago
Thanks a lot.
If you create something, I would like to see your solution/result. Please share it.
OFSBilisim4 months ago
Perfect idea can be taught perfect thanks
DeadlyDad4 months ago
That looks like a good solution. One thing that you can do to make the glue attachment stronger is to insert a dovetail slot into the gluing surfaces. That way there will be a mechanical lock to prevent the glue from separating from the plastic surface. Likewise, flaring the bottom of the slots that the cardboard slides into, then making sure that the glue goes into said flares will mechanically lock the cardboard in place.
theguymasamato (author)  DeadlyDad4 months ago
Hi DeadlyDad,
thanks for your comment.
It is an interesting idea.
Would you insert the dovetail slot in the blue area (picture)? Or do I misunderstand something?
Yes. Also on the flat area that the box bottom would rest on. (...or at least flared holes. The idea is that the glue will hold *very* well to the cardboard, but not so well to the plastic, so by adding a dovetail slot/flared hole, the solidified glue in said dovetail slot/hole will hold the cardboard in place even if it doesn't stick to the plastic at *all*.
theguymasamato (author)  DeadlyDad4 months ago
I like your idea. Thanks for sharing.
If I will create a Version 2 of this system, I will definitely implement it.
Tsu Dho Nimh4 months ago
Nice. These could be adapted to hold dividers in a drawer

If you want longer-lasting boxes, or to store heavier stuff, use 1/8in (3.2mm?) masonite or hardboard.
theguymasamato (author)  Tsu Dho Nimh4 months ago
Thank you.
Yes you're right.
I tried it with MDF. As you already mentioned MDF / HDF have a thickness of 3.1-3.2mm.
This will not fit into the current design, because its only 3mm wide.
So a little adaption is necessary.
aaronfish4 months ago
Ok I like it, but one question, what's that center bit for? Only use I can picture is that it would discourage the middle from sagging a bit over time but maybe I'm missing something?
theguymasamato (author)  aaronfish4 months ago
Hey aaronfish, hey chgowiz,
you answered your question already. :)
It is a little stabilizer for the bottom to protect it from sagging. Because we are working with cardboard this can happen really soon, if you store heavier objects.
I've updated the picture in the "Design Step" with this information.
chgowiz aaronfish4 months ago
Came here for that exact same question.
SandraN304 months ago
Parabéns, ficou muito bacana.
theguymasamato (author)  SandraN304 months ago
Muito obrigado
hugheswho4 months ago
Excellent idea. Excellent instructable
theguymasamato (author)  hugheswho4 months ago
Thank you very much