Beta project - seven (Acrylic Stacking Boxes with Living Hinge)
Posted by
jkopel
 
Joined Sep 29, '15 

Next up… stacking boxes.
I wanted to make these as storage for my wife who has never met a writing implement she does not like. I only made two for now, but eventually will make more.

The goal was to make several shallow boxes that would each hold a reasonable handful of items, would stack on top of each other and ,most importantly, would be “roundy rectangles”.
They also had to be cuttable from one sheet of the ⅛” thick acrylic I have.

The size was a fairly big constraint, since I wanted the boxes to be 6” long and 2-½” wide. While the average size of an adult unsharpened pencil is 7.5”, I was just looking to fit smaller pens and mechanical pencils. The plastic I have is about 19” X 8”, so I could not make the sides as one long strip with hinges. Instead I went with two separate almost symmetrical sides, a bottom piece that fits inside, and a small “lip” that encircles the top. There are 4 half round feet that also act as tabs to keep the boxes together when they are stacked up.

The plans ended up looking like:


Let me just say, that what you see there is the result of many iterations, first in cardboard and then in plastic.

I have not made living hinges before, and I spent some time reading this amazing write-up


It seems I was pushing the envelope for acrylic (and wood as I later discovered) by trying to get such short 90 degree bends. It works, but I had to do quite a bit of experimenting to find a hinge configuration that did not just snap. Acrylic is a very unforgiving material (at least when cold), push it just a hair too far and crack, that hinge is gone.

They turned out pretty well I think, although my plastic craft still needs a lot of refinement (like not getting solvent all over the surface). I also need a better way to make the stacking thing work. The round feet under them that are supposed to fit inside the next one down are OK, but the insertion force required is a bit nerve wracking. A little more engineering might help there.





Finally I thought it would very pretty to have a wooden one that I could mix in, but the wood spirits were not with me. The thin maple I tried simple falls apart when the hinge is so small and the cuts are so close together. I think maybe ⅛” plywood might survive, but I don’t have any to test with.

It would have been a lot easier had I scaled them up by 10-15%, so I may try some larger ones at some point.


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