A modern take on T. Jefferson's book boxes

Okay, I have some one-dozen film boxes which are over 42" long, and filled with paperback books which have not been unpacked in over 20 years.

(remember the correct translation of “too many books” is “not enough bookshelves”)

So we need to work up a design for a book box/shelf which is suited to both storage and moving of the books in question.

Some parameters:

  • should fit in a paper box or similarly sized and easily sourced box so that they can be carried and moved easily
  • paperbacks only (will make the file parametric of course, but it has to work for paperbacks)
  • stackable both for use, and if possible nesting two so that no lid is needed if not placing them in a box when moving
  • made from inexpensive material
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Okay, working on this we have:

so now it’s just a matter of laying out the parts so that they can be efficiently cut.

Which would seem to be:

Next up is generating the DXF which will require 3 views:

  • square endmill cuts to make the 90 degree cuts
  • V endmill cuts along the X axis
  • V endmill cuts along the Y axis

The square cuts are straightforward, since unambiguous:

While the V cuts require rotated versions of some modules:


(These have to be emitted separately so that the depth will be consistent and the corners right angles rather than rounded as will happen if they are unioned)

For folks who are curious the BlockSCAD file is at:


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One issue when importing elements formed from really large circles is that even with a very large number of segments used for describing the circle one will have a faceted appearance:

The solution is to draw in geometry to allow one to position nodes so as to smooth out the curve in question:

Then if need be, export as an SVG and import into the other file.

A further optimization if need be is to adjust the outer path so as to remove unnecessary tool movements:


Now I just have to make … (well, I don’t really want to tally that up just yet — remember, the correct translation of “too many books” is "not enough bookshelves) — instead I’m going to work up a file for a half-size variant, so that one could make a rectangular stack as if with bricks.

It fits nicely into a paperbox, leaving room for a second, with room for padding (or other books) on top of or beneath it, so the moving aspect should work well.

Here are 3 files for cutting it (slightly modified from when I cut, but should still work) from Lauan plywood sheets used for underlayment and readily available in inexpensive 2x4 sheets at any lumber yard. Splinters when cutting, hence the modification, but workable and inexpensive enough.

jeffersonbookbox.zip (47.8 KB)

(note that the files are in CC5 format)


You might hit that left side with some sandpaper (thought I saw a blemish)… otherwise… :+1:

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