I think this would be a great idea for BlockSCAD/OpenSCAD @WillAdams… Rockler currently sells specialized dado stack that allows you any piece of panel good into a box just by making 4 cuts on your table saw.
This is highly desirable from a production time standpoint as well as being able to achieve continuous grain on the outside of the box on ALL of the sides. However, the parametrics behind making this a “design by numbers” model are beyond my proficiencies in design software at the moment so i thought I would throw this idea out here and see if anyone wanted to take a shot at making it.
Next we need to model the V endmill and determine how deeply it should cut at and how much material to leave (probably need another variable for that latter dimension — the plywood I’m using has a skin thickness of 0.025in so we’ll roll with that). Offsets are by the radius of the endmill.
We make a module with appropriate inputs and use it to make the first cut:
Well if you leave the onion skin on the outside, there is very little shifting when you clamp together. I agree that a locking joint is better/stronger but you can get the continuous grain look very simply.
In discussing this on Reddit had the following thought:
… I suspect the best thing to do for a given lot of lumber would be to do a series of test cuts.
Which is kind of annoying, since probably the folding would work better along the grain than at right angles…
But that raises an interesting idea — why not make such a box with the plywood oriented at 45 degrees — the wood grain at the fold/joint would then be consistent, and I think you’d get an interesting visual appearance, esp. if the base of the box was square.
To expand on that — does the geometry work out if you splayed the box out, or brought it in to make a vessel which was narrower at the top than at the bottom? I’m think it wouldn’t — you should need to model the angles and adjust them to match the angle of incidence of the folds/joinery — but doing so (I guess you’d need a 3D model of the angle and to use a very pointy tapered endmill with a ball tip) would be a an interesting extension to the project.
If anyone wants to try this and has a suitable piece of stock they’re willing to sacrifice in testing (and a suitably pointy endmill) I’ll gladly try to work up a test file — it’ll probably have to be exported as an STL with CAM done in MeshCAM or something similar.