Shelves for me locker!
All my life I’ve been a fairly “disorganized” person, meaning, I have my own system of organization, which is to say that I leave things laying around, cluttering my desk, stuffed into drawers, on the floor or any flat surface. But, I almost always know where things are. When I was a kid in public school I had a tiny desk that got filled by returned homework, doodles, writing supplies, etc, within the first few weeks. At the end of the school term we had to empty our desks out– wonders and terrors emerged from what my mom dubbed, The Bermuda Triangle. That particular system no longer works for me. So I have a designated junk surface in my room, and everything else is fairly neat and tidy. It helps that I got rid of huge amounts of excess stuff by recycling, donating, re-purposing, and at the worst, dumping.
During the summer I was trying to figure out the best way to organize the huge amount of stuff I had at ITP into the three small personal storage spaces allotted to each student. There’s my toolbox (which I found on the street and quickly outgrew), there’s my blue bin on the rolling shelves (also outgrown), and my locker. I like to keep valuable things in my locker, like my multimeter, ATX power supply, Arduino, PhysComp kit, books, etc. One day, while I was removing the contents of my locker for redistribution and reorganization, Ariel Nevarez showed me the inside of his locker. He had purchased a small shelving unit from Ikea that fit perfectly onto the back surface of the locker, hanging there by two screws that fit into two holes. Perfect.
So, with an idea in my head, last week I made shelves for my locker using the laser cutter.
It wasn’t as hard as I expected. First I measured the locker– depth, height, width, distance between holes on back surface, distance between each hole and nearest side, distance between holes and ceiling and floor. I forgot to measure the size of the locker’s opening, which could have been a problem, but wasn’t (lucky me!). Using Illustrator, I used the line tool to make the dimensions of each component: a back surface, two brackets to support the shelves, and three shelves. The back surface and brackets are joined using a box joint (or the make-it-work-for-the-laser-cutter joint, as Andrew Buckland pointed out). The top shelf is simply laid on top, and the two smaller shelves slide onto the brackets using interlocking joints. Everything had to match up distance/dimension-wise. In Illustrator, the snapping and measuring systems helped immensely. I’ve never made anything so precise and had it work.
I applied glue to the box joint and clamped it so it would stay together and be more sturdy. It holds a fair amount of weight. I like modular structures, so having the option of using or not using each of the three shelves was key.
If you want to make your own, here’s the downloadable .pdf (wordpress won’t let me upload an .ai file): shelves
Here are instructions for how to build it:
0. Get a piece of 1/8″ thick masonite with minimum dimensions 18″ x 26″. Try to get one that’s not warped, and if it’s even 1/32″ wider than 18″ shave it down or it won’t fit in the laser bed. The bed is 32″ long, so make sure the masonite doesn’t exceed that length.
1. Download the shelf.pdf and change it in Illustrator if you want. If you change it, make sure you know the parameters assigned by AMS. Get the pieces cut at the AMS or another laser lab.
2. Check to make sure all the pieces fit together, which shouldn’t be a problem because the laser is so precise, and the file is accurate. This build works in such a way that you can see that all the pieces fit without having to glue them. The two small shelves hold the structure together.
3. Glue the brackets to the back piece. The back piece is the one with boxy edges and two small holes in the surface. The brackets are identical, but make sure you glue them in the correct orientation in relation to the back surface or the holes will be too low and you won’t have any space on the top shelf. The holes are towards the top, as are the arms of the brackets. Don’t use too much glue, and only apply glue to one component (either the back piece OR the bracket). Wipe off any excess glue that squeezes out of the joint. Notice which surfaces of the joint fits together; those are the parts you want to apply glue to. Clamp the piece as in the photo below, covering as much surface area of the edge of the joint as possible. Make sure the relationship of the bracket to the back piece is 90 degrees, or the smaller shelves won’t interlock well and the box joint won’t be sturdy. Leave it for 30 minutes, then do the other bracket. It’s best to leave the whole thing to dry overnight, but I got impatient when I made it and waited just an hour. If you’re impatient too, move to the next step.
4. Try out the smaller shelves. Each one should fit into either set of slots. Make sure the top sits well. The top is optional to glue down. There are a few pieces I didn’t realize I’d need until I was in the build– supports for the joints, pictured with the screws in step 5. I made these with the jigsaw (sorry they’re not included in the original .ai file). They’re roughly 1/4″ x 1/4″ x 3″, and they go on the inside of the back piece/bracket joint towards the top. Glue and clamp these to make the joint more secure.
5. Cut small square or round pieces out of 1/8″ thick masonite or another material (sorry these also weren’t included in the original file). These will secure the small screws that will be inserted into the back piece. The heads of the screws will go into the holes at the back of the locker, and the whole shelf system will hang off these screws. Find two screws with threaded shafts no longer than 3/8″, and about 3/16″ wide, as shown below. Test the heads in the holes at the back of your locker. The ones I used are flat on the underside, which catch the hole better. Drill a 1/8″ wide hole a little more than halfway through the rough surface of the masonite squares– don’t go all the way through. Decide if you want the rough side of the back piece facing out or not. Screw one of the screws through one of the holes in the back piece until the tip comes through just enough that you can feel it with your finger. Apply glue to the rough surface of the squares, making sure to get inside the hole. Place one of the squares onto the screw until you feel the tip of the screw go into the hole you drilled into the square. Using a hand-held screwdriver, turn the screw while putting pressure on the square, until the head of the screw is almost flush with the masonite. Putting pressure on the square while screwing will help squeeze the two surfaces together, bonding them well, making it less likely that the screws will get ripped out by the weight of the shelves or the crap you put on them. Repeat with the other screw and square. (the red splotch is blood!)
6. Take all your crap out of your locker. Put the shelf in and get the heads of the screws through the holes in the back. This takes some maneuvering.
8. Put all your crap back in.
*** When I got my locker in the summer, I chose 202 because it was near the Pcomp lab, and because my first classroom (kindergarten) was room 202. When I opened it, there was a little note as pictured below.
Jorge Just told me it belonged to Cheryl Furjanic. Apparently she left good karma for me. I will leave my shelf for the next ITPeep.