Final Project Report 1: Laser Cut and Etched Nightstand

How the Idea Came About

Things I wanted my design to revolve around:

  • Furniture
  • Laser cut and etched design
  • Something resembling a circuit board design
  • Wood

Things I needed to refine:

  • What type of furniture
  • What style of furniture
  • The exact etching design

Initial Prototype

To help narrow down my design I created a quick prototype.


Things I Learned

  • Raster etching would take far too long for a full project
  • A desk was out of reach due to the laser cutter bed size
  • I liked the random design look but would prefer a bit more uniformity

Deciding on Materials

The majority of my material decisions came from the laser cutter restrictions. I wanted to stay under 100$. After cost and usability research I chose the following:

  • ¼” Birch Plywood – 50$
  • Standard 2×4’s – 8$
  • Construction Screws – 10$
  • 14” Drawer Slides – 15$
  • A Drawer Handle – 10$

Total – 93$

CAD Mockup

Now that I knew my material dimensions, I created a mockup on Rhino 3D.

  • The original design was made to be 20”x20”x20” but due to the cutting bed size I changed it to 17”x17”x20”
  • I decided on a post-modern design that would go well with the laser cut design


Cut Designs

From the 3D mockup, I now knew the plywood dimensions

  • I started off with a design resembling my prototype
  • I then created an array with each of the nodes
  • The nodes were then connected to each other with 5 different lines
  • I went through and randomly deleted a few lines for each block


Final Cut Design

Final Design

The Cutting Process

  • The raw materials were too big for the laser cutter so I did a lot of cutting with a table saw
  • Once the plywood was to size, the laser cutter was used to etch and cut the pieces
  • I vector etched everything instead of raster etching (lines instead of areas)
  • The laser cutting took about an hour total


The Assembly Process

  • Everything was connected with 1 ¼” inch construction screws
  • The process went fairly smooth except for some warping in the wood and a screw breaking inside a 2×4
  • The most time intensive part of the project was attaching the drawer


The Completed Project

  • Overall, I’m very happy with how my project turned out
  • The drawer works great
  • Only major problem is one screw got stuck so there is a small hole on the top of the table
  • Future improvements would be to stain and finish the wood
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1 Comment. Leave new

  • Dean Alibrandi
    May 2, 2017 8:29 pm

    Kyle I remember seeing your nightstand at expo and thought it was very unique and well built. The overall circuit board design it has is very very cool and a one of a kind pattern. I really like how it is not just painted on but actually laser etched in, it adds a very mechanic feeling to the overall project. Additionally I like the look of the construction screws and how evenly they are spaced out. Typically in furniture building the idea is to “hide” all the screw heads from showing but I think it looks great especially the way you laid them out. Great work !!


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