Press Fit Construction

The Assignment

Design, make, and document a press-fit construction kit.

The Idea

I collect books and recently obtained some 2nd edition Voltaires from circa 1763, and have been looking for a way to store/preserve them.

Book Collection Book Collection

According to the Library of Congress , the best way to protect books is to:

  • Keep the books in a cool, dry, clean, and stable environment
  • Prevent exposure to all kinds of light
  • Protect the books from dust
  • Store the books lying flat
  • The Design

    I decided to design custom press-fit boxes to store each book individually, thus protecting them from the elements. To design the box I initially used Inkscape, which really is sufficient for this type of 2D design, but then switched to Corel Draw when I started to experience issues when editing the size of the joints. The material used was card board as it is inexpensive and generally very forgiving.

    Each book measures 6.75" long, 4.75" wide, and 1" tall, so I decided to make the dimensions of the box 7"x5"x1.25" to account for the width of the cardboard.

    After doing some research, I decided to use finger joints when making my box. These are pretty standard for this type of design, and ensure a tight fit between the material.

    Problems Encountered

    When designing my box, I had decided not to use chamfers, thinking that it would create a tighter fit, which it did, but I believe the only reason the box worked without the chamfers was because the cardboard was so forgiving. When I remake my design with a different, less pliable material, I will probably need to include chamfers so that the joints are easier to connect.

    Laser Cutting Finished Box

    Ultimately, I plan to recreate my design in acrylic to protect the books/paper from acids that would migrate from other media, such as wood or the cardboard.