Quick, super simple, easy to assemble cnc box

I know this is nothing new, but for those that haven’t considered it- this is the easiest way I have found to make quick boxes. They don’t have the artistic flare of specialty dovetailing but for a simple easy to assemble box they can’t be beat and can be cut completely on the cnc.

Here’s a batch of six or seven boxes. Cut was about 1 1/2 hrs.

After cutting I use the orbital to quickly clean up the edges (about a minute or two per box.) Then they are ready to glue.

I mostly use the strap clamp, which works pretty well because of the design the box isn’t trying to slip around.

After the glue is set I clean up the faces on the belt sander, then round the edges on my router table and finish up with the flap sander. It takes less than ten minutes of labor to make each box.


Very nice :+1:

good clean box. nice how to

Outstanding! I actually prefer a simple joint rather than dovetails. Do you have a template/formula, or do you design from scratch each time? I’m obviously looking for a shortcut to keep from having to do higher math.

Lol, no higher math required just some critical thinking. I would think there would be an app or tool, but I don’t know what it is. I have only designed this one box, but it’s pretty simple when you have the concept.

You just need to decide on the inside dimensions and choose your material. With that info you will no how much you need to extend your long pieces and how deep for the notch. I am using 1/2" material so my notches are 1/4".

I’m not sure of the people that might know of an app except maybe @PhilJohnson. This style certainly lends itself to an app since it’s simple math. In fact @paulkaplan could add it to Easel. Personally I think its far easier and looks far better than the current box app with the cluncky dog bones.

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Worked up a similar design w/ a hinged lid a while back:


See, now there you go. No higher math you say, then you start talking about going from 1/2" to 1/4". Gotta be calculus at least!
Agree that it calls for an app. That’s sorta what I was hoping for, just didn’t remember seeing one anywhere.

Easel has a box app.

Now that’s a CNC box! No 2D mentality!

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Yeah, and it’s fine for what it is, but I think the dog bones are ugly and it’s in general more difficult to fit together and clamp.

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There is at least one rabbeted box app, but it’s for Carbide Create which is specific to the Shapeoko 3 and Nomad sold by Carbide 3D.

There is a list of it and other apps at:


I’d thought my writeup was straight-forward enough that it could be adapted to other sizes — currently working on a technique to make it a bit more straight-forward.

Rabbet! I was trying to remember the joint name! :blush: Thanks!

I use VCarve and I am not familiar with any of those services, and your earlier link didn’t take me to a functioning page, but you are right it could be easily explained or modified to an app.

Luckily I don’t do custom work so I only had to spend an hour or saying laying out this project and then it’s done and I just cut a panel when I need a few.

Looks great @JosephCompton,

What wood are you using there? (Are you buying it in a sheet like that or gluing it up?)
Are you making lids with those?

Thanks Tim. I make these out of 1/2" hard maple panels I have my wood supplier glue up for me.

These boxes don’t have lids as they are just holders for another product, but it would be easy to do a lid.

I could either make a matching top and glue the whole thing up solid and then use the bandsaw or table saw to cut off the top and then add hinges and a hasp, or I could design a sliding lid that could still be cut completely on the CNC by adding grooves in the sides.

I had a lady ask me to make some small boxes for her, this really seems like the way to go for me. The more work the cnc can do the better.

I’ll have to hunt around to see if I can find some preglued panels around. I can only find pine ones with lots of knots in them.

Thanks again for the post.

No problem. Yeah, that’s why we bought CNC machines. :blush:

As far as the panels some of the people on the forum talk about buying good hardwood panels at local box stores, but this seems to be a hit or miss thing. I would also look into lumber yards, not chains, but retailers that deal directly with mills. They have a different process but can be much cheaper and can make custom panels.

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A simple lid could be a copy of the bottom with a screw hole for a knob handle, as long as the use allowed for it and gravity was enough.

Even a simple hole in the lid to allow removal with a finger would be a simple stackable box with lid

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Those are good ideas. Cutting holes in the top makes me think Shape Sorter. I just might have to try that for son.

Also, I’ll be designing a box for a new product that will have partitions, again everything will be cut on the machine, so I’m excited to see how that works out.

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Hi Joseph
I like your clean boxes
Do you want to share your drawing please

Kristian / Sweden

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