Contemplating an ENORMOUS tabbed box

… otherwise known as a dresser


  • Fits within the constraints of the Nova 35 (35.4″ x 23.6″)
  • 5mm plywood construction
  • Vertical structural elements 2x layers of plywood
  • Horizontal structure 3x layers of plywood
  • Drawer pan single layer of plywood with 3x strongbacks across short dimension
  • Top reinforced by a strongback across the long dimension

Ideal world it will take just shy of 3 sheets of plywood; with 35% waste 4 sheets.

Clearly, the tri-ply we all love and hate is going to be a challenging medium at this scale - it’s rarely properly flat and this only gets worse with time. I’ll want to laminate structural elements together, which will present additional challenges.

If I can actually get this thing together successfully my sense is that it will be adequately strong.


Why not just cut the pieces full thickness on the cnc?

Not certified, would need an entirely different design, the software for the multicam makes me want to kick puppies, want to see if this is practical.


I would think the lamination would greatly help to reduce/eliminate the warping. I would advise adding 4 small diameter holes near the corners of panel layers to be used for registration pins. This will allow you to more easily line everything up when you do your lamination setup/clamping.

Put pins in bottom layer, roll glue out, drop next layer in place using the pins to line up, repeat as needed. Then add clamps or weights and let the assembly dry.


I would think so too. My main concern is that it not be warped during cutting and assembly. The larger the pieces I’ve cut, the more significant the warping and its unwanted effect on accuracy.

Good plan. The main area of cosmetic concern for me is the top, which I would like to be reasonably smooth.

Use hardwood dowels for registration pins, then cut flush? Can make it a design element or something. :sweat_smile:

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There’s an idea. As this thread should illustrate, I’m no woodworker.

I’m wondering why you would make a piece of furniture that large out of flimsy material then spend the time an effort to reinforce it for durability? You’ve mention the Multicam software being a problem for not using the CNC, if it’s Aspire that’s giving you fits I could help you there.

As for the end result, unless you just like building things that cost a lot you might want to look at Ikea…


31 1/2 "
18 7/8 "
30 3/4 "


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Got one of those sitting in front of me right now, and like nearly all things particle board it’s not wearing gracefully.

Good to hear that DMS has moved on from vcarve and its trrbl workflow (I still want to kick puppies thinking about that application, however the nearest puppy is >70lb and just might sever my foot for such an indignity). However, since we’ve apparently changed software that means I need to re-take the class; my availability and class availability might align this year.

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Sort of…both are from Vectric:

For the most part, I suspect all of their products look-n-feel pretty much the same. In fact, I am willing to bet they are all the same code base, with cheaper versions just being crippled/feature sub-set versions of full-fledged total-feature offering (Aspire Pro).

The point being that your Vcarve mastery is not wasted in this situation. Also, Vcarve (Pro) is still available on jump server and I believe will still work/communicate with the Multicam. In fact, if Aspire is the “official” DMS owned and provisioned Multicam software, I do not recall seeing any notice thereof…

If they are wearing fuzzy slippers and sliding down rainbows with Unicorns shitting skittles, then I’m in! I need a good physical activity to get me moving for this year’s Intra-Holiday week …

I’d not go so far as to describe it as ‘mastery’ since I struggled for several hours over several days to get it to not mangle my design then lost interest. Maybe if I was one of the cool kids using ProE or Fusion or Inventor it would take those apps’ design files more gracefully than DWG/DXF.

Regardless, I’m not interested in the multicam route. If someone else wants to take that route my design is effectively complete - save for the drawer slide interface - and they can have a copy to modify.

Or, design the box joints so that one tab on each corner is extra long with a hole through it. Cut out, glue/stack up (using the hole for registration), then trim the long pin with a Japanese Dozuki pull saw after assembly. Sand flush.

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If I took that approach I could even pre-notch the cutaway tabs for easy removal - an interesting consideration for something that demands a more finished appearance.

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You are making this unnecessarily complex and I think it’s a mistake to dismiss the Multicam.

You can make this quite easily with 18mm plywood with dadoes and rabbets on the Multicam. Very few puppies need be injured in the process.

All that tabbed joinery is unnecessary.


I agree with Matt that this is unnecessary but I won’t stop you if it’s a “challenge accepted” thing. V-carve is like the MS Word of CAM programs, it’s actually pretty easy once you get use to the workflow. We still have a Fusion 360 multicam post you can use. I would be more than happy to test you out once we get an online class posted.

I mainly worry about the Thunderlasers going out of wack and continuous burning of plywood, it’ll be a nightmare loop of cleaning the lens and leveling the table, squaring the gantry. Also Lightburn will probably save you time over RDWorks.

What about plasma cutting this out of 10 gauge steel and welding it, that dresser will last millennia.

I expect it will mostly be an exercise in tedium, something DMS members ought well be familiar with.

But hey, nothing like stating “I specifically want to do A and have designed a solution for A” and getting a lot of “no, you should do B” responses.

I recall it wouldn’t consistently import .DWG/.DXF, building up the toolpaths felt like trying to paint a scale model with a pair of welding gloves on, and the most puppy-kicking thing was the simulation dismally failed to inspire confidence: it would either never do the same thing twice or fail to do things it had explicitly been told to do.

What the FUD is this about?

Do you also stay awake at night worrying about the CNC router not maintaining consistent RPMs or the vacuum table failing?

My main concern with cutting on this project is finding flat enough plywood so the cutting is more precise.

RDWorks sux and Lightburn has been the supported app for some time now.

“I specifically want to do A and have designed a solution for A”
“Nah, you should do B C instead”

Yeah, my first piece of advice to any CNC user is that it will do exactly and precisely what you tell it to do, but doesn’t care a flying flip about what you intended or thought you told it to do.

Don’t know about Mitch, but for me:
RPM’s … No
Vac Table … Possibly guilty on that one. Depends on how expensive or irreplaceable the material might be!

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