Material Choices – Cabinet Comparison

It occurred to me that it would be a good idea to keep track of costs while planning future furniture pieces. After I calculated the cost of materials for making an end table, I realized it would be quite expensive to make and I re-visited my floor plan to be sure I had enough space. I saw that I did not and cancelled production. After having that experience, I decided to calculate costs of printing another cabinet.

61B+24TxeaL._AC_SL1200_My design will produce a cabinet measuring about 19″ in width, 11″ in depth, and 27 1/4″ in height. Two design variations include 2″ adjustable feet, available on Amazon at $14.99 for a pack of 4. I usually buy wood boards and plywood from Home Depot; therefore all wood prices are Home Depot online prices. I am concerned about out-gassing; thus, I use PLA filament. Prices for filament amounts are based upon PLA/PHA filament at $39.99 per 750 grams. The costs below are for making 1 cabinet. The purpose of the second cabinet is to show the interior.

All 3D Printed

3D printed cabinet

Filament: 6110 grams; 9 spools – $360

Wood Dowels: 3/8 inch oak; 36″ length-
70 – $95

Total: $455

(All amounts are approximate)

3D Print & Wood

Maple plywood cabinet with 3d printed parts Filament: 1552 grams; 3 spools – $120
Wood Dowels: 3/8 inch oak; 36″ length; 20 – $27
PureBond Plywood:
Maple Plywood Project Panel; 2 – 3/4″ x 2′ x 4′ – $32
Walnut Plywood Project Panel; 2 – 1/4″ x 2′ x 4′ – $43

Adjustable feet: $15
Wood Screws: Stainless Steel Flathead: $9

Total: $246

(Delivery and handling of wood not included)

(All amounts are approximate)

All Wood

Wood cabinet Filament: 84 grams; 1 spool – $40

PureBond Plywood:
Hickory Plywood Project Panel; 1 – 3/4″ x 2′ x 4′ – $33
Hickory Plywood Project Panel; 1 – 1/4″ x 2′ x 4′ – $23
Poplar Plywood Project Panel; 2 – 3/4″ x 2′ x 4′ – $48
Poplar Plywood Project Panel; 1 – 1/2″ x 2′ x 4′ – $23
Hinges: Soft close – $47

Adjustable feet: $15
Wood Screws: Stainless Steel Flathead – $9
Real Wood Veneer Edgebanding: $10

Total: $208

(Delivery and handling of wood not included)

(All amounts are approximate)

I ordered Purebond from Home Depot in 2018, to make a printer enclosure. I paid $35 in 2018 to have five 1/2″ x 24″ x 24″ sheets of plywood delivered. I followed instructions for requesting a free single cut, but the wood was not cut as requested. I used the tools I had to cut the wood to the best of my ability. The process for requesting cuts may have improved, well, that is my hope.

In addition to the delivery fee, I would need to lease a car to bring the wood back and forth from a wood shop, if it has not been cut according to my instructions, adding approximately $100 to my costs. My total costs for making the wood versions would be $381 and $343. Wood it is! I really was not looking forward to struggling with the details of the accordion doors on the All Pla cabinet. I’ll leave that until next year and another project. Now, I just need to figure out if walnut or hickory fits my design scheme.

Cabinet Project, Part 4

DSCN2746The 3D printed cabinet I designed almost 2 years ago is now a reality. When I struggled to finish printing parts on my RepRap Prusa I3 printer, a voice inside me said, “You are not going to be able to finish this.” I refused to listen to that voice. I struggled to find a way to print level, wide, flat parts. After months of trying, when nothing worked, I bought a different 3D printer, a Creality3D CR-10 Mini. I had a bit of a struggle with that one too in the beginning, but I was able to work things out and finish printing all the parts.

DSCN2738The cabinet measures 19″ in width, 11″ in depth, and 27 1/4″ in height (without casters). I used PLA/PHA natural and light green filaments by 3D Printlife, exclusively, to print the cabinet. My experience with table brackets and my hamper stool has shown me that PLA/PHA works well with wood. It has the strength and pliability to handle the contractions and expansion of pine wood under moist and dry conditions.

DSCN2741The cabinet was constructed in what I have termed wood channel style. Small diameter hardwood dowels align individual pieces by filling cavities. Wood channel style reduces the need for hardware, filament amounts, and printing time.

This is the first iteration of the cabinet. Hopefully, I will have completed a second iteration in a couple of months. A list of past cabinet posts follows as well as renders of how the cabinet would look in other PLA/PHA colors.

Previous Posts

Cabinet Project, Part 1
Cabinet Project, Part 2
Cabinet Project, Part 3

Renders of Cabinets in other PLA/PHA colors

Render of 3D printed cabinet in Rose Quartz

Rose Quartz

Render of 3D printed cabinet by Sandra James


Render of 3D printed cabinet by Sandra James

Sky Blue & Carbon

Cabinet Project, Part 3

3D print cabinet renderThe bottom portion and a few side pieces of a cabinet smaller than the one shown in the render above has been printed. I decided to decrease the depth by removing the center parts for this first project. I was considering reducing the height as well, but I decided it was not worth making if I did not have the height I wanted.

Cabinet project partsThe photograph to the left shows just two of the 4 dowels needed to align the sides. The side dowels are missing as well. I need to decide if I will use regular dowels and clean out the holes or cut pieces from the long oak wood dowel pieces. One thing is certain. I will need to glue all the dowels. My confidence about excluding hardware has increased. I am pretty sure I will not need screws beyond those to attach the wheels.

Why has it taken so long since my last project post to get to this point? Well, if you are interested in learning about the trials and tribulations of owning a RepRap Prusa i3 printer, I can chronicle my experience in blog posts. I will make the effort if it will be useful. At this point, if someone asked me what is the best 3d printer to buy under $1,000, I could not give that person an answer. I have researched buying a different printer, but I always come back to tinkering with the one I have. Yet, I can not recommend buying one as a first printer. As I write this, I am thinking that creating my own pros and cons list might be helpful. I will give it some more thought.

I will post again when the project is finished.

Cabinet Project, Part 2

cabinet blue green cropAs I looked at the renders of the TV stand, I found that I did not want to have the square wood dowels showing when the door is opened.  After making the small table using regular PLA filament, I thought PLA/PHA filament should be able to handle 25 pounds per shelf and a total of 100 pounds altogether as a piece of furniture. I need to test this before I put my television on top. The rendered photograph at the top shows the altered design for a cabinet. I will concentrate on making a TV stand after I have printed a couple of cabinets.

DSCN1887(1)I have already printed the bottom front part corner of the cabinet. I printed one center part, but one of the corners did not adhere to the build plate well and the part did not print properly. A second attempt at printing the part failed too when filament became jammed in the throat of the printer.

Something else I did not consider initially is that I really need mobile pieces. The cabinet must have wheels. I attached wheels to the bottom of the print with the misshapen corners and removed them. The 30% fill I used for the print was sufficient to hold the 1/2″ wood screws I used.DSCN1892

After thinking about the wheels overnight, I realized that they need to be closer to the corner as the doors are likely to cause the cabinet to fall forward. Consequently, I must make the bottom of the print thicker as I will have more substantial wheels than the ones I used for testing to support the cabinet permanently.  This means too that I must reprint the bottom front corner again. That’s okay though because I wanted to reduce the printing time anyway. It required 18 hours to print and I do not like to have my printer running while I’m sleeping.

I will post again after I have printed the entire bottom portion and attached the wheels.

3D Print TV Stand/Cabinet Project

cabinet tv 1My October to November project is a TV stand/cabinet. I plan to make several similar cabinets to create a clean look in my small living room. I have modeled all of the 3D parts for printing. I may make adjustments to the design, such as adding dowels in the middle, but I won’t determine that until I print all of the bottom parts. I plan to print the bottom first and move up the sides.cabinet tv 3 2

The top of the cabinet will be 45” x 12” x ¾” Oak. There will be four 1” x 2” square wood dowels on the corners; 31 ¼ length. I will attach four steel furniture legs to the bottom. I checked the Sagulator and using the 45″ length is okay for my 22 lb. television.

Inspired by a short film I saw about Japanese furniture making, I have designed this project to use as little hardware as possible. There will be ¼” round wood dowels crossing throughout the PLA/PHA filament 3D printed parts. I have placed holes for short wood dowels to connect parts, depthwise. I found the lengthwise dowels served their purpose well in keeping parts aligned in the hamper stool. I wished I had used them more in that project.cabinet tv 2

PLA/PHA is not the same as wood typically used for fine Japanese furniture. I have mentally prepared myself to use wood glue or hardware to connect pieces if I find that my original plan fails.

I have a few more projects for which I have modeled parts. I will post about them in the coming days.