The HIVE - Stackable Hex Drawers

by dto26, published

The HIVE - Stackable Hex Drawers by dto26 Aug 29, 2016

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Update: 1/5/2017
New module has thicker walls and rails. The modules interlock nicely and do not pull apart. The drawer fit test is a quick test to ensure the drawer will fit inside before printing the full module. I recommend scaling the module to 102% and leaving the drawers at 100%.

This is an extension of my Modular Hex Drawers. The problem I had with my original design was that it needed a stacking piece. I designed these modules to be fully stack-able.

you can find my Modular Hex Drawers here:

Print Settings


Maker Select V2


Doesn't Matter




150-250 microns




Print module at 102% in order for the drawers to fit! Rafts are important for the drawers. Without the raft the drawer will have a square-ish bottom and you will need to sand it in order for it to fit in the module. Rafts are important for the module too. The tests I did without rafts produced a bad first layer.

My Settings:
Print module at 102%
Print drawer at 100%
Shell Thickness: 1.2mm
Printing Temperature: 208C
Bed Temperature: 60C
Time: about 5 hours 40 minutes

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If I were to sell this just for the price that it costs to make how much would you guys think I should ask for? My friend wants me to print it for him so I don't need to make any sort of profit. Also it would be unethical as it's not my design :-)

5 days ago - Modified 5 days ago
dto26 - in reply to Rahiel

Hi Rahiel,
I am fine with people selling printed models just not the model files. For pricing: divide grams used by total grams on the spool then multiply by price of the spool. For example, the module is 69g and the drawer is 38g. ((69+38)/750)$37 = $4.41
I am fine with small orders, just as long as people don't try selling it as their own product

Of course I can imagine you put a lot of work into this so it would be immoral to sell it. Thanks for your reply I'll work out the cost after buying the white and orange filaments.

Apr 14, 2017 - Modified Apr 14, 2017

If i were to construct a wall of these for near permanent storage of cables, tools, pencils and such
, would it be safe enough to hold that weight on the bottom with its structure as real hexacombs would? (assuming i used strong and quality abs)

It definitely would. The hive module itself is essentially two arches mirrored on an axis. In a honeycomb structure, the force of weight will distribute nicely throughout the structure. You could get away with PLA but I think ABS would be best depending on how much weight you intend it to hold

Apr 2, 2017 - Modified Apr 2, 2017

For everyone having issues with HIVE_Module_V3 not slicing in cura:

You need to remesh the object. I used Autodesk Meshmixer for this.

Using Autodesk Meshmixer:

Import the file
Select "Edit" from the left hand side
select "Make Solid"
I used a Mesh count of about 128

Be careful with remeshing too much, each time you do, if you're not careful, you can and will degrade the quality of the model.

Another option would be to open it up in a 3d modeling CAD software like fusion360. change it from a mesh to a body from there and then changing it back to a mesh.

I think the issue with cura might be that there's a really high mesh count of the object.

Mar 30, 2017 - Modified Mar 30, 2017

Anyone else have problems slicing in cura? I made a module but it added a fine layer in the middle of the module I had to cut out. Printed it without support. Not really sure how they printer even laid down this layer as it's floating in mid air with no supports.
Anyone found something like this or a solution?

It's like it's adding a single layer "raft" in the middle of the module. It changes the height of the "raft" depending on the scale of the model.

To anyone having this same frustrating problem, try enabling mesh fixes and un-select "union overlapping volumes", it looks thus far like that fixed the issue.

Cant print using cura, it tries to make a "plan" a few layers up. Idk why. In "solid" view everything looks OK but in layer you can see the problem..

That's weird, I use Cura and printed a module earlier today without issue. I have another one printing right now. Maybe it has something to do with wall thickness. I generally print with 1.2mm walls and 5% infill.

I printed two of the "drawer fit test" file at 102%.

fitting them together from any side, I can see a problem. I can snap the 3 attaching hex without even having to "slide" them in, there's too much tolerance.

not sure if I'm doing something wrong here, still rather new to this game. Using a prusa i3 mk2, I printed this at 0.2mm using slic3r prusa edition slicer.

any help would be appreciated.

The test piece is so you can calibrate your printer to the modules. The tolerances are low because others were complaining that the rails were too tight. If you lower the print quality settings and increase print speed, the rails will interlock and the modules will print faster. I hope this helps.

When i scale the module to 102% in cura and move it on the bed, there are some unexplainable lines. Just somwhere in the part.
Someone else had the same problem?

I can't print the module vertically, and I'd rather have a 10 hour print than a 26 hour print, any ideas?

I'm trying to download this as a x3g for my replicator 2 and it can't download it. I've tried plugging straight into the printer to no avail. Hopefully someone could help me.

Anyone know how I set to 102% on simplify3d?

double click on the part when on the buildplate and then the part menu pops up and you can scale from there. hope this helps.

So far I've printed 8 of these out, with PLA, NGEN, and wood PLA, and varying depths on a MP i3 v2.1. I've printed them at .3 mm, with a .4 nozzle, no raffts or brims, 10% infill, and 2 shells with hairspray/glass on the bed. I print the drawers in the same manner, but at 98% size. Everything interlocks very solidly, including the different modules made from different plastics. I use Simplify3D to slice. It takes about 7 hrs for me to print a 5 inch deep module, (which is larger than the default size). I'm going to print a wall of these things, place them on my workdesk, and upload a picture of it when I'm done. Yes, that's a lot of plastic, but I need something to print and these are fun.

Folks, there's a reason the drawer fit test is included. Print it out a few times, with your extrusion set differently, until you get a good fit. If you don't get a successful print, it's because your printer isn't set up correctly, and/or you don't understand the various print settings well enough to engage a successful print. No, I'm not sorry.

These are easily some of the coolest bins on thingiverse.

Glad to hear you've had great success! You are correct, I included the test print so people can optimize their settings before printing the full module.

A really nice design, but I gave up printing it: The interlocks are too loose and therefore the drawers will simply NOT stay together.
printed on Original Prusa I2 MK2 @0.2mm 0.4mm nozzle

perhaps I'll try again when a future improvement is available

Has anyone changed the dimensions of these drawers yet? I want to make them deeper. I'm thinking I could just adjust the z axis (say +15-20mm) for the module and the y axis the same amount for the drawers in the slicer. Keeping everything else the same, would this work?

For some reason the module v3 won't slice in my older version of cura at all. All the other pieces slice but the module doesn't even attempt to slice. Anyone else have this problem?

I had this problem too. Cura 15 just hangs

Feb 9, 2017 - Modified Feb 9, 2017
bibivincs - in reply to jltantrum

Hello, I have the same problem. I noticed, if you set the module v3 90° horizontal, it slices. But i don't think it's the best angle to print.

I've printed the modules but they're very loose, there's far too big a gap between the lobes for them to connect (for example you wouldn't be able to have overhanging connections like in the picture above), they'd just drop out. I understand you have designed for a fast print but that's shouldn't affect dimensions, are you 100% your printer is calibrated? (have you measured an xyz cube?)

As for my comment about protecting the design I wasn't querying the use of text, it's the fact that you put the writing on the same layers 3 times which took retractions for those layers from about 5 per layer to about 10-15 times that amount. This is a little excessive over about 15 layers and adds uneccessary risk and wear to the print (retractions are often where prints fail for people), usually we try to reduce retractions for people, 1 piece of text would have been enough. I was trying to be constructive.

Do you have plans to make the connecting lobes tighter?

Jan 16, 2017 - Modified Jan 16, 2017
dto26 - in reply to dazkeirle

I understood you were being constructive. My printer is calibrated. Fast settings, on my printer, affects the dimensions very slightly but enough to affect the fit and movement of the rails in the slots. I'm starting to think this design is going to vary from printer to printer. For some it is too tight or too loose and for others and myself it is just right. I'll see what I can do, hopefully I can make a sort of "Goldilocks" module that is just right for every printer. For now, I will leave the V3 module up since it is working for others.

Should you print the drawes or the modules at 102%?

Print the modules at 102% not the drawers

I'm printing this now, prints ok but did you really need to emboss your name in it 3 times? Creates a bucket load of extras retractions (and additional print time).

Other than that the new v3 appears to be well designed and prints nicely on an UM2+

I embossed my name to prevent people from trying to sell my design on ebay or elsewhere. It only added 8 minutes to my print time.

Comments deleted.

I have a problem when I try to delete the HIVE_Module_V3 from slic3r, it crashes the slic3r. Can you help me?

That is an interesting problem. I use Cura. Hopefully someone else can help you.

Jan 8, 2017 - Modified Jan 8, 2017

Just printed 3 of these. I love the clever design. Only thing is, the modules interlock a bit loosely, there's hardly any friction or "tightness" between the hexagonal ribs and the grooves they slide into. Is there any way to make them fit slightly tighter?

Also, curious to see what people's build times are. I'm using PLA on a Flashforge Dreamer, medium quality settings. Took about 6 hours for the module and about 3 hours for the drawer.

3.5 hours or so, with a FF creator pro clone for the module. 50 minutes for the label drawer. 0.3mm layer height. PLA. Don't need these things to look fancy - just need 'em to hold my stuff. Didn't need to scale them at all - they work perfectly for me as is, just they're loose. Since I'll be using superglue to stick 'em together, it's not an issue for me. The freaking name on 'em is a bit annoying, especially since it makes the INSERTS NOT FIT until you take a knife and trim them off. sigh

Hi, thanks! I designed them to be printed on lower quality faster print settings to compensate for expansion of material and other defects. Your printer is much faster than mine. It took me over 10 hours for the module and 5 for the drawers.

Comments deleted.
Jan 3, 2017 - Modified Jan 3, 2017

Hey! super excited to see an updated hive module ( printed off a set the other day and saw a crucial issue with the grooves not going all the way to the bottom). upon slicing the new version it appears there's no wall connecting the sides where its recessed? here's a picture for reference http://imgur.com/a/9Zd1R

edit: still going through with the print. I can see its still connected at the base :)

I'm having the same problem. I'm now printing the hive modules, and the thin walls connecting the grooves aren't being printed, I checked layer view in Cura, and they weren't sliced. Here's a photo of the print https://goo.gl/photos/NAL5gFjeE5Jr2Bq39

I uploaded the new module with thickened walls last night. The walls are 1.5mm thicker now. I have the module printing next to me and it is printing with the walls. Don't forget to print at 102% in order for the drawer to fit (I did a test to ensure correct sizing before printing full module).

Comments deleted.

Hmm, what slicer is that? I use a modified version of Cura and haven't seen that issue. When I printed the walls were still there. Thanks for bringing this to my attention! I can play around a little more with the design to increase the thickness of the wall.

yeah, these are a no go lol.

Ok, I'll thicken up the walls

Simplify3d. Like I said, it's still connected at the bottom, I'm printing a batch of them now. I'll let you know in the morning how they turned out.

Comments deleted.

Hi, I really like this design!! I originally printed two modules at 100% scale, and two perimeters. The modules would not connect to each other (the rails did not fit in the slots). I've seen in the comments that printing at %125 - %150 will help with the fit. My question is now many perimeters I should be using, and if it will affect the fit for the rails.

i.e. if I print this at %130 scale should I have one or two (or more??) perimeters to get a better fit?

dto26 - in reply to POV

Hi, thanks! I'm currently working on the rails and slots right now. I actually have a new test printing away next to me. I'm close to having them slide nicely on fast print settings. Watch this design, I will have an update in the next few days with better modules. The drawers so far print nicely and without supports (except for the ones with the knob already attached).

Just checking in... The January 5th update is just perfect for the modules, I'm printing a 4th one now (all at 102%). The drawers with the removable knobs work out better for me as well, as the drawer plus knob models seem to end up with a small hole on the top side of the narrow part of the knob.

Love the design, and thanks for the updates!

Glad to hear! I'm surprised about the slight defect. For me the only defect was white lines made by the supports which is why I made the detached knob version.

I really like this design! I printed HIVE_Test_V3.stl twice. I connected two peaces together but can't connect third one. It looks like it's impossible physically (for models with floating sliders). Anyone connect more then two peaces together?

Thanks! I am making some touch ups to the module. Now that I have a printer I am able to test myself. I tested yesterday and the sliders fit more nicely but I need to fix one of the fillets and probably remove a little more material. I'll have an update in the next few days.

Hey, so is this not functional or can I print a version of this and expect it to work?

It is functional and the drawers fit inside nicely. The rails are a bit tricky though. I am working on making them more consistent on fast print. Watch this design, there will be an update in the next few days with better modules. If you need it quickly check out the remixes.

Comments deleted.
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If you want to print this at high speeds cus u don't wanna get bored waiting like me, you have to make an extra gcode file with the model slightly smaller if you want them to join together. (I have one at the original size and one at 95% and one at 105%.)

You should chamfer the bottom surface.

Most people will print with excessive squish on the first layer which will cause it to deform outwards.

Typically I use a .2mm chamfer against the bottom surface to counter this effect.

Optimally, this would be a slicer option, but until then we have to add it to the models.

With that done, I don't see a lot of point in floating the rails and forcing them to need supports.

Originally, I did not float the sliders. The only problem was that the modules could slide without constraint. Someone thought it would be a good idea to constrain the back side of the module and I did too. That's why the sliders are floating. I have uploaded a module without floating sliders (and with your .2mm chamfer on the bottom)

Ah OK. I thought it was because you didn't want to do the counter-chamfer.

I kind of redesigned my own version with a few changes. I wanted something at a smaller scale, so the locking hexagons kind of had to go. I replaced them with a slightly simpler rail.

I've been thinking a lot about the backside. I'm wondering if the base unit should go all the way through, and the backstops (including the backstops for the drawers) might be a separate unit. I want to have the option of putting adhesive fridge magnet type things on the back to hold the drawers in place, or optionally use really strong magnets on the back and hang an entire hive off a metal surface like a fridge or something.

Still baking on the idea.

Thanks for the design!

Comments deleted.
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Tried printing these on my Monoprice Maker Select V2,but I ran into an issue where the fit on the interlocking modules was too tight and I couldnt slot them together. Still haven't printed a drawer.

Did you scale the drawers up before printing? They won't interlock without scaling, up the tolerances are too critical. I recommend scaling up between 125-150% and printing two of the test_v2.stl first. The purpose of the test piece is to make sure the drawers will interlock before you try printing the full module. It is untested as of now but I'm actually getting the same printer later this month so I'll be more helpful then. If you run into problems please let me know and I will fix it asap.

I did not realize that, I'll try scaling up the test one & printing.

I noticed the drawers seem to be upside down (with the bottom up) in the models. Is that intentional? Should I flip them in my slicer program, or leave them as is and use supports?

P.S. I'm a relative noob at 3D printing but feel free to message me about the printer, I've been working mine in heavily. Biggest thing I've found is to run a PID autotune script. Took a minute & solved a bunch of my issues.

Make sure the concentric hexagon side is on the bottom. Print the V2 module; the original modules interlock but have a hard time staying together. You will need supports since the sliders overhang.

Did a test at 125%. Fit together better, but still wouldn't slide all the way. Theres also no way I'm getting these back apart.

Going to try 150% tonight.

Dec 8, 2016 - Modified Dec 8, 2016
dto26 - in reply to MrGlass

Thanks for keeping me updated! Let me know how the 150% turns out. If you still have trouble just let me know and I'll see If I can make the tolerances less critical.
Edit: One last thing, If the sliders do not go all the way down you can sand them. The support material and any sagging could be the cause of them not fully sliding.

You put in the effort to make an awesome design, least I can do is collaborate to refine it :)

The test pieces fit together, but I dont know if it would work fu;; size, a little warping or other distortion and it would be very hard to slide these together that far. The sliders didn't go all the way down like you said, but I actually can't get them apart again to try sanding Also, the drawer is getting too large for me to have a whole hive of them on my desk. I would slightly reduce the size of the tabs, I'd rather have it easy to print/assemble than a super tight fit (and drawers are pretty stationary so a tight fit isn't so important). I can always add a dab of glue later.

Some other thoughts I've had:

  • Rather than sanding them down, remove a millimeter or so from the bottom of the tabs in the model.
  • Instead of the slots/tabs running the entire length of the print, just do a few MM at the front or back. That would reduce the chance of a tolerance issue and let you maintain something close to the tight fit you have
  • It might be useful to have a closed back on these. If you print it as a separate piece, you could do a custom logo in relief on the back. or even just in the center hex in the back.
  • You could make a label area on the front if the drawer. maybe even allow the label to be changed using thingiverse customizer.

Of course, these are just my crazy ideas. Feel free to ignore them

Thanks for sharing the cool model!

Dec 9, 2016 - Modified Dec 9, 2016
dto26 - in reply to MrGlass

I made some changes to the module. The sliders have a 0.1 mm tolerance which worked for the original version. I shortened them a little to reduce sanding. I made one closed back module, a test print, a half-sized drawer, and a drawer with a spot for a label. The new designs have been uploaded.

Thanks, I value constructive criticism. You have some good thoughts, the first one I did for the original module and it worked. I'll play around with the model some more tonight and see what I can do.

Comments deleted.

I love the concept but I'm having a hard time getting the modules to stay together. I tried the latest upload, they fit together but won't lock (there's not much of a lip at all)

I just got this Zortrax M200, here's what settings I used:

Filament profile: Z-HIPS, layer: 0.14mm, Infill: Max, Support: 20 degrees

The print looks clean, any suggestions?

Thanks for letting me know. I made a new module with a better lip. Play around with the test_v2.stl before printing the full modules. You may need to scale them up a little to make the tolerances less critical.

Comments deleted.
Oct 26, 2016 - Modified Oct 26, 2016

I printed the draws and they don't seem to tessellate that well. Love the idea though

Try the new version of the module. I rounded the edges of the sliders and slots for easier sliding. The sliders are .1 mm smaller than the slots to account for expansion.

Printed one Module and one drawer. The drawer is significantly larger than it should be, it doesn't even come close to fitting, the drawer looks to be 2-3 mm too large in all directions. Thinking of scaling the drawer down as some else mentioned. Anyone know what a workable scale is? 98% for the drawer perhaps?

Printed on a QIDI Tech 1, module facing up (like a cup) and the drawer flat with the bottom down and handle sticking straight out facing forward, .2mm layers, PLA, supports on (for drawer handle). I'll grab the old calipers and do a little math and see if I can't get the drawer to fit.

Oct 26, 2016 - Modified Oct 26, 2016
dto26 - in reply to djsidetrack

Edit: I apologize, the module you printed was for a larger version I did not mean to upload. I have uploaded the correct size files.

Could you post your fusion 360 sources? I have some ideas on making it more printable I would like to try out.

I've been trying to figure out how to save my files to my computer but it looks like Fusion only saves to the cloud. I could export as .iges, .stp, .smt, or .sat but I'm not sure if those files can be edited.

You should have the option to export as .f3d, which is fusion's native format. STEP files are editable though.

Maybe someone who printed this before can help me with this. I printed the model at 125% size (so scaled in every direction to 125%). This should make margins less critical. However the models don't fit each other. I should note that I'm printing at a rather high printspeed because of the long printing times. I set horizontal size compensation to 0. It could possibly be my print speed or maybe my extrusion multiplier (now at 0.95). How do you guys cope with this, just printing extremely slow?

The module you printed was for a larger version I did not mean to uploaded. I just uploaded the correct size module. I apologize for the inconvenience.

Cool, no problem. So which of the stl's do I print?

I wonder if this is correct: When slicing with my default slic3r setup which is:

0.3mm layer height
50mm/s everything
2 Perimeters
2 Top layers
2 Bottom layers
.... the print time is an estimate of 3h 47mins for just one HIVE_module.

Is this correct?

Not sure if you solved this already, but you might be using support materials. Try flipping it upside down and not using supports!

Sep 29, 2016 - Modified Sep 29, 2016
dto26 - in reply to punkrockseb

Maybe someone else who has printed it might know. I don't own a printer yet so I couldn't tell you.

Sep 22, 2016 - Modified Sep 22, 2016

Hey, thanks for making these drawers!

I'm having a similar issue as others, in that the drawers are too snug to fit. I opened the model in SketchUp, but I'm not super great with modeling (I can use the tape measure though). I did notice some size discrepancies in the drawer vs the module.

Measuring the back of the drawer top to bottom (oriented with the opening facing down, knob pointed away):
left: ~64.95mm
middle: ~64.91
right: ~64.90
width: ~74.987

Hive module facing opening is all ~64.95 with a width of 75mm. This is accurate with what I got with calipers on the printed object, though my shaky hands can't measure so precisely. Seems like tolerances are still a bit tight (0-.05).

Files downloaded 9/19/16.

FYI printed at .35 and .20 (no total size difference that I could see), but could try all the way to .05. These were the Hex_Drawer_FIXED.stl and hive_module_FIXED.stl models I imported/printed using Slic3r with the stock Prusa i3 Mk2 settings.

(Also the combined model infills between the two objects, so they print fused together).

For others: You could likely print the drawer separately at 99.75% to achieve ~0.15-0.2mm tolerances on all sides. You could transform each plane individually to achieve a more perfect fit, but only if you REALLY like calculating stuff.

EDIT: 99.75% can't be done in Slic3r, it'd have to be imported/exported through SketchUp or similar.

Hey thanks for the information! Your measurements are correct. I gave the modules .15 mm and .2 mm tolerances and uploaded them.

Glad to help. I'll try reprinting tonight. Thanks!

It seems to me that it would be good to have the models rotated in order to print them directly. Also I'm concerned about how these will stack properly and still sit on a desk. Wont they slide out from under each other?

I'm not sure what you mean but the modules interlock so they should not slide out from under each other. About the placement, I made the models on the z-axis but my program seems to have saved them oriented on the x-axis.

I have now made 3 of the holders and 1 of the drawers. When stacked, they are not at all stable because any pressure from above (such as putting things in them. Causes the bottom containers to be pushed out. There is nothing holding the containers together. Also, you said further down that you updated the tolerances, but I am unable to get the drawer into the holder in the exact same way as the other user. Was this object printed out before being posted?

I'm really sorry about that. I'll fix the module today. Could you do me a favor and tell me your print settings? Material, fan, supports, rafts, resolution, etc? Also how much bigger the drawer is than the module. Is it within .1-.2 mm or so? I'll make the inside of the module larger to account for expansion/sagging of drawer. I'll also give it stronger tabs so they don't slide out from under each other. About printing before posting, no I have not had the opportunity. I've been trying to get it printed; however, the person in charge of the library 3D printer has either been ignoring my emails or just never checks his inbox. I plan on buying one soon though.

I printed your design too, I found printing the module at 101% size in cura made the drawers fit perfectly. PLA, no supports or rafts, 0.6mm nozzle with 0.3mm layers on an ultimaker 2.

You need more clearance for the stacking "tabs" too since they don't stack brilliantly, and some way of stopping them sliding forward and backward.

I don't like to be so critical since it's a brilliant idea, but it's let down by lack of testing.

Thanks for letting me know! The modules now have a 0.15 mm and 0.2 mm tolerance. Sliding between the modules has been limited too. I uploaded the new modules this morning. The tabs may be difficult to slide at first but that is by design. Friction between the modules help keep them in place and prevent unwanted sliding. A light sanding might help them slide a little better.

Sep 13, 2016 - Modified Sep 13, 2016

for some reason the drawers seem to be just a mm or 2 to tall, I printed off the draw with the 2 holes for the knob
edit: over all the drawer seems to be just a tad to big in all dimensions to even fit

Hey, thanks for letting me know. The drawers are fine but the module had a few sides that were 0.01 mm too big for some reason. I fixed the module and uploaded it.

Im printing a fixed version out now, ill keep you informed on whether or not this fixes the issue

Did the new module work for you?

Sep 17, 2016 - Modified Sep 17, 2016
Puredeath - in reply to dto26

I posted a made showing that the tolerances are way to tight and the drawer won't fit
Edit: atleast I thought I did

Ok, please post a make I'd like to see how they're not fitting and I'll fix it today or tomorrow.

Comments deleted.

I wish the knob were a different design or another piece. It sticks out into space so I'm not sure it can be printed without support.

I uploaded a drawer with a separate knob. It will need to be glued in place after printing.

Cool thanks. I'm printing with support but of course that adds time and waste.

A separate draw / knob with a hole for a screw would be good too and simple.

Great idea, I uploaded a drawer and knob that use a gauge 3 wood screw. You'll need to use a small bolt and hex nut to secure it. I'll play around with the design, see if I can improve it if I need to.

Thanks for that. I was thinking a self threading screw that went through the drawer and into the knob from the back so it's hidden. Like a short #10 perhaps. Sheet metal screws self thread nicely through PLA IMHO.

will these stack with your previous design?

As of now no; however, I plan on making a piece that will allow my original design to stack with this one.