Parametric Flexbox

by bdahlem, published

Parametric Flexbox by bdahlem Feb 8, 2012



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This is a parametric version of FdS' flex-box.

You can edit the file using your favorite text editor (notepad, vi, emacs, pico) to change the height, width, and length of the box. Then send the file to your laser cutter and you will have yourself an awesome little box.

edit: v 1.1 some clean-up and bug fixes

v 1.2 hopefully squashed that bug

v 1.3 fixed an issue with long decimal numbers


  1. Download flexbox.ps and open it in your favorite text editor (notepad will work great for this)
  2. Find the section that defines the box parameters:
    • boxlength
    • boxwidth
    • boxheight
  3. Change the size of the box to suit your needs, these are the outside dimensions of the box
  4. Save the file then open it in your graphics program, I've had luck with CorelDraw here
  5. Send the file to your laser cutter
    • I cut this box out of 1/8" plywood, on a 35 watt laser running at 100% power, 0.5%speed
  6. Assemble your box, revel in the fact that the once stiff plywood bends corners to make an attractive box you would give to your friend or even consider keeping for yourself

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Worked fine for me.

Just one recommendation, the breaklen seems a bit small if the material thickness is thinner than your examples.

e.g. I have a material thickness of 3mm and also 2mm and this results in a breaklen of 1.5 and 1mm respectively.

So my box broken on one of the hinges as 1.5mm is too small.

I guess it depends on the material thickness but I changed it to

/breaklen materialthickness 1 div def % How long should breaks in the hinge lines be

instead of

/breaklen materialthickness 2 div def % How long should breaks in the hinge lines be

Or perhaps some people may need to manually set this to avoid breakage.

hi I just love the look of these boxes. I'm wanting to change the size but have no idea how. I opened the code in notepad but I'm clueless. anyway you can explain where and how I do this. thanks

Is there a way to tell the size of the sheet you will need for a given size box?

E gostaria também de parabenizar pelo trabalho nas caixas, pois não sabia que podia fazer dobra no mdf e no acrilico e isso foi de grande ajuda.

Boa noite!
Moro no Brasil e tenho uma maquina de corte a laser e trabalho muito com MDF e gostaria de saber como consigo vetores em 3d para corte? nesse site encontrei alguns arquivo, mas me interesso por bandeja, carruagem e etc.... Sera que tem algum site que possa baixar alguns vetores ou se vocês conhecem alguém que venda.
desde de já agradeço

What software do you use to make the living hinges? I have asked this question on several other sites but I can't get a clear answer. I hope you can help

This looks awesome! I love the look of this box so much.

Unfortunately, I can't quite get the code to work! Is there any intrinsic size limitation to the document (pagesize or something)? I tried to make a 24" x 24" x 24" box pattern, and it's cutting it off at the edges. Maximum pagesize limit of some kind?

Tried using gv to view directly, ps2pdf followed by evince to view, evince to view ps file directly, and inkscape. ps2pdf + evince was the closest to working.

The only limit that I can think of is the pagesize, the pagewidth and pageheight are set near the beginning of the file.

Where can I change how large each section of the curve is ? Seem the one from the simplebox is a little bit thinner(1millimiter) than your and allow for better bending without splinting the wood.

What software did you use to create the svg?

You can use a program such as inkscape, adobe illustrator, or coreldraw to convert to svg.

I did the small one and it looks amazing. I just love how it bends.

Apparently we've created parametric flex boxes independently. You've created your thing on thingiverse the very same day that I began developing mine. If I had known about your project, perhaps I would have learned postscript and contributed to yours instead :)

Of course there are many similarities between our projects, but also some differences. Let's take each other's features and integrate them! I like how your script can also create boxes with quarter circle corners and will probably attempt to replicate this idea. One feature that might be useful fo
r you to take is to alternate the drawing direction for the hinge lines . This decreases plotting time by a minute for larger boxes.

Have a look at http://www.thingiverse.com/thing:17327http://www.thingiverse.com/thi...

Parametric flex box
by Juerd

and at http://boxdesigner.frag-den-spatz.dehttp://boxdesigner.frag-den-sp... you can find the original parametric boxdesigner ;-)

Indeed, but the site requires payment before you can download the SVG; that's the primary reason I made my own...

Sorry, I was mistaken: your postscript does already alternate the line directions. I don't remember how I came to the conclusion that it wouldn't...