Laser cut replica dresser

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Project by LittleBlackDuck posted 04-05-2016 12:45 PM 1118 views 0 times favorited 5 comments Add to Favorites Watch

I completed this project in December 2013, long before I got into “Toys and Joys” model making and my introduction to LumberJocks. I have been requested for a sample of my laser builds and though this article is not a “how to do” procedure, I managed to salvage some old photos to put together into this presentation.

I was approached by a hairdresser friend to see if I could miniaturise an heirloom dresser for one of his clients (for anonymity and simplicity let’s call her Pam). Due to circumstances, the dresser had to go but she wanted something more than just photos as a keepsake. Due to my experience in model making (I’m still working on a model of the Bounty that I started in Y2K) I was asked if I could make a miniature of the dresser.

Originally this was the primary picture presented to me with basic measurements.

There were several other pictures presented to showcase the back of the dresser and the insides (without the drawers etc.). Due to locations and availabilities I could not take measurements myself so the pictures and correspondences shuffled back and forth until final measurements were established (and jelled together), which resulted in the following model in Sketchup.

At this point Pam was not sure of what size she wanted so I printed off several different sizes (1:4, 1:6, 1:8 and 1:10) using Layout which is part of the licensed Sketchup package. The printed “parts” had tabs attached (using rectangles drawn in under Layout) so they could easily be glued together after cutting out to give an idea of expected physical miniature size. We agreed on 1:6. Below is the example of the dresser top with the “glue tabs”,

The parts were then cut on the laser (and lets not start a la s er/la z er debate here) out of Tasmanian oak which is a very rough grained timber and stained walnut. This was just a prototype and a trial run for the real build. This prototype confirmed the use od CA as opposed to PVA glue.

I tried for total simulation so the back was replicated as per the real McCoy, down to the mirror frame, back supports and even the scrap chock blocks. The inside of the carcase had all the original timber replicated as well as all the internal “hidden” drawer mistakes. All mistakes and dodgy craftsmanship was replicated (often not by choice, oops… I quickly realised why/how the original mistakes were made). This was going to be an exact miniature replica and whenever I accidentally corrected a mistake I went back and stuffed it up to plan. This was an agreement I made with Pam after discovering the first original build mistake when I had certain close up pictures of the actual dresser sent to me.

I was then faced with the task of making the drawer knobs/handles. At the time of contemplation (I tried many combinations with varying degrees of failure [ranging from total to fully]), I visited the Melbourne Working with Wood show where I first saw a 3D printer being demonstrated and immediately saw it’s potential. What spurred me on was the fact that I (and even you) could design and 3D print direct from Sketchup (even the free version). There was a wood show special on the 3D printers that I could not refuse, so I became the proud owner of a UP Plus2 3D printer with heaps of free filament. I then went on to designed a knob as close to the original and this is the result.
Sketchup design of the handle.

The real thing(s). The 3D handle is just below left of the real handle. The graininess of the 3D printing simulated the pattern of the original handle to a tee and printing in brass coloured filament removed the need to paint it.

I eventually met Pam and was able to take away one of the drawers as a sample. The following is a comparison of the real drawer and the drawer front from my prototype.

The prototype with the handles.

I threw in this picture just to showcase my dovetails on the drawers sides (I won’t mention they are laser engraved). You need to look close due to poor lighting.

Having confidence in the laser accuracy, especially after the prototype build, I cut all the pieces and grouped them in baggies.

Bulk cut the drawer sides and bottoms from tassy oak.

Unfortunately I didn’t take pictures of the dovetailed drawer sides, however, attached is the prepared drawing
fir the cabinet parts drawers which gets sent/printed to the laser. Red (which are all the lines and not clearly shown by the picture) is for the cutting and the black is for engraving (the dovetails)

While I was at the wood show buying my 3D printer, I also purchased some Tasmanian myrtle for the project. As the model was only 1/8” thick I only needed a small board (it measured about 90mm x 350mm x 19mm)... in the shade.
Components were assembled, received a light “wash” of walnut stain to enhance the myrtle’s natural colour and ready for finishing. I applied a wipe on poly….. (with a brush)

The finished dresser. Fortunately a close friend of mine is a glazier and he supplied the 3 piece, bevelled, wing mirrors and glass shelf to perfect scale.

A close up of the drawers and handles (and the “banding”).

I also designed the knick-knacks Pam had on the dresser using Sketchup and 3D printed them. It so happened that the raft (which is the base printed to build the model on and is normally broken off and discarded after printing) used by my 3D printer happened to look similar to the napkin the vases rested on. A coat of model paint and the full replica was “finished”.

This is a side by side of one of the original pictures and the completed model.

I subsequently found out that Pam moved the lamp aside while she was moving the dresser to take pictures at various angles, so as an after thought. the lamp was designed in SU and 3D printed. While building this presentation it actually registered in my “vino” soaked brain that the lamp was actually in the very first picture presented to me as displayed at top of this article (but missing from subsequent pictures – added this disclaimer to reassure myself). Unfortunately my transparent media was not as transparent as the glass lamp but I give myself “E” for Effort.

The two bits of timbercraft, including the lamp, together. The model posed for a selfie on/in the middle of the real dresser before it was put out to pasture.

Oh yeh, for those that may be bemused by my mentioning my Y2K (circa 2010) started project. Were you paying attention or did you have your grandson read this article by proxy??,

-- If your first cut is too short... Take the second cut from the longer end... LBD

5 comments so far

View htl's profile (online now)


4231 posts in 1361 days

#1 posted 04-05-2016 02:34 PM

Now that is way cool and a very very nice project.
Doll houses is what got me back into wood working 2 years ago and making simple furniture was hard with out the tools I have now.
Great work and can see that like me you’ve put your finger into a lot of different projects in wood.

-- An Index Of My Model making Blogs

View htl's profile (online now)


4231 posts in 1361 days

#2 posted 04-06-2016 03:36 AM

One out standing project and always love to hear the story’s behind the builds. pricless!!!

-- An Index Of My Model making Blogs

View sras's profile


4943 posts in 3331 days

#3 posted 05-07-2016 12:30 AM

Just found this after seeing your Hummer project. This is a very impressive project and the story is interesting.


-- Steve - Impatience is Expensive

View LittleBlackDuck's profile


2088 posts in 1022 days

#4 posted 05-07-2016 04:06 AM

Thanks Steve, It was a fun build. There was more woodworking than I fessed up to, nevertheless the laser was the working apprentice.

-- If your first cut is too short... Take the second cut from the longer end... LBD

View helluvawreck's profile


32087 posts in 3068 days

#5 posted 06-01-2016 02:23 PM

Your work is fascinating. Thanks for the post.

helluvawreck aka Charles

-- helluvawreck aka Charles,

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