Project Overview

Parametric Shelving

I love solid 3D modeling. Love. It!

It’s legit been one of the top favorite skills I’ve picked up over the last couple of years.

Seriously, so cool!

It’s really freeing to be able to form out an idea virtually. I can try stuff out, keep it if I like it, toss it if I don’t, and none of it requires investing the money and sweat of building. You can start fabricating with a head start.

But as much as I love solid modeling, I hate doing the same thing over and over again.

This is where I found myself a bit ago when designing some custom shelves for our basement. I had designed a set of shelves a year ago and my wife and I built them out. I started by, of course, creating a scale model of our entire basement 😛

I mean, how are you going to make sure everything fits, right 😉

From there I planned out a simple set of shelves using dimensional lumber. It’s the first time I had planned out something so large, so I kept the design simple.

And the shelves came out great. We had to make a couple of adjustments, but for the most part they work well.

And then I created a simple table for the CNC mill.

… and then a design for a simple workbench …

At this point I realized how tired I was of drawing 2 by 4s and half inch plywood over and over.

All of these plans were really just variations on the same idea: a simple box with 2 by 4 legs propping them up and a shelf on the bottom. Sure, there are little differences, but nothing that can’t be programmed for.

In app dev I would see a problem like this and start to look at a way of modularizing and parameterizing the code, and luckily with parametric modeling I can do the same!

I created a model for the simple shelf shape and pulled some key parameters out and made them adjustable. Now I can tell the model the width, depth, height, how many shelves I want, and how many (if any) support braces I need for the shelves.

Now, outside of any special cases, I should never have to model out these shelves again :chef-kiss:

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