Cut out boxes and other stuff with a laser cutter

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An (Online) Box Generator for laser cutters.

  • Boxespy is an online box generator
  • Boxespy is an Inkscape plug-in
  • Boxespy is library to write your own
  • Boxespy is free software licensed under GPL v3+
  • Boxespy is written in Python 3

Boxespy comes with a growing set of ready-to-use, fully parametrized generators. See for the full list.


Of course the library and the generators allow selecting the "thickness"
of the material used and automatically adjusts lengths and width of
joining fingers and other elements.

The "burn" parameter compensates for the material removed by the laser. This
allows fine tuning the gaps between joins up to the point where plywood
can be press fitted even without any glue.

Finger Joints are the work horse of the library. They allow edges
and T connections. Their size is scaled up with the material
"thickness" to maintain the same appearance. The library also allows
putting holes and slots for screws (bed bolts) into finger joints,
although this is currently not supported for the available generators.

Dovetail joints can be used to join pieces in the same plane.

Flex allows bending and stretching the material in one direction. This
is used for rounded edges and living hinges.


  • It's all Fun and Games...

    Florian Festi10/23/2020 at 17:29 0 comments

    ...until someone makes an insert for Agricola - then it is even more fun ... and even more games:

    Kudos to Guillaume Collic who wrote this master piece. I especially like how he made use of already existing code and pieces and combines them with new edges types and new ideas. It re-uses the Divider Tray and regular boxes but combines them with new solutions like cutouts to make gripping the tiles easier. A very neat idea (but a bit difficult to see in the picture) are the sliding dividers in the trays for the wooden pieces. They are prevented from tumbling around by small triangular feet but are otherwise free to move left and right depending on how much space is needed in the compartments.

    The two box types holding the tiles clearly deserve to get a generator on their own. Guillaume already has ticket opened to make it easier to re-use complete generators by others. Splitting these boxes out might be a good exercise to create the infrastructure still missing.

    If you are on your way to your laser cutter you should probably stick to the default material thickness of 3mm or something close. While not stated in the generator description I have the suspicion that adding too much width with thicker material might end up with an insert that cannot be - well - inserted into the box.

    Inserts and organizers for board games is a very welcome new topic in the I hope at some point we can make this a category in the UI and rescue this gem from the "Misc" section. I have the hope that Guillaume may contribute some more. But may his works also inspires others. The more pieces and features there already are the easier such task becomes. 

  • New Boxes For Your Electronics Projects

    Florian Festi05/21/2020 at 12:32 0 comments

    Often just a generic box is just not enough, but you need something that can house the electronics of your project. The ElectronicsBox was the first variant with this in mind. But in the end it is just a box meant to be bolted down and screwed shut:

    QuitButton needed something else: A housing with a slanted front to mount a LCDisplay and a few buttons.

    As a first stop gap solution (other than just turning a pentagon box on it's side) I implemented Console using the relatively new polygonWall() code that turns a list of lengths and angles into a side wall. The actual win here is that there is a .polygonWalls() method that is rendering all the walls between the sides. The result is still a bit simple, but  at least has the right shape:

    But as with a lot of other boxes there is a severe lack of lockable doors or hatches. And while non rectangular finger joints are cool they are rather distracting around the front panel.

    So here is an improved Console2:

    There are a few variants. You can choose with or without removable back wall, with or without removable front panel and the front panel - as seen here -  clean and glued or attached with finger joints on the sides.

    The panel is held in place by spring loaded tabs:

    The two tabs per side and both springs being one single, laser cut piece.

    The back wall is hooked in at the bottom and has two flush latches at the top:

    The latches are made small enough that they cannot be opened or closed by hand but need a small tool like a screwdriver. This is on purpose to avoid people accidentally sticking their fingers into the electric parts inside. To prevent the latches from opening they have an integral leaf spring and a very small recess that locks them in place when closed. This way they can only be re-opened when pressed in a little bit against the spring.

  • on

    Florian Festi05/20/2020 at 19:48 2 comments is the German speaking IT news site. The Heise publishing house also issues the Make magazine. So via the Make news feed this article in German (translated by Google) made it to get global feed at

    There is nothing in the article regular readers of this project log don't already know about. But getting this level of exposure is quite nice and made my day.

    Herzlich Willkommen an alle Heise-Leser!

  • New Back End

    Florian Festi05/20/2020 at 08:23 0 comments

    So the new back end is finally merged into the master branch. If you update your own installation you need to install the affine Python module which is available both via pip but also in most distributions. Cairo is no longer needed. This should make installation on Windows much easier.

    The SVG produce by the new back end is also much better than the old one. Artifacts like repeated moves are filtered out and the outline of parts is much more continuous. The weird inverted arcs in inner corners are - for the most part - replaced with smooth Bezier loops. This should reduce acceleration in the corners and allow for faster cutting.

    I am still pondering whether it is worth adding a native DXF back end. While there is only very few commands needed by the format does not look like fun. I am also scared that it won't support the text the way we might need. For now the output still uses pstoedit for converting to DXF.

  • Test new Python backend!

    Florian Festi04/06/2020 at 10:06 0 comments is using the Cairo graphics library to generate SVG and PostScript (which is then converted to more formats with pstoedit). This has always been a pain. There is little control over the actual output. Getting the library to run on Windows is a real pain and creates a continuous stream of tickets, questions and complaints.

    So there has always been the thought of replacing Cairo with something else. But thoka finally put in the work to put together a native Python backend. After me not finding the time to take care of the PR for much too long it is now ready to be tested. Please check out

    Beside not needing Cairo it has the following improvements:

    • Continues outlines for most parts
    • Better grouping within the SVG file
    • Improved burn correction with inner corners now being a loop instead of changing direction twice

    Other changes

    • Text rendered as text not as glyphs
    • <deleted>No use of hlines and vlines (yet)</deleted>

    Please test with you tool chain and report issue back. Either here as comments or in the GitHub PR or a new ticket.

    If you want to test locally there is a nocairo branch in the main repository.

    Thank you!


    Turns out I had to redo the text "rendering". The text was never that well thought out as is not a word processor. I now do know much more about PostScript and it's font system than I ever wanted...

    To give the code more exposure I now moved the main instance ( to the nocairo branch. The Cairo back end is still available at . But I expect to call the new back end final and ditch Cairo completely soon - if there are no major issues popping up. 

  • A story

    Florian Festi03/01/2020 at 12:06 0 comments

    Looking at tickets on GitHub is not always fun. They are full of bugs and missing features people stumbled across and ideas that are not bad enough to ignore but not good enough to work on right away.

    But from time to time there are stories that unfold in there that are too good to be forgotten in a closed ticket. So I am putting this one here:

    In the beginning there is a need for a box - a cash box. And there is an idea how it should look like:

    And there even are some plans - although not quite in the right size:

    So the question arises if there is a generator that can already do this. Well, sort of. There is the RoundedBox and it probably can be extended to get similar results.

    But as so often that's a bit too involved for a mere mortal. So Inkscape is called to the rescue instead:

    with green being from, the red added to get the results in blue.

    And the final box is looking gorgeous:

    That's just to good be stay a one-off. Actually extending the RoundedBox wasn't that hard. Half of the patch is just increasing the opening on top/front for the new style. Of course the real work is done in the parts (RoundedPlate and SurroundingWall) that make up the box and need to learn about the new feature. So this could have been a nice show case how easy it is to extend the library. Unfortunately these parts are both pretty old and only used at few places. So there is a bit of refactoring and a few tweaks and bug fixes needed to make this all work eventually:

    The keen observer may have noticed that the edge type of the SurroundingWall has changed from "F" to "f" making the top and bottom a bit more sturdy as the corner holes don't continue into the sides. Otherwise this is very close to the Inkscape version.

    Thanks to bwente for the work and inspiration to finally do this!

  • Spicy

    Florian Festi12/16/2019 at 22:45 2 comments

    The kitchen in our hacker space needed a better solution for its spices. The wire frame shelf was disorganized and just not that great over all. Turns out you can get some nice tin cans for spices for just like 70ct each - already coated in black paint that can easily be laser-etched away. Now we just needed a new kind of rack that holds a lot of them. The obvious solution would be tilting them so you can read what's on the lid and each can be accessed directly. I was already thinking about a variant of the wine rack just with each cell tilted upward. But then there was a better idea: Have the cans sink into a horizontal plate:

    Although the rack is made specifically for the black cans it turns out other more or less cylindrical objects of more or less the same size also fit in well enough.

    While getting the math right and creating the ellipse arcs was a bit tricky the rack itself is easy to assemble:

    The generator can be found in the Shelves section.

  • Boxes International

    Florian Festi08/22/2019 at 22:07 0 comments

    Boxes now supports multiple - ok, ehmm, ... nearly two - languages. This started several weeks ago with a request to support a Portguese/Brazilian translation. But this only got finished because CNDK asked how to translate the UI to Chinese and came back with a translation after I pointed him to the first prototype version of the POT file.

    For now the web UI uses the preferred language set in the browser to find a language to translate to. I will probably add another means to change the language. Any particular style you'd like to see this done? As mentioned above there only exists a Chinese version with a few pieces still missing as I just now added them.

    If you are interested in other language you can go Zanata page and start working on them. Drop me a note here or open a ticket if you think the translation is ready to be merged. If you don't want to bother with yet another online tool you can also get the POT file from the repository and translate it locally.

    Update: Added a drop down box to select the language to the page footer. It's still pretty ugly. I still need to look into the CSS stuff necessary to make it fit the overall design of the page.

    Update2: I just received a French translation from Georges Khaznadar who is also packaging for Debian.

    The situation with Zanata - which was already kinda fishy in the summer - is now at a point where we need to make plans to move somewhere else (as is the Fedora project). I am currently considering but I still have not much experience with the hole l10n business. Any advice is welcome.

  • Quick update

    Florian Festi07/11/2019 at 23:38 0 comments

    Despite things being quiet here on Hackaday upstream development made quite some progress. We got a set of slat wall panels for our wood work shop. So I created a whole set of tool holders that can be hooked in a slat wall. Good pictures are still missing but the new "Slatwall" section is already in the on-line generator.

    Thanks to Stefan the post processing step is now parsing and re-writing the SVG properly. This allowed to add the parameters / URL  as a comment in the SVG file and move the drawing to the origin. It also opens up a new set of possibilities for further post processing.

    Stumbling on DeWalt Drill Battery esk8 Electric Skateboard motivated me to finally add an adaptor for Makita Batteries. While it needs a bit more work to offer it as a useful building block I already created a mobile bench power supply that can run from either an 18V Makita battery or an Lenovo power supply using the popular DSP5005 module. The MaktiaPowerSupply  generator can already be found in the "Misc" section. To be honest it is basically little more than a simple box and the interesting parts are all vitamins. Nevertheless the result is quite handy.

    Overall I hope things will slow down a little at some point so I can write dedicated log entries on all the new pieces and show some pictures of the results. In the mean time you can have fun with the brand new FlexBox5.

  • More and better Docs

    Florian Festi03/04/2019 at 21:55 0 comments

    I held a workshop at my local hacker space on how to write your own generators. As a side effect I restructured and extended the (API) docs and one participant updated the installation instructions. So now there are several new topics covered:

    The API docs have now more of an top down approach. This makes it easier to understand the concepts and where to start. Also the previously broken module index is fixed and all the methods are referenced in the index.

    There are still a lot of places the docs can be improved but I am trying to stop myself here. Overall it is probably better to crank out a few new features than loosing myself in the documentation. I guess most people are happy not needing to read docs and being able to generate a new box with the press of a single button.

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Enjoy this project?



Daniel wrote 11/12/2022 at 21:04 point

Somehow I'm too clumsy to generate the universal box appropriately. top_edge=i, pinwidth=0.5, thickness=3.9

The rectangular cutouts in the disks are too small to accommodate the lid's pins. The dimensions shown for the crop in LightBurn are 3.203 x 3.727. How is a 3.9 mm thick material supposed to fit in there?
Am I doing something wrong?

  Are you sure? yes | no

Bob the Builder wrote 11/10/2022 at 09:32 point

For those that are interested, I made a cutlery holder yesterday. It is in the "Unstable" section. Be aware that the vertical fingerjoint holes/slots that connect handle section and internal dividers to the outside wall are too low by the material thickness used. I used 3.3mm for material, and they were too low by the same amount. Other than that little issue, it works great. 

  Are you sure? yes | no

Bob the Builder wrote 11/09/2022 at 01:15 point

Many thanks for fixing the error on the universal boxes. Works great now.

  Are you sure? yes | no

stujen65 wrote 11/03/2022 at 06:35 point

Thanks I checked it and now the error is fixed, it is working again. I appreciate your efforts :)

  Are you sure? yes | no

josedj wrote 10/30/2022 at 12:40 point

buenas , tengo un problema al crear cualquier caja al pasarlo al lightburn las piezas que deberían encajar no lo hacen ya que las medidas no son buenas , quería saber como es posible esto

  Are you sure? yes | no

leroy wrote 10/28/2022 at 07:11 point

I use your program to make stuff, I like it very much. I do have one comment on the dice box though. There is too much wasted space. I like the idea of it, however it is a lot of room for just one set of dice. I made cardboard boxes with your program to hold my dice . Most gamers have multiple sets. If I made a box for each of them (I have around 40 sets) I don't know where I would be able to store them. Thank you for listening and making the program.

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skippy wrote 10/25/2022 at 16:13 point

Love - thanks a lot for your work.

Just wanted to say, I have the same issue like below with StorageShelf:
The proxy server received an invalid response from an upstream server.The proxy server could not handle the request GET /

  Are you sure? yes | no

Bob the Builder wrote 10/21/2022 at 10:06 point

Like gwvwadc , I too have been using the universal box for a good 12 months. Have had great success and should have commented ages ago. I am now getting the same error on any browser I use, Chrome, Edge and Brave. Everything else seems to work fine. 

  Are you sure? yes | no

gwvwadc wrote 10/18/2022 at 12:15 point

I'm having problems designing universal box in Firefox browser. Every time I generate a project I receive this message

Proxy Error

The proxy server received an invalid
response from an upstream server.

The proxy server could not handle the request GET /

Reason: Error reading from remote server

Apache/2.4.6 (CentOS) Server at Port 443

I have tried different settings in parameters, cleared the cache in Firefox and restarted the browser, but still have the same message appear. This doesn't happen if I am using Safari (which I am NOT a fan of).

All of the other design options appear to work correctly. 

I also should add that this problem has only recently appeared with Firefox.  I have used the universal design in the past with no problems at all.

  Are you sure? yes | no

stujen65 wrote 10/22/2022 at 22:28 point

I am getting the same issue, had it for about two to three weeks using chrome & edge. If I use safari on my Iphone I do not get the error.

  Are you sure? yes | no

dt61373 wrote 09/30/2022 at 20:10 point

Hey this Project is awesome!!, made my first sliding drawer box and now working on flex boxes.  Is there any way to get dove tail joints on the other boxes, or just the flex boxes? I love the aesthetic of dove tails.  Thanks and keep up the great work!!!

  Are you sure? yes | no

Florian Festi wrote 10/01/2022 at 19:26 point

The dovetails are only for joining flat panels and cannot create corners. This is a limitation of laser cutters - and - being 2D. As such their application is limited. The other generator that makes use of them is the JointPanel in Misc.

  Are you sure? yes | no

afbigfish wrote 09/04/2022 at 16:30 point

Ok, first I am loving this box generator.  Hoping someone can help with an issue I have.  Whenever I export the file as a DXF I get a double line with a whole bunch of extra funky lines in the corners.  When I export as an SVG its fine.  I would prefer to export directly as an DXF.  I have only had the laser for 2 days and made 2 projects but cant figure out this DXF issue. I tried all the different corner options for output and its all the same.  

  Are you sure? yes | no

Florian Festi wrote 09/07/2022 at 10:39 point

Unfortunately there is not that much that can be done. The DXF is created from the PS (postscript) output by converting it with ps2edit. If anyone can suggest a better suited tool I am happy to switch to something more reliable. Tooling in this area is a bit sparse.

  Are you sure? yes | no

Florian Festi wrote 09/21/2022 at 09:51 point

May be converting the SVG with Inkscape is an option for you: inkscape --export-type=dxf --export-extension=org.ekips.output.dxf_outlines drawing.svg

That's actually something I could add to the backend. Not sure if I want to run stuff through Inkscape on my server, though...


Final conclusion in the Inscape Forum thread was 

inkscape --actions="select-all:all;selection-ungroup;selection-ungroup;selection-ungroup;object-to-path;select-all:all;selection-ungroup" --export-type=dxf --export-filename="C:\ExportFileLocation\NewExport.dxf" --export-extension=org.ekips.output.dxf_outlines "C:\OriginalFileLocation\OriginalSVG.svg"

Not sure if this is really fitting as this wasn't about but it might give some clues on what to try.

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nir wrote 08/08/2022 at 20:09 point

Hi :) Awesome project! Really!

I think there's a bug wit the ShutterBox functions, it seems to be working only with 2/3mm thickness (I'm using the browser-based GUI). For example, using a thickness of 3.5mm leads to missing holes and more.

I'll be manually fixing the file in light-burn, but just FYI :)

  Are you sure? yes | no

Florian Festi wrote 08/10/2022 at 09:37 point

I am not quite seeing that. But in general if edges get too small the fingers don't no longer fit and are omitted. So there is a minimum size where small details still fit. But you can make finger smaller in the Finger Joint Settings. Often it is already enough to lower the surroundingspaces setting to 1 or 0.5 or even 0.0 - the default for the ShutterBox is already lowered to 0.5, though. If the finger itself is too big you can lower the finger and space settings.

  Are you sure? yes | no

nir wrote 08/10/2022 at 17:51 point

Thanks for the help! It took me a while to figure it out, but I realized the surroundingspaces is too high like you said. It works well when I lower it (checking the 'debug' mode made things weirder by the way). I think the problem was that I had to cut things on my laser before I could figure out things are off. I'll dig into the code sometime and see if I could suggest a warning message when fingers or other parts are omitted. Awesome project, well done :)

By the way, would it be okay if I post a YouTube video / article with reference to the site? (you can see my work at 

  Are you sure? yes | no

Florian Festi wrote 08/12/2022 at 13:56 point

The debug setting is more for developers who want to see if all the pieces are placed properly.

Youtube videos and instructables articles are of course very welcome. I finally need to start a page where I collect such things.

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3dkev wrote 07/24/2022 at 16:42 point

Hi, I can't get the plugin fully to work in Inkscape 1.2.1 on win 11.
I'm using the plugin from the Mightyscape plugin collection.
I can change the values such as dimensions, material thickness etc.
If I want to generate the SVG, or ask for a preview I get:

There was no C:\Users\kevin\AppData\Local\Temp\box.svg output generated. Cannot continue. Command was:
boxes angledbox --x 100 --y 100 --h 100 --outside true --bottom_edge F --n 5 --top angled hole --thickness 3 --tabs 0 --debug false --labels true --reference 100 --burn 0.1 --FingerJoint_angle 90 --FingerJoint_style rectangular --FingerJoint_surroundingspaces 2 --FingerJoint_edge_width 1 --FingerJoint_finger 2 --FingerJoint_play 0 --FingerJoint_space 2 --FingerJoint_width 1 --output C:\Users\kevin\AppData\Local\Temp\box.svg C:\Users\kevin\AppData\Local\Temp\box.svg

I already let boxes.exe run as admin, and it has writing permissions.

  Are you sure? yes | no

Florian Festi wrote 07/27/2022 at 22:20 point

I don't really have any experience with on Windows - and even less with Inkspace on Windows. You are probably best off directly asking at the Mightyscape project who's author put a significant effort into packaging for Inkscape.

  Are you sure? yes | no

ClaneSharke wrote 07/12/2022 at 14:29 point

Could we have an option for slide on lid with finger joint rails on?  similar to the card box but with the bottom rail finger jointed instead of a full panel for the bottom rail.

  Are you sure? yes | no

Florian Festi wrote 07/20/2022 at 11:27 point

This is actually a really good idea. May take a few more days to get that done, though.

  Are you sure? yes | no

Aaron wrote 06/27/2022 at 21:52 point

Hi all, I have a slight issue with the Type Tray divider/box. If I set the burn value so the outside edges are nice and tight the slots that join the continuous walls become too tight, this becomes more of an issue the bigger the box, therefore the tight joints are on multiple sliding surfaces at once, which all have to be slid at once, I would like to be able to keep the fingers tight, but there is no real value in having the wall slots super tight, it would be great if these burn values could be set independantly of the finger joint values. Thanks for reading.

  Are you sure? yes | no

Florian Festi wrote 06/28/2022 at 07:01 point

Yeah, I have run into that myself but was able to more or less force things in place. Opened a ticket upstream:

As noted there this requires more infrastructure than one might think from the outside. But that would also allow more features for the slots - like having them snap locked in place. This would be very useful for things like the TrayInsert which is currently a bit flimsy.

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Craftfoodandbeer wrote 06/22/2022 at 18:29 point

Howdy, Your tool is amazing. I make lots of acrylic and wood boxes with it, Thank you for making it. How can I add the slide on lid from the card box to a Tray Layout? That would help me make the perfect box for some hobby projects I have in mind.

  Are you sure? yes | no

Florian Festi wrote 06/26/2022 at 19:45 point

You currently can't. Either you need to write a new generator or pick and choose the parts and hole patterns from both generators. As an alternative you could glue a TrayLayout into a CardBox - may be replacing the pieces at left and right.

  Are you sure? yes | no

aidenapearce wrote 04/29/2022 at 17:19 point

Hi Florian, fantastic project. I can see a lot of uses for this tool.

One feature suggestion, or perhaps there's a setting I can't find, but it would be really nice to be able to make typetray or similar boxes with different thickness of material for the outer walls and inner dividers. For a complicated case, this could make a much smaller, and cheaper, box with sturdy sides.

  Are you sure? yes | no

Florian Festi wrote 05/01/2022 at 10:30 point

Yes, you are not the first one to make this suggestion. I guess at some point someone has to put in the work to make this happen.

  Are you sure? yes | no

Chris Davis wrote 04/20/2022 at 15:08 point

After creating a box using the web interface, when I export the image using Save as PDF, the resulting file is larger in scale, so the boxes are off by 5-10mm. Is this a common problem?

  Are you sure? yes | no

Florian Festi wrote 04/27/2022 at 06:35 point


If this doesn't explain what you are seeing please open a ticket on Git Hub with the link to the generated box:

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immztoivo wrote 04/10/2022 at 18:27 point

Hey, does not work. It just gave me an error:
Reason: Error reading from remote server

  Are you sure? yes | no

Gary Kean wrote 03/11/2022 at 23:16 point

Hey Florian,

I only recently installed and am enjoying it very much, but I have run into a weird anomaly.  

1) Whenever I build a box using the "burn" option, I get a file that some of the corners have loops instead of crisp corners, some have small curves, and still others seem square and fine. I found that if I set the "burn" option to "0.0", these problems go away. It seems, however, that that feature is very useful to allow for kerf in my designs. Any thoughts?

2) Is there any way to have the option of having different length fingers for box base (and top) perimeters and fingers for box sides? In other words, I'd like to have 5 width fingers on the floor of the box and 2 width fingers up the sides.

3) Trays - Is there any way to have consistent fingers around the base rather than having the side divided and the fingers centered on the size of the individual sections?  It would be nice to have the creation of fingers ignore the sections created inside the tray. I make mostly non-symmetrical trays and the fingers get skewed based on the size of the final sections rather than being consistently placed around the base.


  Are you sure? yes | no

Florian Festi wrote 03/19/2022 at 15:00 point


2) no, not with any of the current box generators. One way to achieve this might be frankenstein a box from two boxes with different settings by copying the finger holes or bottom edge over. 

3) no, this sort of thing might work for some edges but the walls inserted from above need to be split properly to avoid fingers hitting the perpendicular walls.

  Are you sure? yes | no

Florian Festi wrote 04/20/2022 at 10:31 point

Oh, I forgot to mention it here: I added a "inner_corners" option that allows you to choose the way those are rendered. Choosing "corner" will make those arcs disappear.

  Are you sure? yes | no

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