Getting a feel for friction fit

I am working on making a display stand for an upcoming craft show for my youngest kids “Santa Shop” which is in a few weeks. I came across the “” web site and found a DisplayShelf design, and decided to go with it. (Side note: I wanted to make a stand with a living hinge, but I am going to save that for another day since I couldn’t find anything I liked).

Here is the design I used:

I used about 2.5 sheets of PG Draftboard to make the shelf. I adjusted the dimensions a bit from the default, and entered in 3.4 for the thickness. I didn’t change the “burn” setting which I assume is the same as kerf, which was set to .1. I feel that it came out pretty well but I had to use a soft hammer (actually a pair of wire strippers I had laying around, pictured bottom right, which had rubber coating) to get everything to go together. I had no issues, but it did seem a little bit tight and I had to bang on it for a bit. If I wanted to adjust this to be looser, would I lower the .1 to 0? Or maybe .05? I have played around with kerf a little bit in AI but didn’t with this design.


Very nice job on the shelf! And I like that first quote (never judge a book by its movie).


Thanks!! I need to make a few more of those. So far, it seems like they are the most popular one. :slight_smile: I made them on thin black walnut wood, about 1.6mm thick. They work well but are a little fragile.

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Can’t help with the numbers. Maybe try making a smaller item and cutting just two pieces to test it out? I actually like the tightness of the assembly on their boxes. They look like they will be too tight, but it ends up perfect… no glue needed, but nothing breaks when you assemble them.


Thanks, that’s a good suggestion to test with a smaller sized item. Overall, I am pretty happy with how it went together, I was just worried that I would end up breaking or damaging it while I was trying to fit it together. Maybe that’s how it’s supposed to be… :slight_smile:

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not even just a smaller piece. I just copy both sides of one finger joint (one finger on one side and two from the other), add some extra cut lines to cut out two small pieces, then test that single finger piece.


My thought was that you’d have a usable item if it worked.

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Fwiw, I use the defaults and they seem to come out OK for a BB that my calipers say is really 2.9 mm. So yeah, test piece…


My goal is to use the least amount of material to test. I don’t need another small item. And I’m often using limited resources.

It’s fine. They are just two different approaches to the same problem depending on your needs and resources. :slight_smile:

On the generator, I usually use a Burn setting between .07 and .09, depending on whether I will be gluing or going for a friction fit. Higher value=tighter fit.


Awesome, thanks for the info! I will try lowering the setting next time.

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