Multi-Layer Boxes Using Toothpicks for Alignment

With this Covid-19 Stay-At-Home thing, and with inspiration from evansd2 (Layered Offset Box), here are two layered boxes using round toothpicks for alignment between layers. Evansd2 attained better alignment precision using brass rod, but toothpicks were available and easy to work with.

Holes were cut in all layers for alignment except for top and bottom layers. Alignment pits were engraved in these pieces so no alignment devices were invisible for the closed boxes. Outside diameter is 3.2 inches.

The Covid-19 thing: My Glowforge has been a real lifesaver for driving fun projects and producing amazing precision-made objects. I’m a really old guy in a retirement facility and so appreciative of the machine, the support from the company, and especially the community. Thank you all for inspiration and help.


There were four jpgs but only one shows. I have no idea how to fix this.???

That’s great! Glad to hear you can have your GF there, you must be a hit with other residents!


Try putting an ‘enter’ between each one (in front of the ‘!’)

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Thank you! Can’t keep up with all the IT stuff …

You can edit your original post - click the pencil in the lower right of the ‘box’ around it.


Great work, I love the designs and the clever lid aligner.


Nice idea to use toothpicks. Wonderful outcomes!

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Very, very nice result.

I have found barbecue skewers to be great for many such applications. They are bamboo so quite strong over their length. Not exactly precision but close enough for anything I have done. I have the common 1/8", and less common 1/4" diameter and some cut square if I don’t want rotation.

They make exceptional wooden hinges and I suppose alignment pins as they are far more consistent over their length than toothpicks.


Amazing and great designs. Thank you for sharing and stay safe.

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Bamboo sounds good! My toothpicks were available in dining room (before it closed). Diameter about 0.075 inches.

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Using Toothpicks is clever. I’ve used brass pins, but this is a good alternative.


Even though they are not quite round, by the time they are forced through 0.070 hole (plus kerf), they allow pretty good alignments.

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Easier to sand too!

Yes! For top and bottom layers which use short stubs to locate in engraved pits for alignment, the stubs have sanded rounded tops.

These Bamboo are 0.196" and 0.114" for about 9 " before tapering to a sharp point.

I have a sample of fiberglass rebar about 0.25 that is a lot stronger and seems like it augh to have some good use.

Ohhhh … you’ve been busy! Excellent projects!