This is a way I have used to enable one piece to ‘grab’ another without the use of a slot joint, or even a screw, nail, bolt or glue. Using a dovetail bit, a CNC router can mill a groove into plywood in which the gap at the surface is narrower than at the bottom of the groove.
With the right dimensions, it is possible to design a plywood piece which can only be put into position by bending it. This can be useful in many ways for objects assembled with plywood pieces.
Being able to draw an object in CAD is one thing, but as I wanted to use plywood milled using CNC routing, I would need to go through a few more steps before I could give the CNC router operator CAD files he could use.
The decision to use plywood milled by CNC routing has implications at every stage of the design. The fact that plywood is a sheet material means that I’ll have to break it down into parts that assemble together. It feels like I have to put my IKEA thinking cap on and work out a flat-pack arrangement of parts and the order they should be assembled. I need to become the cartoon man in the IKEA instructions.
If you are familiar with routers and electric drills as woodworking tools, then you can imagine a Computer Numerical Control (CNC) router as one of these attached to a robot arm. You can program this arm to cut a material (like plywood) along the lines you want by preparing a CAD file formatted in a certain way. But first, I'll explain a bit more about CNC routers based on what I've learned so far with the CNC routing company I use, and how I found this company in the first place.