Laser Cutter Turns Scrapped To Shipped

We’ll go way out on a limb here and say you’ve probably got a ridiculous amount of flattened cardboard boxes. We’re buying more stuff online than ever before, and all those boxes really start to add up. At the least we hope they’re making it to the recycling bin, but what about reusing them? Surely there’s something you could do with all those empty shipping boxes…

Here’s a wild idea…why not use them to ship things? But not exactly as they are, unless you’re in the business of shipping big stuff, the probably won’t do you much good as-is. Instead, why not turn those big flattened cardboard boxes into smaller, more convenient, shippers? That’s exactly what [Felix Rusu] has done, and we’ve got to say, it’s a brilliant idea.

[Felix] started by tracing the outline of the USPS Priority Small Flat Rate Box, which was the perfect template as it comes to you flat packed and gets folded into its final shape. He fiddled with the design a bit, and in the end had a DXF file he could feed into his 60W CO2 laser cutter. By lowering the power to 15% on the fold lines, the cutter is even able to score the cardboard where it needs to fold.

Assuming you’ve got a powerful enough laser, you can now turn all those Amazon Prime boxes into the perfect shippers to use when your mom finally makes you sell your collection of Yu-Gi-Oh! cards on eBay. Otherwise, you can just use them to build a wall so she’ll finally stay out of your side of the basement.

[Thanks to Adrian for the tip.]

25 thoughts on “Laser Cutter Turns Scrapped To Shipped

    1. The flat rate boxes include the box with the cost of shipping, but that lets them price shipping by geometry (up to a rather high weight limit).

      It may well be cheaper to use something that’s the same size of the flat rate box but not have to pay the flat rate.

      1. The cost/benefit cross point is normally 3 lbs for the flat rate boxes. The regional rates are always better depending on the distance at 2 lbs, depending on the distance. And under 16oz, first class is always cheaper. But priority gives free insurance up to $50 (or $100 if you get commercial plus discounts). Bare minimum look for commercial base discounts (basic ebay, PayPal, usps online rate)

        1. Should’ve read the whole thread, [blarsblarson] already answered that they are printed on the inside. I guess I’ve always been too excited about my newly-arrived goodies to look at the inside of the box carefully.

      1. Yeah you could use those but I use ones from store bought pizza take it out of the freezer through away the disposable tat and keep the card, a “fresh” pizza that isnt far too big and expensive straight out of my Microwave/grill in 13 mins …well before the pizza man would be delivering

    1. The inside has “USPS Priority Shipping only” written all over it to prevent their being used for other services. For what I ship, the other sizes are more useful. I use a lot of “Regional Rate A1” boxes to ship via USPS Priority mail. USPS has a lot of sizes and shapes available free via their web site, not just the well known flat rate ones.

  1. I tried this for a product run, and the main issue I had was the smell. The smell of burnt cardboard did not dissipate as quickly as I thought, and was a complaint I got not only from my customers, but also the folks I share a shop with.


    1. Yes, when you aren’t able to have ideal settings, the smell can linger for a while. I am lucky to have a 75 watt Epilog Legend and we cut cardboard all the time, clean as a whistle and almost no odor after an hour in fresh air. One trick we have learned is always cut at full power and use speed adjustments to reduce the impact on the material. Typical corrugated cardboard is usually cut at 100% power, 70% speed. Edges usually don’t even show signs of char.

      1. Yes high speed and control the power is the best way for most things …slower the speed more heat is transfered into the piece and the greater the warping or just plain fire!! ;-)

  2. There are large commercial systems that do this from fanfold corrugated stock. You put it in a measuring jig (works on bar codes, of all things – you read the bar just visible at the edge) and out comes the box blank. Not nearly as fast as mass-manufacture, but if you’re doing mixed units, it’s pretty cool.

    This is one of several manufacturers:

  3. Keep in mind, this won’t guarentee valuables even if you packed it amazingly. if they don’t have the tare-weight edge crush etc.. information, even if your mail carrier drove a forklift through your package and you paid extra for insurance, they will deny your claim. This is how I lost my guitar, UPS drove a forklift through it and denied my mangled guitar.

    I also had a rare NES sharp tv sent to me via USPS (insured for 2200 dollars) and because it was sent with a box that had the stamp, but was “modified” (made smaller but otherwise the same as the original), they denied the insurance. Long story short you can buy insurance, you can have them personally ship it, but without the info stamp, or you modify the box in any way, you say bu bye to and insurance, even if paid for.

  4. I work at a company that sells tractor parts. We use so many boxes that although your cutter could reuse some, it still generates waste. Its also a hastle to sort. The real problem is that our waste stream is unusable cause you have to pay someone to sort the pile and do something with it. It’s heavy and wind catches boxes. You bundle it and gets wet outside. Granted a new box design that eliminates waste might work better. You may get some resell out if this idea. But understand cardboard differs in strength and type box to box. We get thin cardboard, hexbord and hard cardstock. It’s a huge pile.

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