My First MDF Design – A Brother Scan N Cut Workstation

March 4, 2018 — 50 Comments

Well hello there! In the last few weeks, I have been exploring the world of MDF, more specifically, designing for laser cutting and creating DIY construction kits.

In this post, I will share with you that journey and the result!

Before I begin, let me tell you that I have included so many images that I have had to split this post over 3 pages so when you get to the end of this page, just use the handy page number links to skip onto the next page.

So, to the beginning of this design adventure!

Well, I decided some time ago that I wanted to create a platform for my Scan N Cut machine that would offer me several benefits.

Those were:

  1. A stable and level platform to use my machine on without having to use it on a table.
  2. A stable and level platform for the mat to run on at the front and back.
  3. A place to store accessories and mats.

So, I started the design process in Microsoft 3D Builder, a free 3D design tool bundled with Windows 10.

This software isn’t very technical but my goal was to work in three dimensions so that I could understand where parts connected and what dimensions would work.

A wee bit of tinkering later and I had my first draft.

DIY Brother Scan N Cut Workstation (16)

Great to see it in 3D as I can zoom and pan around to check it all out.

Now to start mapping out the pieces in Adobe Illustrator. The reason that I chose to work in Illustrator was that it is the perfect and most professional tool for creating vector drawings which, when it came to last cutting, would be essential.

One thing crossed my mind at this point and this was that I didn’t know what size the MDF sheets would be that would be used to cut the design so I went on the hunt for a laser cutting company that did custom cutting services and found

Not only were they able to help with information on the sheet size but they were able to offer help on design parameters for submitting designs for cutting.

Armed with this information I returned to Illustrator and got plotting. *copious mouse clicking ensues.

Several attempts, and a little bit of swearing later, I again had a first draft of the cutting file.

Because of the size of the project that I was planning I had to spread this across two sheets of MDF.

DIY Brother Scan N Cut Workstation (18)

Lines marked up as appropriate and files exported it was time to send this off to Laser Smith and get it cut!

What seemed like an incredibly speedy turnaround, especially considering the snow, there was a knock at my door and there stood a delivery guy with a large package in hand!

Stop sniggering you, naughty people.

No, it was this!

DIY Brother Scan N Cut Workstation (1)

How piggin’ exciting!

Now, where the heck did I put my special parcel opening scissors? FYI, they are just the bog standard pair that I often think that I have stored in the kitchen drawers but often find somewhere else having used them to open some package or other.

After only a minor hunt as, oddly, I found them in the kitchen drawers (?!) and I was hacking away at the packaging with gay abandon.

DIY Brother Scan N Cut Workstation (2)

The aroma of laser-cut MDF filled the air and I inhaled and exhaled at the joyful scent and the thought of putting together some flat pack. *happy sigh.

Double checking that all of the ‘bits’ were there, I grabbed my tacky glue and set to work.

Step 1. Glue in the support struts and then the middle shelf.

DIY Brother Scan N Cut Workstation (3)

Step 2. Stick the sides and centre panels on. A little trickier as there were various tabs and slots to line up but it went together well.

DIY Brother Scan N Cut Workstation (4)

DIY Brother Scan N Cut Workstation (5)

Step 3. Stick on the front and back panels.

DIY Brother Scan N Cut Workstation (6)

Almost done.

Step 4. Insert the tray tops, no glue this time as these will be removable so that I can access the storage trays, hence the finger holes – designed especially for podgey digits like mine.

DIY Brother Scan N Cut Workstation (7)

Construction complete!

Time to see if it lived up to the three pre-requisites that I had designed it for…


50 responses to My First MDF Design – A Brother Scan N Cut Workstation

    Mrs Hilda Elsey June 5, 2018 at 5:30 pm

    May I just say “bloody brilliant” no seriously it’s an excellent idea. I would use all my scrap pieces colour it a beautiful red. Don’t forget to let us know when you will be selling them 🤗

    Liked by 1 person


    John, you and this design is better than excellent..I do hope that we are going to see this for sale SOON..I’m joining the que..xx

    Liked by 1 person

    Caroline Morrell March 6, 2018 at 12:01 am

    You are so talented John and an inspiration to us all. I would decorate mine with some craft inspired images and scrolls from the Scan n Cut.

    I would love to buy one of these from you when you have had chance to use it and see if it needs any modifications.

    Look forward to seeing your updates on how you decorate it and a video of you using it👍😊

    Liked by 1 person


    Mr creative! You should be very proud of yourself as this is an awsome idea! Well done you! X

    Liked by 1 person

    Loraine Bunce March 5, 2018 at 5:07 pm

    Can’t wait to see what it looks like !



    Brilliant idea John…there is definitely a need for this me thinks! Well done and can’t wait to see it completely finished x

    Liked by 1 person


    You are an inspiration John a very clever guy this is genious you sure will get plenty of orders for this x

    Liked by 1 person


    Whoo Hoo! Clever clogs ;-P I love it! Well done you xx

    Liked by 1 person

    Dawn Robinson March 4, 2018 at 9:41 pm

    Wow, this is amazing John! When can we buy them – bet I’m not the only one who’d be in the queue😀 And the storage space is brilliant! Lasersmith are great – I’ve bought a lot of their MDF products.



    i think you shoukd decorate with some of the designs from the machine, like the paint brush and pot, in different colours and a rainbow of course, or all girly with flowers from the machine,

    Liked by 1 person


    bloody hell John your brain has been working overtime, so when do we see it for sale on Create and Craft? May be Stephanie will take it on as a mass production unit.

    Liked by 1 person


    Just WOW, John :)

    Liked by 1 person


    Fantastic idea, I neeeed one of these

    Liked by 1 person


    Your amazing. X

    Liked by 1 person


    I neeeeeed one of these, especially if I can store my 12 x 24 mats inside. Well thought out, you can tell it was designed by a crafter, because it covers all of the bases. I think you should make your logo in scan n cut & cut it in vinyl.

    Liked by 1 person


    That’s a great idea a place for everything (scanncut bits and bobs) and everything in it’s place I would love to have one maybe two one for the scanncut and one for my cameo 3 you have such great ideas

    Liked by 1 person


    Brilliant idea! Well done! It might be an idea to decoupage the lids with clocks, watches, cogs etc as this machine saves us so much time, though I would be tempted to zentangle it. Liz X

    Liked by 1 person

    Sally McCornack March 4, 2018 at 6:09 pm

    That….is…..AMAZING…..want one does not even cover just how many of these would sell overnight. Any chance we will be able to order them in the future?

    Liked by 1 person


    You have such a wonderful creative mind love this idea john by the way I currently store my SnC mats by hanging from back of craftroom have kept them in original plastic bag covering and hang with plastic trouser hanger

    Let us know when you have your idea available

    Liked by 1 person


    I’m definitely in the queue!! Mx

    Liked by 1 person


    I want one too 🙂 How about decorating to match the design on the Scanncut?

    Liked by 1 person

    Hazel Burwell March 4, 2018 at 5:21 pm

    Well done John, this is great just what us scan n cutters are looking for.Storage is always a problem for 12×12 mats.

    Liked by 1 person


    Excellent. I would buy one. You’re so clever😁

    Liked by 1 person


    Well I am very impressed. Laser Smith is about 10 mins from me. Well don’t think it’s a franchise…. Had I known they were cutting something for you I would have popped in to see what was going on!
    I love your design and it would be so useful so put me down for one. You really are a clever crafter! 😜 Plz

    Liked by 1 person


    Great design job John, you are such a clever chap xx hazel

    Liked by 1 person

    Sheryl Carman March 4, 2018 at 4:37 pm

    Brilliant. Love the design, and of course want one…NOW!!!!! Seriously though John, will they be available? Love the storage, especially for mats

    Liked by 1 person


    John this is amazing!!! I too would love to purchase a unit like this for my machine… but I live in the US and just the shipping alone would kill me. BUT I am so impressed!!!

    I do keep my sNc on it’s own table… however, ‘stuff’ tends to build up around it.

    Liked by 1 person


    Brilliant With my limited space I can’t use the 12 x 24 mats so hurry up and get it sorted!

    Liked by 1 person


    Brilliant John, would be interested as soon as you launch it for real.

    Liked by 1 person


    What a great idea. You’re onto a winner. Well done.

    Liked by 1 person


    What a brilliant idea. I think you have come up with a winner. I would definitely buy one if you decide to sell them.


    Handmade By Deborah March 4, 2018 at 3:41 pm

    Brilliant John – you have another interested party if you manage to build in using the 12×24 mat :)

    Liked by 1 person


    Thank you. I would definitely be interested in buying one, if you do decide to manufacture. xx

    Liked by 1 person


    I’m impressed. You never cease to amaze me, in fact I would go as far as very impressed. What overall size is it, or have I floated past measurements without taking it in? xx

    Liked by 1 person


    It’s great thinking John, looks amazing. Can you use this also on a stool?
    I just wrote in the free svg file post that I wanted to use the file to make a stencil of it, perhaps you can do also and use it for decoration of this great workstation!

    Liked by 1 person


    Wow that’s impressive John! Perhaps you could look at designing one for a Big Shot at some point in the future? 😉

    Liked by 1 person

    Alison Starling March 4, 2018 at 2:34 pm

    Brilliant idea John will there be an MDF section soon on your shop site please???



    Oh and PS how about two extra platform boxes that are loose and could be added when cutting/scanning 24 length mats? or would these not be needed?

    Liked by 1 person


    Well im loving your design very well thought out

    Liked by 1 person


    John are you going to sell these please? Because this is EXACTLY what I have been looking for.

    Liked by 1 person

Trackbacks and Pingbacks:

  1. Take Risks And Stay Curious – An MDF Design From Concept To Completed Creation « Gentleman Crafter - March 23, 2018

    […] you may have seen in my recent My First MDF Design – A Brother Scan N Cut Workstation blog post, I have finally got around to […]


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