Thursday 18 June 2015

Laser Cut Shipping Container Build

Last year I designed a shipping container kit so that I could build some terrain for my Across The Dead Earth games.

I know there are already plenty of companies out there that produce shipping container kits, but none of them really worked for me. some are far too simplistic, others are too sci-fi, I wanted plenty of detail and containers that can reasonablypass for 20th century onwards...

This is how the kit goes together...

 Asyou can see there are quite a few parts, for what is basically a box...

The first part of construction is putting together the sides and the top. The two square frames go at either end and basically hold the whole thing together.

Once I had glued the two sides on I immediately glued the top in place.

 Once the top is settled in I used a couple of rubber bands to hold the structure together while the glue dried.

 Next up I glued the inner walls into place.

These clamps were pretty much essential throughout the build.

 Once the sides had dried I glued the inner roof in place.

 For the back of the container it proved easier to glue the two parts of the wall together before assembly.

I made the back wall a simple push fit. Simply run a little glue around the inside of the frame.

 A snug fit in the back frame.

Next I glued the base of the container in place.

This completes the main structural build, only leaving the doors to finish off.

Each door is made up of four parts.

Firstly you need to glue the two door plates together. I found running glue across the doors like this to be the best way.

When the two pieces go together it is important to line up the holes. Turn the doors over and insert the two small U shaped pieces, there should be enough glue already in the holes to retain them.

Then put them aside to let the glue set.

At this point I found I can put the doors in position on the containers and they will stay in place quite nicely. They are designed to be positioned either open or closed. I assume that most will be glued shut, but it is nice to have the option of an open container...

Once the doors are in place, take two cocktail sticks and side them though. Mark the length with a pencil.

Cutting the sticks can be done in several ways. If you are in a hurry, a pair of sprue cutters (wire cutters) will do the job reasonably well, otherwise a fine saw or even a sharp knife will do...

When I designed the kit I left the handles in a small frame as they are so small they are easily lost.

Cut them out with a sharp knife.

Glue them in position as you see fit...

That's it the container is finished. I could have made them simpler to assemble but I wanted to get a reasonably accurate 3D effect with the walls and also the doors, so this seems like a fair compromise.


  1. This looks awesome but are you selling them?

    1. I am going to sell at £10 for 2 containers...

  2. Replies
    1. Yes,

      £10 for 2 plus shipping.

      Email me at ironmammoth AT gmail DOT com

  3. Do you sell the plan somewhere so I can make these with my kids?

    1. Unfortunately, I sold the design for this kit a couple of years ago.

  4. would you consider sharing/selling the plans/file that you must still have if still making them..i'd like to make a few for sons train set, even though would have to re-size them..

    1. I sold the design off to a company several years ago, so I no-longer have the rights to sell this design.


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