My wife and I are currently in the process of building a new home. We have plans of moving into a neighborhood we love, into a house that we had the chance to design from the ground up. For me, my greatest concern is having to mow the lawn every week, but my wife has another worry. She has been losing sleep over the fact that she has no idea how to set her closet up. Perhaps it’s a typical concern for women, or perhaps my wife is just over thinking things, but she literally has thrown out dozens of ideas for shelving systems, and none of them have seemed to meet her needs. That may have just changed though, with the introduction of an open source 3D printable design called Moidules.
Moidules are the brainchild of Milla Niskakoski, a Finnish design student currently working toward her master’s degree in product design in Seoul, South Korea. She apparently also has experienced the fright and terror of having to set up shelves in a closet…or bedroom…or garage…or anywhere else that requires custom storage.
“I’ve been always a very hands-on person in design and I love making stuff and DIY,” Niskakoski tells 3DPrint.com. “If I can make it, I don’t need to buy it. That’s why many of my design projects originate from a personal need for something. That’s also how the Moidules project started. I live a tiny apartment in the city centre of Seoul and I wanted to design it as functional as possible to make it feel bigger and organised. I needed a very special sized shelf to make use of the space between the sink and the fridge. I could have just screwed some pieces of MDF together but I wanted to make it more interesting and got the idea of 3D-printable moidules.”
So the idea was there for custom, modular 3D printed shelving, but the tricky part was designing all of the elements. Luckily for Niskakoski, she had become very familiar with 3D printing as a graduate student. She started out printing her first Moidules and then played around with their dynamics a bit. After creating several prototypes and designs, she found the perfect size that she thought would work best. As one will notice, Modidules are quite massive when compared to other available shelving modules on the market. There is actually a reason for this.
“Firstly, as they have more surface to grab the boards you don’t really need any glue or screws to make the shelf sturdy,” Niskakoski tells us. “Secondly, I wanted to emphasize the 3D printed parts instead of trying to hide them. As interesting as it is to have your bookshelf 3D printed I wanted them to get the spotlight in the visuals of the assembled system.”
So far Niskakoski has created six different Moidules which are all free to download on Thingiverse. These include a corner piece, side piece, middle piece, and 3 different leg pieces. They allow for anyone with a 3D printer or access to a 3D printer to create shelving that meets their exact needs. Niskakoski compares them to LEGOs, and that may just be the perfect comparison. She actually designed them with hopes of cutting down much of the manufacturing process required for typical shelves that people buy at the store.
“Modular shelving systems have been around for decades, so I’m not claiming that Moidules are a new groundbreaking design,” she explains. “But what is new in this is the way they are delivered to the final consumer. An ordinary bookshelf is first designed by a designer, then produced in a factory and shipped to a distribution centre. Next it’s shipped to the store which can be on the other side of the world. There, the final user finally buys the bookshelf and gets it delivered to their home. Sometimes the bookshelf might have traveled around the world before standing in your living room. This consumes a lot of natural resources. 3D printers allow us to skip all the shipping and jump directly from a designer to the final consumer. This is ground breaking and is the future of designer-consumer relationship.”
Moidules don’t require any glue or screws, thus making assembly and disassembly a breeze. They can work quite nicely with both small and medium sized installations, and can be used with MDF, plywood, or other typical shelving materials. With tall bookshelves, Niskakoski recommends adding in an X-shaped supporting structure to the back of the shelf to make it more stable.
Niskakoski hopes to further the development of Moidules as soon as she gets some more time. However, she also wants to see others innovate upon her deign to create new Moidules and advance the system further.
“I felt like Moidules were too good to keep for myself so I decided to share them with the rest of the world. I worked a bit on branding and images to make Moidules something more special and attractive,” she tells us. “I’m waiting to see pictures of assembled Moidules bookshelves from around the world, in new colours and new designs, and I hope other designers get inspired, create and share accessories and new types of Moidules to let the project I started [begin to] have a life of its own.”
I know for sure, that I will certainly be building some shelves for my wife when we finally move into our new home. I have run the idea by her, and she seems very intrigued. What do you think about this intuitively designed shelving system?