By the looks of your scarred hands covered in dried glue and scabs, I’m guessing you like to cut up a few sheet of cardboard here and there for building models or, just for fun. Although those wounds are part of the joy (and looks of disgust when you shake someone’s hand), there are less violent ways to cut and trim cardboard. Our fav design modeler, Jude Pullen, is at it again, but this time he shows you how to make a tool to help in the cardboard cutting craft, with a 3D printed Card Rabbet Tool, to make the cleanest cuts for a super secure joint.

Cutting Rabbet/Rebate Joints

One look at Jude Pullen’s website and you know it’s all about creating mock-ups and concepts using cardboard. He’s done it for YEARS. (Hear our interview with Jude.) So, the guy knows what is needed to get the job done quickly. Among the various tools for Design Modeling, the Rabbet Tool combines two tools together for cutting cardboard at the perfect depth, saving you loads of time and from slipping that scalpel over the ruler edge, into your nubbins.

Along with cutting cardboard, Jude also found it works great for foam-core, Styrofoam and Correx. Apparently, if it’s flat and can be sliced, it gets the job done. Here’s a explanation from Jude about how he came up with the clever, little tool.

YouTube video

And wouldn’t you know it, Jude has an Instructable that shows you how to make the Rabbet tool. 10 Steps in total, he offers up the SolidWorks (+ STL) files for modification and 3d printing, tips on materials and printing, with sources for the magnets and scalpels you’ll need.

Jude uses an UP! Plus 3D printer, feeding 1.75mm diameter ABS through its extruder over 40 minutes to create the two pieces that are held together with press-fit bolts. Once your fully assembled, you’re a cardboard box away from making joints like pro. If you have ideas on modifications, variations or improvements, I’m sure Jude would love to hear it in the comments. And, if you want to skip the printing altogether, you can purchase the print via Shapeways.








Josh is founder and editor at, founder at Aimsift Inc., and co-founder of EvD Media. He is involved in engineering, design, visualization, the technology making it happen, and the content developed around it. He is a SolidWorks Certified Professional and excels at falling awkwardly.