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Design Principle System 32

Updated: Oct 28, 2021

32 mm cabinetmaking system

The 32 mm cabinetmaking system is a furniture construction and manufacturing principle used in the production of Ready-to-assemble and European-style, frameless construction custom cabinets and other furniture. The system is in wide use globally, partly owing to IKEA using some of its elements (principally the 32 mm shelf support holes) in its furniture. Characteristics are the columns of 5 mm holes on 32 mm centers. In addition to the 32 mm standard.

The system was developed by fitting, machine and furniture manufacturers, and serves to standardize both component dimensions and production processes. The design features are:

  • Distance of the holes in the row of holes = 32 mm

  • Diameter of the holes = 5 mm and 8 mm

  • Distance of the front row of holes to the front edge = 37 mm

The system includes matching fittings, with which furniture sides can be secured to floors, walls, and adjacent cabinets. Other fittings are available for door, drawer guides, clothes racks, floor racks, and other features, and typically mount into one or more of the 5 mm holes otherwise used to support shelf brackets.

Advantages of this system include:

  • Distance from the first hole to the bottom side of the cabinet = Distance from the last hole to the top of the cabinet top: Simplification of setting up single row drilling machines

  • Distance of the rear row of holes to the rear edge = 37 mm, which does not require retooling of the drilling machine

  • Distance of the rear row of holes to the inner edge Back wall = 37 mm, which facilitates the assembly of rear wall supports

  • Distance between the two rows of holes = multiple of 32 mm, which facilitates the assembly of drawer guide

It is claimed that the system was developed after the end of World War II in order to help speed reconstruction of the vast number of buildings destroyed during the war, that the spacing was decided upon because that was the closest that multiple drill bits on a line boring machine could be placed, because of the size of the gears then available.

Download our .PDF Guide on the design principle System 32:

Principle 32
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