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Picture of A4 Suspension Filing Drawer
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This is an Ikea "SNACK" box hack. A perfect upgrade from that tiny filing box with a flimsy handle that you used as a student; this filing drawer rolls along the ground and can sit unobtrusively under a bench or shelf.

I recently decided that I would transfer all my files to a hanging/suspension system. However, I didn't want a tall 4 drawer filing cabinet, and despite much searching - I found nothing in the UK that fitted my requirements of being low profile, modular and expandable. I discovered several (expensive) "Filing Benches" in the US that looked good, but despite toying with the idea of making something similar - I thought I would leave it to someone with superior woodworking skills.

So this is what I settled on - A very sturdy, mobile filing system made with simple techniques that require very little DIY skill.

Have fun playing with the design - I welcome improvements and suggestions. If you make something similar - I'd be really interested to see your take on it.

Enjoy my first instructable!
 
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Step 1: Tools Needed

Picture of Tools Needed
Drill
Drill Bits
Wood Saw
Hacksaw
Measuring Tape
Hammer
Clamps
Chisel
Screwdriver
Set Square
Wood Glue
Nails (panel pins)
Screws

Step 2: Materials Needed

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33mm x 33mm Wooden Baton
(this is a standard size in the UK - i'm sure something similar can be substituted)

Cut four 255mm lengths :
- Measure & mark batons with measuring tape, pencil and set square.
- Affix batons to solid surface with two clamps - I used the edge of my kitchen table, but whatever you use will get damaged.
- Cut batons to length using wood saw.

Assorted Screws

"RILL" castors from Ikea

20mm x 4mm Steel Rod
(I bought 2 x 2metre lengths which allows me to make 3 boxes with some spare)

"SNACK" box from Ikea (56cm x 37cm x30cm)

Step 3: Construct "SNACK" box

Picture of Construct "SNACK" box
Skillfully assemble your "SNACK" box as per mr. Ikea's instructions.

You can paint the plywood first if you want.

If you're feeling strangely peckish - you can have a snack of some description, maybe even a cup of tea. :)

Step 4: Cut Metal Rod to Size

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Cut 2 x 542mm "rails" from your steel rod

- Measure with tape and mark using set square and pencil.

- Fix rod to table using two clamps

- Cut rod with hacksaw. It will take ages & get hot.

- Get rid of rough edges (preferably with a metal file - although I didn't have one so used the sharpening stone from my chisel set)

Step 5: Measure & mark slot location on batons

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This part is a bit fiddly. You need to work out how far apart the rails need to be by holding up a suspension file. For my A4 files (the SNACK boxes are too narrow for foolscap) the rails need to be approx 345mm apart.

For the batons I was using - I worked out that 19mm from one side of the baton is where the slot should start, and it should end 4mm later (that being the thickness of the rod).

So work out where they should be & mark the slots with a pencil.

Step 6: Cut slot into batons

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Use any method that works to get the wood out & remove small amounts at a time - constantly checking to see whether the rod slots into the baton nicely.


I drilled, then chiseled, then hacksawed my batons into submission. They loved it really.

Step 7: Glue and clamp the top of batons

Picture of Glue and clamp the top of batons
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Use wood glue along two sides of each baton & press into place.

Clamp at top of baton and wedge remnant pieces of wood to push in the bottom.

Watch the glue ooze out from the edges.

Step 8: Nail batons with panel pins

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Whack a couple panel pins into each baton from the outside of the box.

The screws on the other side of the box will scratch whatever they are resting on - so protect the surface if you care about it, or someone will probably shout at you.

Mind your delicate digits!

Step 9: Clamp/Wedge batons into postition until glue dries

Picture of Clamp/Wedge batons into postition until glue dries
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Clamp batons in as secure a fashion as you can manage.

As you can see - I have used a whole assortment of objets de'lying-around to wedge in and achieve a nice strong bond between the glue and the wood.

I left each baton to dry for an hour or so.

I also drank lots of tea.

Step 10: Attach castors & slot in metal rods/rails

Picture of Attach castors & slot in metal rods/rails
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Drill pilot holes with very small drill bit into squares on the base of the "SNACK" box.

Use narrow screws to avoid splintering the layers of laminated plywood - I opted for No4's at 3/4" long.

Attach "RILL" castors.

An electric screwdriver could be a godsend here. I prefer to use a ratcheting one since it give me slightly more control, but makes the whole thing slightly less tiring.

Slot the steel rods in - and hey presto, you have rails for hanging files on!

Step 11: Bask in the glory of your finished filing drawer!

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Admire your handiwork. Marvel at its ability to glide effortlessly over a multitude of floor coverings.

You could put some folders in there - and who knows, maybe even file some of those teetering stacks of paper.

But thats probably for another day. :)
TN7771 year ago
This is a fantastic first instructable. My first was AWFUL.
alanemartin3 years ago
Another thought...drill the through-hole at the bottom of the slot, then saw down each side. The waste should fall right out.
Finally a use for things from Ikea. And somewhere to organise my paperwork. Good work!
colinquerty6 years ago
Brilliant! Nice idea n v clear instructiones.
KoalaElf (author)  colinquerty6 years ago
Thanks for your comment Colin, you are officially my first commenter on Instructables. _
ellarodgers6 years ago
Hi Koala! I've made one and it will probably make me (bit) more organised! Thanks for the Instructable. from Ella
KoalaElf (author)  ellarodgers6 years ago
I'm glad it was of use to you Ella, good luck with the being organised bit (thats the part I always struggle with!)