Introduction: Electronics Components Storage Cabinet II

An earlier project accommodated a lot of my components, but there were still a lot stored in larger plastic cases which needed a home.

So I built a cabinet to hold those cases. For other reasons, I wanted a slightly taller case, so I made room in the bottom for a bench PSU.

Sizings (in metric I'm afraid):-

Each case was 380mm wide
Each case was 65mm tall
The PSU is 160mm high

The plywood was 18mm thick
The aluminium extrusions I used to hold the cases were 4mm thick.

In sizing, I allowed 3mm elbow room per case on height and width to allow for ease of withdrawal, leaving the finished cabinet with external dimensions of 700x430x340 (HxWxD)

Step 1: Making the Carcass

This project took about a quarter of a sheet of ply. It was CD grade, so making sure that the ugliest bits were hidden took a bit of thought.

The wood was varnished before I started cutting, with the expectation that I would need to touch it up once everything was assembled.

After I'd cut the pieces, I stacked them together to do a quick sanity check that the cases would fit. Better to find out sooner than later if there's a horrible problem. In this case, there wasn't. Nor was there an earthquake while the boards were so precariously balanced.

Once that was checked, I paired the sides in workmate and used a router to cut a rebate to allow the back panel to be fitted. Repeat for the top and base, but don't cut the rebate all the way to the corner.

Then assemble the sides, top and bottom with glue and countersunk screws.

Finally do a last check that the diagonals are equal, then fit the back into the rebated space for it and glue and screw.

Step 2: Rails - and Why Bees Are Your Buddies

Measure the length needed for the aluminium rails on which the cases will sit. I cut them with a 45 degree angle so that they looked less harsh from the front.

After cutting with an angle-grinder, there are a lot of rough edges around. They can be smoothed off with a medium file.

As a learning from the previous cabinet, aluminium is easy to file, but it does clog the tool up quite badly. Rubbing a stick of beeswax on the file before you set to the metal will make it a lot easier to clean up afterwards. Use a brass wire-brush to avoid damaging your file.

Once the aluminium could be handled without ripping my hands, I used a drill press to put a couple of holes in each piece for the screws which would hold it to the cabinet sides. I discovered here that putting a waste bin underneath the drill platform meant that most of the swarf dropped right in, which was a big time saver in the clean-up.

Once the pieces were ready, they were fixed to the wood at the right spacing with some pan-head stainless steel screws.

Step 3: Covering the Exposed End Grain

Previously I had just varnished over the cut end of ply, but I wanted something neater here, so I used the rebate bit to cut a 2mm chunk, and then glued a strip of gum over the end. This is quite a slow process as there are twelve exposed edges, and some need to be done sequentially.

Once the glue on a piece was dry (I usually let it cure for 24 hours) then I'd plane it down flush until it felt smooth. I wasn't too bothered about damaging the varnish already on the wood as I was expecting to do touch-up, but I was careful to not go right through the surface ply.

Masking tape was useful in a couple of places. A strip along the line which the ball-bearing on the router bit ran helped to protect the wood, while it was also useful as a very temporary clamp to hold the veneer and the caul in place while clamps were attached. Speed clamps are speedy, but only compared to more traditional designs: not when compared to the speed at which things fall.

Step 4: Finishing

The exposed screw heads were driven home an extra little bit and then wood filler was used to smooth over the top.

Once that had cured, it was sanded smooth and then the cabinet wiped clean of dust and grease with a turpentine damped rag.

Since I wanted to varnish all faces of the cabinet at one time, I backed out four of the screws in the base about half an inch. After the base was given a coat of varnish, the cabinet was put right-way-up and the remaining surfaces were fixed up while it stood on the projecting screws.

Once that, and the subsequent coat, dried it was all good to load up and use.

Comments

author
JETDRIVER1955 (author)2017-03-26

g'day I use similar TacTix containers from Bunnings here in Queensland.

Cheap, good quality and very handy for lots of storage. They stack well, but you have given me an idea now to make easier access to them on my radio workbench. I have never seen those long Aluminium Sash Clamps before. Not here in OZ. Where did you get them, would be interested in how they compare in price to the original " T- shape " cast iron ones.

author
japa62 (author)JETDRIVER19552017-03-27

Carbatec in Wakerley have them. $69 inc GST. https://www.carbatec.com.au/clamping-vices-and-wor...

author
JETDRIVER1955 (author)japa622017-03-27

Thanks very much for the link to Carbatec. Have been on that site a few times never went to clamps though.

author
Alex in NZ (author)JETDRIVER19552017-06-17

Someone else has what looks to be exactly the same clamps. Not only that, but they have written an instructable about a useful hack for them!

Extend the vice jaws

author
Alex in NZ (author)JETDRIVER19552017-03-26

Good luck with your project!

The clamps were bought about twelve years ago from a company called The Tool Shed. They don't seem to have anything similar now, but similar ones (which look a lot better quality) are sold by Dieter Schmid. The ones I bought were labelled "Aircraft Clamps" but googling that doesn't throw up anything useful. I do remember that mine were about fifteen bucks NZ apiece at the time, which was a lot cheaper than the iron clamps.

They are great for clamping the edging strips on, but they won't put the same pressure on a joint as a steel one. They are much easier to handle though, and are very light indeed.

One problem with mine:- the clamp is mostly aluminium, but the thread on the screw is chromed steel, and as the chrome has worn off, the thread is a bit rough. Some graphite helps. Spend more than fifteen bucks would be my tip.

I've also just found these on the Irwin tool site which might be worth a try.

author
JETDRIVER1955 (author)Alex in NZ2017-03-27

Thanks for the reply Alex, much appreciated, looks as though there are a few making them now. I like the aluminium due to the weight factor, less chance of damage to the item being clamped compared to cast iron ones which are so heavy. They are however strong and seem to last for ever, and I've repaired a few very old ones over the years.
Thanks again
Peter

author
ChrisG76 made it! (author)2017-04-29

not as nice as yours but but i gave it my best shot. Thanks for sharing. your project has great detail.

T

20161030_103804.jpg
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Alex in NZ (author)ChrisG762017-05-12

That looks great! Thank you so much for sharing it :-) Thank you also for your kind comment.

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kschmidt2 (author)2017-03-28

This is really nice looking. I'm thinking I might make something similar only it won't look as good because I can't be bothered. I might convert the draws in my desk into one of these with a power bank at the top.

Awesome instructable and a good job.

author
Alex in NZ (author)kschmidt22017-03-29

Thank you! The PSU at the bottom is just stored there. It is converted from an old PC one, and the fans and such vent out of the rear of the PSU, so it needs free air around it when it is working. It slides out easily enough when needed.

author
kschmidt2 (author)Alex in NZ2017-03-29

That makes sense. Did you ever consider installing some discreet ventilation so you could run the PSU in the case? It'd make things neater at least.

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Robert Monter (author)2017-03-28

Good instruction ! thank you

author
dlukasek (author)2017-03-26

Nice design, but my three components (Blu Ray player, home theater receiver, and Satellite TV receiver/dvr) would fry themselves pretty quick as the latter two get very warm. They currently sit on open shelving in the wall in the end of our kitchen just behind where the TV is. I've been meaning to get them out of sight, dust, etc., but I need to incorporate one or more fans and grilles to vent that heat. Have you had any experience with these?

author
Alex in NZ (author)dlukasek2017-03-27

Dlukasek, as the folk below say, this is for circuit components rather than entertainment components but the user ouegamer has posted an instructable for a temperature controlled fan which might be helpful. Good luck with whatever solution you try.

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GavinF2 (author)dlukasek2017-03-26

This is not for entertainment system components but base electronic components like resistors, diodes, and such.

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Alex in NZ (author)GavinF22017-03-26

Thank you for clarifying. I was asleep in New Zealand when all these comments arrived, so I'm glad that you helped :-)

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pusur44017 (author)dlukasek2017-03-26

if you learn basic wiring of USB and fans, and one of your home entertainment systems has USB that powers on when you turn it on, (preferably the most used one) you can have a self ventilating cabinet. you can get computer fans, they will run on 5vdc that USB delivers. if you want to get cheap components to experiment with, purchase some from China, for example aliexpress.

author
Boddah_1 (author)dlukasek2017-03-26

Try using fans and power supply from old computers, they work a treat and you can attach several fans to one power supply.

author

This isn't for those kind of components. It's made to hold plastic boxes used to hold electronic components like resitors, capasitors, transistors, etc.

author
SebastianL24 (author)2017-03-27

never apologize for metric!

author
bd82001 (author)2017-03-26

One way to cut down on the cleanup of the aluminum is to use an electric miter saw with a carbide blade to make the cuts. I made dozens of cuts on one project with one blade with nearly no hand work required, and no apparent damage to the blade. Some blades specify "non-ferrous metals," but I used a moderately priced construction blade.

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Alex in NZ (author)bd820012017-03-26

Thanks for that info. I don't have a miter saw at the moment so it was angle-grinder or hacksaw, but if I'm doing another big batch then I might spring for such a blade and borrow a friend's saw.

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ia42 (author)2017-03-26

> in metric I'm afraid

Never apologize for using the international language of science, especially on a site like this :-)

author
Cliffystones (author)2017-03-26

Here in the US we have a company called Harbor Freight that sells cases almost identical to yours. I made several racks as well, but I have to say yours are a lot easier than mine on the eyes. I used scrap OSB (oriented strand board) from all of the new housing construction in my area, so they look pretty industrial.

author
Alex in NZ (author)Cliffystones2017-03-26

Industrial can be good :-)

Depending on how rough the OSB is, some stain and varnish might make it look pretty good.

Yeah, I keep seeing Harbor Freight mentioned in comments and designs. I am envious :-)

The cases, and the ones in my other cabinet, have been replaced with a slightly squarer style in the shops here. Downside: any third cabinet will have different cases. Upside: I bought lots of these ones on runout.

author
UncleEd (author)2017-03-26

This looks great. I just picked up some boxes that look similar to the ones you're using. I will adapt the dimensions to fit those boxes and make my small part storage much more useful.

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Alex in NZ (author)UncleEd2017-03-26

I'm glad you think the ideas will be useful. I have gathered a collection of similar storage units from different people, and you may find other ideas among them. The range of cases which folk have used, and the cabinets they have built or improvised, is quite impressive. Good luck and do post your design :-)

author
pfred2 (author)2017-03-24

Exposed plywood edge does not really bother me. In fact I think it looks good. As long as it is sanded, and finished. It's plywood, so what? Here's some shelves I made that way.

http://i.imgur.com/TTBGhYa.jpg

It works for me.

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Eric Brouwer (author)2017-03-22

Nicely done.

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Alex in NZ (author)Eric Brouwer2017-03-23

Thank you. I am rather shamed by the skills displayed in your projects, but I have a problem with AC control on which I am working where I shall endeavour to come up to the standard displayed.

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