What are our requirements here?
1. Make some massively strong shelving that can hold exceptionally heavy workshop related jazz.
2. On the same wall, rout a new ring circuit providing three normal (for the UK) 13A 240V sockets and 3 high power 32A 240V plug sockets.
3. Use up some of the scrap metal piping and reclaimed timber we have knocking about.
4. Improve welding and metal fabrication skills.
Step 1: Planning
It is at about this point that we should have a warning about electricity and its general badass nature. We use electricity to weld together this project which itself is used to protect electric cables which carry currents that can kill. Pretty much any of the tools and processes involved can badly injure you, and many of them can kill. We'll try and highlight some particular safety concerns as we go along, but don't expect a recitation of the exhaustive warnings in, for example, your welders manual ("do not microwave oven this product" and other common warnings will be absent!).
If you don't know exactly what your doing, mains electricity can kill you. If in doubt ask and get knowledgeable help!
Materials and Tools
If you set about making something similar to this, the materials and tools available to you will be different to what we had to hand. We, for example, used old pressure pipe for this project, because it is what we had (it was dug out of our friend Dave's back garden). Being round it required different and more complicated fabrication techniques than say square stock (which would be our preference for a project like this).
Here are a few general things you will need if you want to make something like this:
1. Lengths of hollow metal. Needs to be sturdy enough (adequate wall thickness) and large enough to accommodate you cable - work out cable sizing first, and remember that sections of conduit may be carrying two cables even if you are not wiring up a ring main (pulling/feeding cable through conduit in which they only just fit can be frustrating and it can also damage the cable's insulation!).
2. Something to cut metal. We use our cool power hacksaw, but a metal mitre saw or an angle grinder with a guide would do the job well. A plain old hacksaw or careful freehand angle grinding is possible in a pinch. Wear eye protection, even if hand hacksawing.
3. Something to cut holes in the tubing. We used a drill with a hole saw, and various standard metal drill bits. If using round stock like we were a fine toothed hole saw is way better than a regular one, which will be catch-tastic.
4. A de-burring tool. Exceptionally important for the holes which cable is routed through. We tried using a 'proper' de-burring tool, a variety of hand files and a rotary tool like a dremal.
5. A welder, and all associated safety kit. Though I feel compelled to mention it would be possible to do a project like this with heavy duty pipe threading kit and fittings. But that would usually usually involve buying tools and new angle and t-pieces, and it wouldn't be as fun and wouldn't be an much of an upcycling project ;)
6. Something to clean up the areas to be welded will almost always be needed on reclaimed scrap metal. Before welding anything you need clean and bright bare metal. We usually use a 115 or 125mm angle grinder with flap disk - works a treat. Acetone is also useful to remove oily residue before welding. Remember eye and ear protection!
7. Workholding kit - magnetic angle clamps designed for welding are especially useful.
8. A spirit level or plumb line or techy laser - whatever you have for getting things straight.
9. Electricians tools. If you don't know exactly what they are, get trained help (hmmm, that feels patronising and unhelpful. Sorry about that, I just don't want to be responsible for teaching you mains wiring safety).