Introduction: Loft Bed/Theater Cave AKA "The Beast"
I've browsed this website for a while now, always amazed at the things you guys come up with. Finally, I've been inspired enough to recreate one of these instructable and I thought I should share the process.
I currently rent and I have a fairly small room (10' x 13') with a LOT of crap in it. I have a 48" big screen, queen bed, 3'x5' computer desk and 2 lazyboy style chairs with ottomans. I need more space.
The "pipe loft bed" and "big sturdy loft" instructables have inspired me to build my own 10' x 7' x 4.5' loft. I'm creating this as I build the beast so please excuse the impending past tense/present tense confusion and the rest of the grammatical errors.
Step 1: Materials
Well I used various lengths of 2" x 6 " boards trying to waste the least amount of wood.
-12 x (2x6x7)
-2 x (2x6x10)
-8 x (2x6x5)
-2 x (2x4x10)
-8 x (1/2 x 4") bolts
-8 x (1/2 x 4") nuts
-16 x (1/2 x 4") washer
-1 x (5' x 7')sheet of MDF (Medium Density Fiberboard - cabinet grade stuff that looks a lot better than plywood and doesn't have splinters) to be added later that acts as a flat surface over the part of the beast that doesn't have a mattress on it.
Step 2: Assemble Legs
I considered using 4" x 4" posts for the legs but it would've cost almost twice as much money to do it that way. Instead, I'm opting to use the 5 foot long 6's (I'll say 6's from now on instead of 2" x 6") in an "L" shape. This will be very stable and will give me 2 surfaces to attach bolts to at the same level; I won't have to have the long and short sides at different heights.
The long side will be facing out so I'm making sure the "long side of the 'L' "is facing that way. Once they are screwed together, you'll need to do some measuring on the interior of the "L". I want 4.5 feet of clearance under the structure so subtract the width of the boards (not exactly 6 inches, it's a little less but it differs slightly for each board) and screw a small 2" x 4" square at that line on the interior of the short side of the "L". Later that will be used to prop the rectangular frame so it will be easier to drill the holes for the bolts and when putting the bolts in. Also, It will serve as a failsafe just in case the bolts start to come loose one day. It wouldn't hold the entire weight of the structure but hopefully catch it long enough for you to notice that the bolt is loose. Do this 4 times and the legs are done!
Step 3: Assembling the Frame
To make the top of the Beast the correct size, you must cut some length off of the frame 6's to allow for board width. A way around this that will also add some strength and rigidity is to notch the corners.
To do this, you must cut the ends of each piece of the frame so that they fit together at the corners (as seen below). I chose to make the "lower notch" on the shorter sides of the Beast's frame so that the "upper notch" (on the long sides) would rest on the lower notch because the long sides bare more weight. This also helps in the reassembly of the Beast in a small room. You can assemble the shorter ends, stand them up and then set the longer sides of the frame fit like a puzzle piece into the notches.
Once you have notched the ends, dry fit the frame. Most likely the boards will be slightly warped somewhere along the way so keep an eye out for that. Screw the frame together at the corners, making sure to keep the top edges level. Also, go ahead and screw down the boards that will go across the top of the frame at each end. This will add rigidity when you later hae to move the unfinished frame around.
From here on out., it's a good idea to number each corner and each piece that touches that corner so you don't get confused when reassembling.
Step 4: Bolt Holes and More Dry Fitting
Now place the frame on the legs (braced by those 2 x 4 squares you added earlier) and put some temporary screws in to hold it all together. Once all four legs are temporarily attached, then you can drill the bolt holes and know that the holes will line up at the end. Make sure the legs are perpendicular to the frame before drilling the holes.Stagger the bolts a bit so they aren't too close to each other or the notches you made.
Dry fit the bolts and the top boards to make sure everything is looking right.
NOTE: I plan on adding bracing at the corners or "X" braces across the legs that face walls. I forgot to buy the wood for that and it'll be next weekend before I go by the hardware store again.
Step 5: Paint
My pictures didn't turn out, but you need to mark the pieces of wood that show on the side that faces out. Then disassemble the beast and paint those marked pieces. I decided to only paint this face of the Beast because I'm lazy and I didn't want to have to spend more money on paint for pieces that will never be seen. Plus, leaving the under-parts of the Beast the lighter color that wood already is (rather than the flat black that I'm painting the front face) will reflect more light. This thing takes up more than half my room, so I'm guessing that the darkness under there will already be a problem that I'll deal with later.
Step 6: The Beast Is Complete!
Step 1: Move crap out of room.
Step 2: Assemble Beast in room.
Step 3: Move crap back into room; under and on top of the Beast.
Step 4: Enjoy the extra space, theater cave under the Beast and sweet lifted bed that reminds you of a fort you built when you were 12 despite the few hours of work and $125 it cost you.
I'm doing this after I've slept on The Beast for a few weeks so I've since changed some things. It turned out to be extremely sturdy so the only cross-bracing I added was on 2 on the corners which you can see in some of the pictures. I threw together the ladder after deciding on its location and threw some carpet on there. My room is pretty small (hence the need for the Beast) so it was hard to take pictures but I took a lot so I hope that helps. I actually had to steal my roommates light bulbs for a while so the pictures would turn out haha.
Also, I decided to fill the gaps between the 6's on half of the Beast with 2x4s rather than covering that side with plywood. I did this because I thought it would look better, it was cheaper, it lets more light through to the bottom and I know later I can change it up easier. I've also added some other gadgets under/on the Beast such as a light underneath.
I still need to replace my ceiling fan with a less deadly light fixture but Ive been lazy. Overall, I'm extremely happy with the project. It's much easier to keep my room clean with extra space, I love the extra storage and I can finally have people in my room to hang out now that there is room. I ended up with plenty of room on top and underneath. I'm 5'9 and I can sit up on my bed with a little room left between the ceiling and I have almost a foot between my head and the roof of the theater cave.
I think that's all but ask if you have any questions or if you want help designing your own - although I probably explained everything waaay too much anyway.
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Please be positive and constructive.