Instructables

The Perfect Instructable-building Man-Cave Cubicle!

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This is a custom built cubicle to organize a lot of tools, supplies, and an electronics workbench/ lab area. I had to live away from home for ten months (in a little, tiny, cheap, studio appartment) due to job requirements. I took a lot of my (hobby) tools and supplies with me and quickly got tired of hunting through boxes stacked on top of boxes (see Before picture).

I first priced some large heavy duty shelving units at the local big box store and it ran into several hundred dollars. I decided I could do better than that and have a nice cubicle customized to my needs. I will admit this idea was sparked many years ago when I first saw some custom cubicles in a book, Nomadic Furniture, but mine goes a bit beyond those designs.

This cubicle is built of about 30 2x2s for framing, 1x10s for shelving, hardware consists of 1/4 inch nuts, bolts, and lock and fender washers. A few deck screws secure the shelves. I wasn't sure the 2x2s were going to be strong enough, but with the intermediate supports in the middle of each side, its plenty strong. I had the red paint and some of the wood, and the desk its built around, but I think the whole thing could be done for around $100 max. Far cheaper than equivalent amount of store bought shelves!

Two sides are against walls, and two sides are open beyond the cube, which helps keep me from getting claustrophobic. But, that's not a problem for me - I love this space!

My finished size came out to about 7 x 7 x 7 foot cube. I first envisioned a cube within a cube with the space between them filled with shelves. But, as the design developed, it ended up being constructed as a series of "ladders" going around the area - you can see this in the build sequence pictures. Notice I had to stagger the level of shelves from one side to the adjoining sides.

UPDATE:  SIZE MATTERS!!
I have since moved back home, and had to re-size my cubicle. It is now about 5.5 x 6 foot - I'm still getting used to it... My feeling is this is a bit too small to be comfortable, but maybe that's because I had it bigger for so long.
I have a workshop in a basement room, but my wife let me put the cubicle up between the living room and kitchen - albeit, a smaller version. It's a compromise for both of us. This way, I don't disappear for hours at a time; I'm in my cubicle, and she's watching Pride & Prejudice, and we coexist happily! (There's a little bargaining power there for those whose spouse may not be keen on having a Mancave... or, cubicle, in the middle of the house!)

If you enjoyed this, please cast a vote! Thanks!

gmonroy6 months ago

Hello friend, Thanks for your design and photos. You have supported a good idea to arrange a workplace! Thank you very much!

I remember Nomadic Furniture. That was kind of a 1970s "Instructables" book with wonderful concepts. If I didn't already have a room for my stained glass hobby, I would be building something like this.
techhobbit (author)  carolynosborne2 years ago
Yes, I have my original copy but I think its getting hard to find. Lots of fun furniture ideas!
"1970s Instructables..." - that's good!
Thanks for commenting..
A reprint (2008) of Nomadic Furniture is available from Amazon.com and Barnes & Noble ISBN 9780764330247. I can't attest to the quality of the reprint though.
lingg2 years ago
Wow! Great Job! I like the red color. Plus you can take it apart and reconfigure it!
Ken Issacs is the architect who designed all kinds of grid beam apartment cubes in the '70's. His book (free to read and download online) gives detailed instructions on how to build the grid beams so they will bolt together evenly. Im going to build a cube inside a minivan to bolt (folding) camping furniture to that is easy to move and remove, reconfigure instead of drilling into the van.I'm going to paint mine now!
Wow - those havce gotta be the straightest store-bought 2x2s I've ever seen! Are they furring strips? I have never been able to find them anywhere that weren't twisted and cupped some way or the other..!

I like the system a lot. Nice work. I have also heard of the Nomadic Furniture book, and would love to own a copy - maybe a reprint should be considered by some forward-thinking publisher.

Are you familiar with "grid beam" construction? I have the book on how to build with it, and it's something I have been chomping at the bit to do for years! I am concerned, though, about the potential for racking in your system. I believe you said your cube was strong and stable, but maybe some triangulation or panels would keep it from shifting over time..? I can't say, as I am no expert, and if your cube is sturdy, then disregard my clabber..! lol again, great and inspirational job!
I was just looking through instructables and came across yours. This is exactly what I need. I live in a condo and have a small storage space for my big power tools but when I want to do a small project I have to round up all my supplies from 3 different closets and underbed organizers. I have a 16x16 foot bedroom and am going to put this in the back corner. I rescued eight brand new 6 panel doors so I am gonna close it in and paint it to blend w/ my bedroom. Thank you. I will start tomorrow and send you pictures. Thank you thank you.
black hole2 years ago
Hi, techhobbit, I think this is just amazing! If I had the money or space, I would build this. I dabble in jewelry making and an area like this would really help.

Keep up the good work.

5/5* and following.
Attmos2 years ago
its nice, and i mean that. lots of shelving space, but it's kinda small for any real building don't you think? I would love having this if it had some construction space. really cool though, i hope it works for you.
techhobbit (author)  Attmos2 years ago
Yes! But that's not its purpose. It fits its purpose (as described in the Instructable) very well. I have an outdoor shed, and a basement room with drill press, scroll & band saws, far more storage, and 40 acres f all kinds of valuable junk...

But the cubicle is nice when I'm working my small electronic projects.
Thanks, Attmos, for your comments.
yeah, wow. I'm jealous, I wish I had that kind of accessable space. I didn't mean to sound rude, hope I didn't offend. I'll read more carefully in the future.

Have fun.





techhobbit (author)  Attmos2 years ago
No problem - I didn't sense rudeness, didn't mean for the reply to sound rude either!
Hey! Nice job on the Maverick Rev6! I'd like to try one of these and hang it in my pickup back window gun rack - but that might be just asking for a busted window or shake down by the local police!
shake down by the police, lol, i'd do it just to be able to tell that story. yeah nerf mods are fun. i don't even use the gun, it was just fun to work on. you've got a nice new place to work on one, have fun!
frankmarin2 years ago
All you need now is a swiveling chair. Really nice!
techhobbit (author)  frankmarin2 years ago
Good idea!!
Thanks...
Machine2 years ago
That's a very nice and descriptive vid. Nicely built work area too, everything is close by, all within easy reach and you seem to have all the good gear too with soldering iron, oscilloscope, meter, manuals, ICs etc.

Thanks for showing it to us.
techhobbit (author)  Machine2 years ago
Thanks for the comments, Machine. It is nice to have everything right "here". Hopefully, my organizational skills will allow me to get more projects converted into instructables!
Wonderful. I hope to one day have a crafting/reading cubicle like this.
techhobbit (author)  jessyratfink2 years ago
Thanks jessy. Wow - you do some neat stuff with food!
Hey, since the Hostess Twinkie factory shut down... any chance you could come up with a twinkie clone? (I haven't had one in tenty years but now I crave one!!)
techhobbit (author)  edvannatta2 years ago
Thanks Ed. I probably won't do a full instruction set but if you study the pics, get a couple 2x2s and a tape measure, you could figure it out, or one similar.
Kiteman2 years ago
If you can't have a shed...