As I have a keen interest in making, I have to have the tools to do so; such as hot glue gun, soldering iron, dremel (rotary-tool), an electronic sander, a diy desk light(insrtuctable here), and more. as you can imagine, some people will encounter the same problem as me, lots, and lots, of wires. The solution in a nutshell was for me to attach a modded extension cord under my desk, with all the wire, and have a control panel with switches to switch on, or off specific tools, I also had a potentiometer, to control the brightness of my diy desk light.
Step 1: Tools, and Materials
extension cord, with enough slots for all of your most common equipment(prefrebally a good quality robust one, with surge protection, and fuses.)
a control box with enough space for all your switches(I used a project box/enclosure)
switches, preferably toggle, and one for every port on your extension cord(they should be able to handle 4 amps, or more @240 volts for safety reasons)
tools- drill/rotary tool
Step 2: Wiring, and Circuitry
open up your power supply, and look at how the switch mechanism works. Usually it would be useless(not a switch you can take out and reuse), but some might have a removable switch(modular switches), the kind that is not restricted to the extension cord to work. If you are confused look at the first 2 photos,In my case removing the switch showed me how it was not modular, but restricted to the case, if you are lucky, and you get a modular design, the try to use that as it is rated for the correct amp draw, and it will save you the hassle of buying extra toggle switches.
I presume all the readers of this instructable will know how a switch works, so based on your extension cord, wire up a toggle switch of appropriate length. Then cut appropriate holes/slots for your switches in your project box(control panel). If your switches came with nuts(usually screwed on the switch) the make sure that you can fasten the nuts properly to hold the switch in place.I also applied epoxy to the areas I soldered, just to keep it from breaking, and possibly shorting. If the wiring still confuses you, then have a look at the pictures, they should clear things up, and if you are still confused, then leave a comment, and I shall reply a.s.a.p
Step 3: Mounting
I used double sided tape to hold every thing under the tabletop. The pictures should be self explanatory, and you can just as easily pick out where you want to keep the control panel, just make sure to have long enough wire. to hide excess cable, use tape, or better use tie bases, and zip ties(picture above)
If you want to permanently hide all you wires and the extension cord than you can cut a piece of thin wood as big as the area consumed by the extension cord and wires, and mount the wood so it covers it, sort of like a drawer, except it cant slide out
Step 4: Final Thoughts
This was a fun build for me, and I hope it inspired you to make something along the same lines.
1. Use something like 10 way wire, or multicore wire, so I can have one fat wire carrying all the switch signals, this will make the whole product substantially neater.
2. Use a micro controller (arduino), 240 volt relays, and a pair of xbees to have a wireless control pannel