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WIPstructable ?

I've tried to spend more time at the Instructables Clinic recently to try and help (and learn !) how to make Instructables better in general and even though it seems to work out, projects posted at the Clinic are already "done" : unlike our digital 'ibles, making our actual finished products better often means making another one.

After bouncing ideas with friends and on a suggestion from Anna, I thought instead of posting finished Instructables, I would start posting Work In Progress Instructables so that members of the community can :

  • suggest materials and techniques ;
  • see my trials and errors as I learn from them ;
  • enjoy whatever there might be to learn sooner than if I waited to post a finished tutorial ;
  • basically, all around participate !

So this WIPstructable is not just mine, it's yours as well if you want to :

  • throw in your 2 cents about this Work In Progress project ;
  • share it with someone you know could be interested ;
  • just come and meet fellow Iblers !

Me, I'll do my best to make progress as regularly as possible and try out your suggestions. Once we're done, I'll remove this explanations section and change the title of this Instructable to its final form.

Interested ? Then let's move on to the intro for this project, a Doctor Who-inspired media furniture !

Updates :

  • 2015/02/03 : Expanded Steps 5 and 6, deleted redundant sections 8, 9 and 10 and credits to Anna Sergeeva added :)
  • 2015/01/29 : It's live !

Step 1: Intro

Geek culture bleeds. E. Ve. Ry. Where. Games, music, clothes, furniture, everything is an excuse to make something fun or cool and the explosion of DIY culture around us during the last few years only helped.

In this Instructable, I'm going to try and show you how I design and make geek-inspired furniture, specifically Doctor Who-inspired media furniture for our DVDs, video games, consoles and books we have around !

Ready ? Then let's go and check what we already have, so we know what we need to build.

Step 2: Step 1 - Take Stock of What You Have

Building furniture yourself is good. Building furniture that'll actually fit your needs and some is perfect - so the first thing we're going to do is make sure we build a big enough piece of furniture to hold what we need :

Let's start with our DVD collection (it's the easiest part since they're standardized in size) : the DVD shelves run at (length in centimeters) total, and we have 2 layers of DVDs on each DVD shelf. Based on that, here are our various length options for our furniture design :

  • to accomodate our current collection on a double file (assuming it's stabilized in size) : (total shelf length)
  • to accomodate our current collection in a single file (if we want to make the shelves half as deep as our current shelves and it's stabilized in size) OR if we want to accomodate twice the size of our current collection (to give it room to grow) : (total shelf length)*2

And don't forget to measure the height of the shelves, without forgetting to factor in clearance for your hands to be able to reach and grab stuff !

Now write all this down next to the type of stuff you want to store, and move on to the next type of stuff you 'll want to store.

In the end, here's what I got for my own shelves :

  • DVDs :
  • Video games :
  • Books and comics :
  • Toys, sculpts, collectibles, etc.

Step 3: Take Stock of What You (will) Need

It's one thing to make a piece of furniture for stuff that you already have : it's another entirely to make a piece of furniture to take into account what you will have in the future. Maybe that'd be the perfect occasion to go through your collection and decide what is worth keeping, what you can give away and what you can sell.

[Exemple collection perso]

When you're done and you know what you need to plan for, it's time to move on to the next step !

Step 4: Look It Up...

The first thing you want to do when you're building anything inspired by anything - whether it's pop culture, Art Déco architecture or Renaissance paintings is look up stuff a lot. In this case like many others, Google's Image Search might just end up being your weapon of choice. Let's assume it is the case here, but keep in mind that what comes next can be done with pretty much any contemporary search engine.

  1. Go to http://www.google.com and click on the Images button at the top right of the screen ;
  2. punch "TARDIS" into your search field and click on the Magnifier button or press enter to start your search ;
  3. your first results are out ! Now for the sake on convenience, let's get the bigger ones : click on Search Tools...
  4. ...then click the Size dropdown menu and pick the Large option.

Voilà ! You now have a nice selection of TARDIS pictures to work from and since we picked the Large-sized ones, they'll be much more detailed for us to use during our project. And as a bonus, you've just learn how to pull an advanced image search in your search engine of choice.

Having a lot of reference pictures is great, having a lot of pictures you can keep is even better : there are a number of tools you can use to easily backup pictures to your hard drive or an online storage, so here are my favourites :

  • Save to Google Drive is a Google Chrome extension that lets you download pictures or captures of a webpage in 1 click to your Google Drive folders instead of the lengthier "Save As" routine. Just make sure you set it up to download documents to the correct folder !
  • Evernote Web Clipper is an extension for contemporary browsers : it's tied to the Evernote online notebooks and syncing service, which will let you literally clip bits and pieces off the Web for reference later.

Got all your reference pictures nice and cosy in one place ! Then it's time to move on to the next step and figure out what makes the subject of your piece of furniture so distinctive.

Step 5: ...and Boil It Down.

So the TARDIS is amazing and iconic and bigger on the inside and OMG I WANT TO TAKE A PICTURE WITH IT, but I don't want to build a TARDIS to actually hold my books, DVDs and art toys in the middle of the living room : we're going to boil our subject down to its essential features to carry them over to our media storage unit.

As you can see in picture 1, the TARDIS has changed over time even though we all tend to imagine it as a stable design. In fact, some of its features have never budged, and these are the ones we are going to integrate to our furniture design :

  • the light beacon on top ;
  • the general color theme (shades of blue may vary between designs) ;
  • the POLICE BOX sign on top ;
  • the POLICE TELEPHONE sign.

At that point, we know what are the features we want to keep, and we know how much we need to be able to store on our shelves. We might not be able to make it bigger on the inside, but we'll give it our best shot...In the next step !

Step 6: Making Your 2D Plans

Step 7: Scouting the Local Hardware Stores

Step 8: Make It 3D and Estimate Your Costs

Now that your sketch is ready, time to translate it in 3D ! The advantage : you'll be able to get a clearer idea of how your furniture will behave in space - and how much it's going to set you back.

Based on our research at the previous step, we already know what sizes of wood planks are available at the local hardware store.

Step 9: Prep Your Materials

Step 10: Assemble the Furniture Frame

Step 11: Set the Main Shelves

Step 12: Set the Lesser Shelves

Give it time, cowgirls and cowboys. We'll get there eventually.

Step 13: POLICE BOX Stencil

Step 14: POLICE TELEPHONE Stencil

Step 15: Conclusion

About This Instructable

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Bio: Maker of many things, wearer of many hats.
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