Introduction: !How to Make a CD Rack!

About: Inventor, creator, maker, DIY Enthusiast.

In this tutorial I am going to show you step to step, how to make your own stylish and inventive CD rack. It can hold more than CDs and can be altered to fit much bigger things. In this I will leave a gap so a CD player can be fitted. there are a few tools and the material is entirely up to you. For this tutorial I have used Oak from a locally sourced wood merchant. take care and follow the steps to detail.

-drill bits
-miller drill
-pillar drill
-band saw
-jig saw
-set square
-safety goggles
-soldering iron

-wood/acrylic( i used oak)
-scrap wood
-circuit board

Step 1: Planning and Design.

I had to think quite a bit on the structural design of this project as I was going to hold a lot of weight and would only be supported by a wall.
The pictures below are from CAD they should help with planing etc. there is also a cutting list in which you may or may not use depending on the size you want. Using CAD programs like Pro Desktop are really useful. i would forward a link but Pro desktop is quite expensive and things like Google Sketch up are a lot easier to use and it is FREE!!!!

Step 2: CAD/Pro-desktop

To make some more neat designs i used one of my favourite programs called Pro-desktop. On the program i was able to uses all of my measurements and angles to construct each piece i needed. these took a while as i had to recreate sketches on a computer using exact measurements. 

The useful thing about pro-desktop is that you are able to extrude or indent any piece. you can do a lot more than just draw things. 

The pieces I constructed where in two groups; Top slots and Bottom Slots. The top slots had their slots on the top and the bottom slots slip onto the top slots with their slots on the bottom. This was easier said than done in the Pro desktop program. A series of Alignments and Matings had to be set in place to construct the final CAD model(below).

I highly recommend any one how is buying Pro-desktop to buy a HOW-TO book with it. As it is a lot harder than you may think it is.

The final CAD model enabled me to look at any design faults or changes i could make.

As seen in the picture the Green pieces where too tall, so these were reduced in the final making stages. I also have made the middle 3x2 instead of the 2x2 seen below. This means there is more space for my CD player and Speakers.

When i did make the pieces bigger it meant that i had more pieces, this only meant more construction time plus the benefit of more storage.

Step 3: Construction Log 1

I have begun to think of ways I can incorporate jigs into my design. This is because jigs can make numerous products that are exactly the same. The reason for starting to look at jigs is because I think it will be the most time consuming and tricky part of this project. I have thought of four necessary jigs that can be used to make the unit precise  and accurate. The first is for the curve of each shelve, there are 8 different sizes which means a lot of moving about, and so the best way to make them to the exact size would be to have a multifunctional jig. This will take a lot of measuring and quite a bit of patience. The 2nd and 3rd jigs are for the speaker cubes and the forth is for the slots of each shelf.

Having a break from the jigs as they are very fiddly. I am making a model out of cardboard. It is full size and the curves are very accurate as I have used a big compass and a set square to mark them out. My first thoughts are that the unit will fit snug on a wall but the pugs which hold it there may take up quite a bit of room. It can hold 15 CDs in each full box.

I have finished the model, which can hold all of the CDs needed and still sits on the wall. I can’t put any heavier weight on it as it will collapse. This is not surprising because it is cardboard.

I have chosen the material I am going to use. It is a locally sourced oak which has come from a sustainable foresting company. The trunk planks come at 15mm thick but have curves and bumps in, this is okay because the thickness of each shelf is going to be 10mm so I have plenty of room for planning and sanding.

I have begun work on the first jig. It consists of three parts: the frame, the holder, and the marker. I have just made it from scrap ply wood as it does not need to look amazing. This jig is to get the perfect curve so I need to do a lot of measurement to get the pieces exactly right.

Step 4: Construction Log 2

When trying to use the jig I kept on pushing the wood to the side, so I added supports to the jigs so that it would not slip about. After this I drew out the curves on all of the bits of wood, and cut them using the band saw. I have noticed that the jig has a minor flaw as I used rope and a pencil to make the curve arm the rope stretched a bit. This has meant that some pieces are not the same size, but I can sort this be sanding them down. I will use wire next time I mark them out.

I have begun work on the speakers. I have measured all of the squares 10mm by 10mm  this was a little tricky as I was using the left over pieces from the curves I cut. This  meant that I have not be wasting the wood. Using a set square and a ruler I have also measured the slot sizes on every single separate piece.

I have soldered the amplifier set together, it took only about an hour but if I was mass producing it I would definitely set up a program to do it faster.  I put the pieces together with out any joints etc. and found that the 330mm by 180mm parts have to be cut down to 150mm as they are the side parts and they are only half the size of other pieces. Because of this change in measurement I have checked all the other pieces just in case.

Because of the slots to hold each piece together they have taken away 10mm of the original 140mm boxes, this does not matter much but I can now only hold 13 CDs in each cube. The slots are measured at half way on  each piece, some pieces have odd ones as they have slots on the top, this means they have a higher side and a lower side.

Cutting the pieces for the boxes was tricky as if they are too big the sides will change shape and not be a cube any more. I put them together using pins but split the wood when I did this, so I drilled holes  using a pillar drill and made dowel joints instead this looks nicer and looks professional. Some of the sides are not flush as I predicted, but I can sand them to be square as it is only out by a few millimetres at the most.

Step 5: Construction Log 3

I have begun using the Mortiser drill to drill the 10mm slots, the problem is that it is very tight so I will have to sand or file each joint. To  put the wood into the drill I am using a jig so it is square and is safely strapped onto the drilling surface.

As I had predicted, the mortiser drill made the slots very tight and it is not easy to pull apart the pieces once they are in. Due to this inconvenience I will have to sand all of the slots down by had.

I have nine pieces left to make, this includes cutting out the wood and drilling the slots. I have completely finished the other pieces and now they are smooth with no sharp edges, fitting together nicely and look good. The next nine will have to wait till after the Christmas holiday.

Unfortunately in a rush I drew the slots on the wrong side( the top instead of the bottom.) This is not a problem of time but a problem of material, luckily this could be used for something else as it is a bigger piece but it is still a bit of a waste. One of the smaller pieces was dropped onto the concrete and cracked down the middle, so a replacement will also have to be made. This brings the total  not completed pieces up to 11! I have identified some problems that I will try to resolve.

When trying to put the pieces back together(slot in slot) it appeared that they had shrunk a bit in the cold of the workshop. So I have spent today filing and sanding them down a bit more so they snugly fit back into the opposite slots.

All the pieces are now cut and slotted.

I have sanded all the pieces using a belt sander. They are amazingly smooth to touch and slip easily into their opposite slots. Only 3 more to sand down and check!

Step 6: Construction Log 4

To mount the frame to the wall I am going to make 6 brackets. I began by cutting 90° steel on a radial saw. Each was 4cm in length. They were really sharp once they had been cut so I filed each one down. The brackets looked a bit rough so I sand blasted each one to make it look matt and not shiny.

Today I made my fourth jig, it consists of a strip of metal with two holes drilled all the way through it.  It will be used to make the holes on each bracket. I have used the jig to drill all the holes in all of brackets. The drill has left sharp edges poking out so I will use a file to get rid of them again. Using a counter sink drill bit I was able to make it so the bolts lie flush with the wood. This was a really good idea because now they don’t intersect any CDs being placed onto the shelves.

Today I was looking at all the different types of finish and paint I could have used. This is a piece of scrap oak I found from a broken piece. I found that the paint left a very smooth surface but it hid the beautiful oak patterns, so I decided against it. I have found some bees wax, when it is applied it leaves a smooth surface as well as a little bit slippery, the joint fitted together even better when I used this.

I have started coating all the pieces in bees wax. I have chosen it because I like it the most and it helps each slot, slot together much more smoothly.

I have finished coating all of the pieces back and front. I have assembled and disassembled the whole unit twice to make sure there are no remaining faults in the wood and joints.

Step 7: Plotting Slots and Drilling

The plotting of each slot on each length of wood is very important. Without accuracy the whole thing would not fit together as planned. To get the best accuracy I used a number of plotting tools; a set square and a ruler.

Using the Mortiser gave me a completely square edge which meant that when the pieces are put together there will be no odd shapes or squint pieces.  The drill could only move left to right and backwards and forwards. This was good as it was all I needed to do, but it was restricted to the work top of the machine. This was only a small disruption, and to get around it I had to turn the wood around and start from the other side. In the future I would construct a larger platform for the wood to be clamped to. This would enable the processes of cutting to go a lot faster and be much easier. The drill bit was encased in a square frame which kept the cutting square.  The square frame was able to be enlarged or down sized. This was a good feature of the machine as it shows I could have used different thickness of material, like acrylic plastic sheets or a thicker wood.

Step 8: Product in Its Environment

From these pictures of the final product you can see it is fulfilling its main function as a CD rack. From the trials users have said it looks like a designer product. I have assembled it in a number of ways, but these are not the only layouts. The material I have used is oak wood, it is a hard wood so it can withstand the occasional bump. Fully assembled the unit is 1500mm x 1350mm. The rack can hold over 300 CD’s. This is well over the expected  capacity and is a great result.

Each piece has a number of slots and some pieces have the slots on the top and others have slots on the bottom, the pieces can be put together in a number of ways. Different options have been illustrated above. Some ways may look better than others so it is probably best to see what they look like on the floor before you drill it to a wall! The  speakers are slightly less interchangeable  as they are restricted by wiring but the length between each speaker is half a metre, this means that a speaker could just go in each corner of the full structure.

Step 9:

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