Introduction: How to Make a Hi-Fi Cabinet

This is my second instructable, and it links to the first.
This instructable is about how I made a hi-fi/multimedia storage cabinet, for my gcse project. Although most people are unlikely to make an identical piece of furniature to this, the design process and some of the techneques I used may come in usefull in making other furniature.
This is unlikely to be a perfect tutorial; this was a large project, and there were flaws. If you hit problems whilst following this instructable, I appologise.
If you decide to attempt this project, please read the whole instructable, and look at all the photos beforehand.
Feel free to alter the design; It was designed for me, to my specifications, so might not be ideal for you.
Sorry for the lack of assembly photos; This was written after I'd assembled it in my room, and I did not fancy dismantling it again.
I've entered this instructable, along with another, into the huricane lasers contest, so please vote for it!

Before I started making it, I had to write a design specification. This was it:

It should be:

Be adaptable:
Forms of media are changing, so the cabinet needs to be able to adapt to store anything from MP3 players to LPs

Have storage for various media, including media such as books

Have space for top-loading items, such as record players, which are still popular

Fit any size hi-fi up to 19in standard

Have connections for other equipment EG laptop, MP3 player, phone, etc.

Neat cable management

Have simplicity of construction allowing for volume production

Low cost, as many are expensive, and out of the budget of most people

Be recyclable, so it is better for the environment

Dust protection, as some media is sensitive to it.

Be relatively compact

Be durable

Be convenient

Only require one plug

Fit in with the design of most rooms

Leave ventilation space

Out of these I think I achived most of them, although it did end up bigger than I expected.

Step 1: Tools and Materials

This project used quite a bit in the way of materials, and was cut on CNC equipment. Not a lot can be done about the use of materials, although the design could be reduced to just a hi-fi cabinet, but it could probably, with a bit of effort, be hand-routed. However, it was designed for CNC cutting, and would have been designed differently if I did not have access to the equipment.

the overall cost of the materials was about £60.

I appologise for the lack of accuracy in materials dimensions.


1 full sheet of 15mm ply (I used birch faced ply, but other boards could be used)
Probably about 1/4 sheet of 15mm MDF (ply could be used, however MDF cuts the cost)
about 1200x600 of 3mm MDF
1 sheet of 4mm corflute, at least 50x130cm. make sure the flutes run along the short edge.
about 1m of 15mm dowell (I used this for a handle. It isn't absolutely neccecary)
8 KD blocks (these could be swapped for other fixings)
Some shelf mounts (I used bookcase strip mounts)
A small amount of adhesive (I used UHU)
The materials required to complete this instructable
some wood polish (I used briwax)
If you use MDF, some black paint or a black permenant marker is useful for colouring in the edges.

(These are the tools I used. Others can be used)
A large CNC router (the one I used had an A1 bed)
A laser cutter (the one I used had a 600x600 bed, and I used most of it)
An orbital sander
circular saw bench
A stool
a power drill
router bits: I used a 3,2mm cutter for the fine sections and a 6.3 for the area cuts

Step 2: The Design

As I had access to a CNC router, I desided to try and make it require as little hand finishing as posible. There were a few design features I incorperated to achive this.

1: most, if not all, the joints were routed rebates.

2: The corners of the rebates were slightly enlarged, so the router bit could get fully into the corner, removing the need for chiselling (see pic)

In the end, the only hand finishing done on the wood were drilling, a bit of sanding and polishing, making the handles and cutting the corflute.

WARNING: There may be a flaw on the design, please check that the top and bottom pieces (these are the 2 longest pieces) measure 98.6cm accross. If not, alter them. You also may need to slightly widen the media shelf slots. It would be wise to check the rest of the dimensions, to see if is seems to add up. I would have altered them on the file myself, but I only have the student version of 2d design, so cannot export. If anyone knows a good, free 2d cad package, I'd be intrested.

Step 3: CNC Cutting

Download the design, and arrange it for cutting on whatever you are using. the materials are labeled on the design; I used a router for the 15mm material and a laser cutter for the 3mm. Check that all the pieces are correctly reflected; I didn't on one, and wasted a large piece of ply.

Depths and settings (if you are not using 2d design, refer to the images)

Router;   green fill:     outside cut, 15mm
                 red fill:         area cut, 8mm (generally 6.4mm cutter, on narrow cuts 3.2)
                 blue fill:       area cut, 8mm (always 6.4mm cutter)
                 black fill:     inside cut, 15mm
                 brown fill:   area cut, 3mm (skip if not making MP3 dock, see step 9)
                 orange fill: area cut, 6mm (skip if not making MP3 dock, see step 9)

Laser;     Red line: cut

Note: You will need to change cutters during some cuts.

Step 4: Test-assembly

Once it is all cut out, you can test assemble the item. This is where a stool comes in useful.
To assemble:

1. find the two centre sections (these are the parts with a slot all the way through), line them up, routed side out, and place them on the stool. It may help to tape these together. You can glue these together later, however it is not neccesary and I didn't.

2. find the top and bottom, and slide them through the centre sections. The top of the cabinet is the side with the holes and slots cut through, and this goes on the further in of the slots.

3. line up the top and bottom, and push down into position. there are a series of mortices to hold them in place.

4. insert one of the 3mm back panels. Although these are nearly square, they are not, so be careful with the orientation. make sure you put the right one in the right side; the one with the air vents goes in the hi-fi side.

5. Push the end on. Check it is the right end; the insides should match. The top, bottom, and back should push neatly into the mortices.

6. Turn it all over. make sure the floor is clear of grit (I didn't the first time, so some of my panels are a bit scratched)

7. Repeat steps 4 and 5 for the other side.

8. tilt it carefully onto it's bottom. Be VERY careful when doing this, as the ends can easily fall off.

9. If you wish, you can test-fit the media shelves at this point.

Step 5: Marking and Drilling

Once it is assembled, you can mark out the positions for the KD blocks and the shelf mounts. I found blu-tack was useful for holding fixings in place whilst marking.
I put 2 KD blocks to hold each end on (one between the end and the top, and one between the end and the bottom), and 4 to hold the centre pannels.
If you use the same shelf mounts as me, make sure that the screw holes are level, and the bars line up with the gaps in the shelves.

Once you have marked all the holes, take the cabinet appart and drill all the holes. If you wish, you can re-assemble and test-fit the fittings at this point.

Step 6: Sanding and Finising.

With the cabinet dissasembled, sand all the edges and faces, including (as much as possible) the slots. I found that a rotary tool with a sanding drum on came in useful for this, along with an orbital sander. Make sure you sand the ash off the edge of the MDF (assuming you have used a laser cutter).

If you use the same finish as I did (Briwax), apply a few coats using a duster, and rub in (I only used one, as I was working to a deadline, but more would probably be better)
I found that a duster clamped in the orbital sander instead of sandpaper was very useful for buffing the wood.

Step 7: Make the Shutter

The next step is to make the shutter. I have allready written a seperate instructable on this, so rather than repeat myself, I'll just link to it: How to make a corflute roller-shutter (or any other curved shape). With making the shutter, It is probably advisable to manufacture the special cutter. Don't worry if you go off line slightly on a few; It won't show from the outside.

Step 8: Making the Handles

On my cabinet, I made the handles out of a length of dowel. I cut it to length (Approx. 50cm), cut a flat on one side, then a slightly ofset 4mm grove down that flat (acctually, due to health and safety, I was not allowed to use the sawbench, so this had to be done by a teacher). At each end I cut a tab, sticking about 8mm out and a few mm thick, on an electric fretsaw, and rounded it off partially on the fretsaw and partially on a belt sander. I made 2 of these (one for each end of the corflute). The details are shown in the pics below.

However, there are other easier ways to make a handle. A simple way would be to just cut a hand-hole in the corflute, or a lightweight handle could probably be screwed on. However, if you use an option like this, it would be wise to round off the corners of the corflute, so it does not catch on the track.

Step 9: MP3/phone/tablet Dock (OPTIONAL)

In the design, I made allowance for an adjustable dock. Although I did not complete this, due in part to a mistake when routing, It can be relatively easilly added. The components need laser cutting out of 3mm material, and the longer components need sticking in the long slot at the back of the media slide. The smaller components need to be sandwiched inbetween, so they can slide.
You will probably need to alter the design to fit your connectors. So far I have designed connectors for a 3.5mm jack and a mini-USB socket. As long as you maintain the same hight, designing new connectors should be relatively straightforeward. Hot glue or epoxy is probably best to fix it in place.

Step 10: Final Assembly

It is now time to finally assemble the cabinet. Do this in the room you intend to keep it in, as I don't think it fits through most dorways.The process is pretty much the same as the test-assembly, apart from a few things.

1: You need to fit the shelf mounts before you assemble it, allong with as many KD blocks as possible. IMPORTANT NOTE: on the top and bottom, you will need to leave off the fixings on one side until you have slid it through the centre, as I forgot to allow room for them to fit through.

2: It is advisable to start with the media side, as this makes fitting the corflute easier.

3: Fitting the corflute is HARD. The easiest way to do it is to partially put the end on, slide the corflute into the track, and then carefully push the end the full way on.

Step 11: Additional Notes

Although the cabinet is pretty much complete, there are a few additional notes.
1: You will need to add stops into the track, at the front bottom corner. I laser cut some out of ply, but I've lost the design.

2: There is a specific wiring path, shown in one of the pics. Any other wiring path may obstruct the shutter.

3: I would advise putting a multi-way adapter at the bottom of the hifi section. The plug will need removing to fit it through the bottom slot.

4: If you happen to use this midi keyboard, then it will fit perfectly on the top shelf of the media side. This is because I have one of these, and wanted somewhere to store it. (I have curently got it wired in to the aux channel on my hifi.

Thanks for reading my instructable. If you hit any trouble, please ask. I've done my best with this instructable, but it was a large project and this was written retrospectively, which maked things tricky.

I have entered this into the Hurricane Lasers Contest, so please vote!

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