Are You Entertained?

About: I am a junior in college and a part-time maker.

When I moved into my dorm this year I realized that I did not have an adequate place to put my TV long-term. (mounting it on a sub-woofer and a thick book wasn't going to cut it) So, I decided to build a stand for the TV that was space efficient with two mini fridges and a microwave. Additionally I wanted the unit to have some shelving for convenience. Being a college student, another restriction was that I wanted it to be as cheap as possible.

Step 1: Bill of Materials

Materials:

1. 1/2" MDF board (I used a total of about 1 and 3/4 4' x 8' sheets)

2. Wood glue

3. Brad nails (small regular nails would work too)

4. Spray paint in color of your choice

Tools:

1. Table saw (circular saw or hand saw could be used instead)

2. Nail gun (hammer for regular nails)

3. Right angle clamps

Step 2: Measure Twice, Cut Once (Design)

I began by measuring the two fridges, the microwave, the height of the TV screen, and total wall space behind the TV (second picture). I didn't want the unit to feel imposing in my small-ish dorm room, so I capped the depth of the unit to 15". As seen in the first picture I decided on measurements working out from the corner, to ensure that everything would fit. I made sure to budget extra width and height around the fridges and microwave so that they would for sure fit.

Tip: don't forget to include the width of the MDF when spacing out the vertical pieces

I didn't plan enough support for the middle vertical pieces initially, so I had to add those later. Before I cut anything I double and triple checked all of my measurements and proposed dimensions of pieces.

Step 3: Cutting the Pieces

I used scrap pieces of MDF that I found in the workshop to cut down on costs. Before I cut anything I planned out which pieces I would cut from which boards and drew lines to cut on. I did this to make sure that I could fit all the pieces on the MDF scrap pieces.

Since all of my pieces are rectangular, I cut every piece on a table-saw. A circular saw or hand saw could be used instead.

When cutting I accounted for the saw blade curf, to prevent pieces from coming out slightly smaller than they needed to be.

Step 4: Some Assembly Required

I began putting all the pieces together by starting on the microwave side because less pieces are on that side. Right angle clamps were very useful in make sure that each joint was straight with the world. Each joint is held together with wood glue and brad nails. Before clamping a joint, I put a line of wood glue on one of the pieces, then I used a nail gun to brad nail the joints.

The combination of glue and brad nails makes for a more secure joint. None of the scrap pieces could fit a 56" piece on it, so I split the top panel into two pieces. The joint I placed above the second leg from the left in the thrid picture. I used some 3" x 2" MDF pieces to thicken the surface that the top panels connected to the vertical panel, in order to provide as much strength to the joint as possible.

At this point I noticed that the middle space was very flimsy, and realized that I needed to put bracing on it.

Step 5: You Must Construct Additional Support

I cut down some extra pieces of MDF to support the large open space in the middle.

First I spanned the gap in the back with a piece to keep the two legs from bowing as much.

Then I cut two triangles with 90 degree corners to support the weight of the top panel. As the triangles would be difficult to see from the front once the unit is painted, I didn't do any measuring aside from making sure that they were 90 degree triangles.

Once I added these supports, the unit was much more sturdy.

Step 6: Out of Sight, Out of Mind

I completely underestimated how much spray paint I needed, so I didn't have enough to cover the whole unit. As such I focused on covering the visible parts, and didn't worry too much about the back, or the side that would be going against the corner wall in my room.

Step 7: To Boldly Go ...

Once the paint dried, I moved the unit into my dorm room and put the fridges, microwave, and TV on the unit. It turned out alright!

Some refinement I would make would be to add back lighting along the edges on the back to provide some ambient lighting in the room when the TV is not in use. Everything needs some RGB

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    Thorondor95

    2 months ago

    I will diffidently keep this in mind when I move into my dorm (I'm still in dual enrollment, but I can plan ahead, right?).