Hello and thanks for taking some time to read my latest Instructable, I hope that you find it helpful as a guide to create something similar or at the very least that it inspires you on your own project. And if you find it helpful I would really appreciate you voting for me on the contests.
So I have two kids, one is to young to play games yet but the other is five and he is starting to like video games, the bad news is that he doesn't like being in his room alone and the living room TV is almost never available for him to play. So I gathered some leftover wood, extra casters and the screen from an old laptop that I took apart a few months ago and I got to work!
This will end up being something resembling the offspring of an arcade and a portable TV. We will connect his Xbox 360 to this and his Leap TV learning game and I'll keep my Wii U and PS4 on the main TV. I took this opportunity to experiment with stains and varnishes too and that part of it came out looking great!
Without him further delay, let's get started...
Step 1: Start the "tabletop"
Ok so I started with the most time consuming and probably the hardest part of this whole project.
I wanted the top surface to look elegant or else my wife won't allow it in the living room lol, so I took three pine 1.5x3/4's and I stained each one with a different color, mainly because I was curious and wanted to try this out so I could use it on a future project I have in mind.
So I used gunstock on the first length of wood, then I used red mahogany and finally bombay mahogany. I used those colors because I thought they would be more of a dramatic difference between them but the two mahoganies turned out to be very similar, so chose your stains wisely if you plan on doing this. I did a couple of coats on the two regular stains and one coat on the "one step" stain. Let it dry and Then comes the fun part.
Step 2: The Glue Up
Now that the stains are dry let's see what order the boards will look better in and let's glue them. It starts simple enough as it's just three 1.5" boards, these pieces of wood are almost never completely straight but try to keep the top as even as possible, this will help the end product look better so take your time. After the three board were glued together and while they were clamped I decided to drill thru them sideways and so I could push in dowels, I drilled the hole a little on the right side and I put glue on the dowels and hammered them in with a rubber mallet, this made it stronger but more importantly the dowels made it so that i didn't have to wait until the glue was dry, that saved me some time, so I took the long glued to board to the table saw and did some quick calculations and I ended up cutting the board in 5 equal pieces so that I could join four of them to form the tabletop.
Joining 2 of those boards was a little bit more challenging than when it was just the 3 individual boards but it wasn't that hard either just again try to keep the top levels I the end product looks better. After that it's time to join together the four boards this one was actually a lot more challenging, I tried a few different ways but the board kept snapping so I ended up putting the whole thing in my engineering vise using a couple of long 2x4's to support the boards while they were clamped, see attached photos.
When everything was dry and done I had a nice looking beginning for my top , except I just noticed that the tabletop was dirty with dry glue, normally this pulsar be an issue as you would sand the laminated board or run it thru the planer but this isn't an option since I didn't want to sand my stained boards....
Step 3: Cleaning Up the Glue
If I had know this was going to be an issue, I would have cleaned the glue more throughly after every glue up by using sawdust on the glue that was freshly squeezed out of the joints but hindsight is always 20/20.
What I ended up doing was that I took a piece of scrap wood and sit it into a triangle and used the corners on the triangle as a non-scratch spatula, it took some time and elbow grease but it turned out okay.
Now the slow processes begins. I used a water based, oil modified polyurethane, every about 12 hrs I would go and lightly sanded the top coat with a 320 grit pad and then I applied a new coat of polyurethane, after 5 or 6 coats I was happy with the results but that will be different depending on what you want and the actual product you use.
I the decided that it was too big for the size box I was going to be able to build based on how much wood I had and the size of the screen, so I took it to the table saw and trimmed it again.
Step 4: Building the Box
Now since this won't hold any real weigh I decided to build the whole thing using my compressor and nail guns.
Next I cut the two sides of my main box as well as the back piece, I made the back piece about the same size as my screen so that it wouldn't look weird once it's all put together. I then took the pieces to the router table and I routed all the outside corners using a Roman ogee bit, I really recommend routing the corners off your furniture, it really changes the look of your furniture so that instead of looking like it was made in your garage it now looks like it was made in China!
With the help of some pieces of crap 2x2's I start nailing the two sides and back piece together, I used 2" 16g nails for this part to make it a bit stronger. After I had the back and sides together I switched to my 18g gun and using 1.5' nails I nailed the sides directly to the back board so that it seals the gap that were left after I had nailed it the box by the supporting 2x2"s, now measure the opening and cut the bottom board of the box and attach it the same way
Step 5: Paint It
Now that I have two sides, back and bottom I'm going paint the box so that its easier to paint specially the inside corners. I'm using a flat black paint so that the inside of my box becomes like its own camouflage and it will hide the cables better, next I'll cut and put in a shelf, I left about 1.5" in the back so cables can run from the top to the bottom.
The easiest way to paint the shelf or any other boards if you do t have finishing triangles is to just cut some scrap into sort of triangles and paint on top of them.
Next I took a 2x4 and I trimmed the edges to make it square and I used my nail gun and wood glue, I used a square to make sure it's straight and then I drive a few screws into it to keep it strong.
Step 6: Put the Top On
Ok now I measured the table top and cut it to fit, and I took it to the scroll saw to cut the notch for the 2x4. And then I just nailed the top on, now that that's all in place let's get to the fun part.
Step 7: Casters
Now this thing needs wheels! I was going to go with 24" spinners but I had to settle for 3" casters with brakes!
Now it's looking like a box with stick in it! Lol also I made a hole on the back of the box just under the first shelf.
Step 8: Now the Screen
The screen I'm using came off a very old laptop, I think it was a gateway solo 2500, I bought a kit on eBay so that it works on HDMI, VGA and DVI. It actually looks better than I expected.
Anyways I was lucky that my last leftover piece of wood was exactly the width I needed so all I had to do was center it in place so that the top and sides were at equal distances, then I determined how much space I needed for the control board and power board, then I marked it all and I cut the different lengths at the table saw.
Then with my plunge router I milled half the depth of the screen and I made deeper holes for the boards and arranged it so that the inputs and outputs were centers in the bottom of the screen.
The plunge router has an attachment that allows you to set a distance so that you can cut straight lines. The bottom ledge is the one that absolutely needs to be straight, the others just need to be roomy enough for the screen and other components, the wider the bit the easier it will be to carve out everything, and trying to cut too much at once makes your router work harder.
After milling out the space for the components and the screen I took everything to my table router and used a Roman ogee on the outside corners and a straight bit on the inside where the screen would fit.
Step 9: Extend the Buttons
I extended all 5 buttons and the led light, in retrospect I should have extended them a little less, I then drilled five holes and made the inside wider and I glued the buttons using CA glue(superglue).
Step 10: Putting Mayo on the Sandwich
Making a screen sandwich is much harder than making a real sandwich, for one thing I've never had to use a nail gun to make lunch...
First thing is to mount the back of the screen on the 2x4 using nails and glue again, making sure it's even and at the right hight, then I secured the back piece with screws to give it extra strength, Then, put everything in its place, then I put some hot glue behind the screen and the boards to keep them in place while I glue and nail the front and back making a screen sandwich lol. I had previously drilled holes for the extended buttons and led so I make sure that's in the right place and I then spread glue on the places where wood touches wood and using shorter nails I put the screen setup together.
Step 11: Now More Paint
The next step is to paint what's still not painted, I decided to go with blue and green, unfortunately the blue I have is a spray and it's raining outside, so I used my respirator. But first things first, I taped the parts that shouldn't be painted at all and also the ones that were going to be green, also I had to careful to protect the black that's already painted so I didn't have to repaint too much. So after taping everything I painted the blue parts, then I used a heat gun to dry the spray and tapped the blue parts and painted the greens and repaired the blacks. And it looks awesome, so I'll call it a night and I'll clean it up and connect everything in the morning.
Step 12: Done!
Now that's all dry I used a wet cloth to clean the box and then I dried it all, I forgot to mentioned that I had made a hole on the 2x4 at a downward angle to help with the cable management. Then I put both game systems and a power strip and we are done, and as you can see my kid didn't waste any time...
I hope you liked my Instructable and if you have any questions feel free to comment, and I hope you voted for me! Thanks and have a nice day!