Being a cord cutter, you'll accumulate a few small Home Theater PC devices, devices such as a Roku, an Amazon Fire, a XBMC device, a Raspberry PI, or even a digital tuner. Each device requires space, has cords, remotes, and needs adequate airflow. How can a cord cutter organize all of their devices cheaply? With a simple repurpose of an old DVD or CD rack.
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Step 1: Accessing Your DVD/CD Box Dimensions
Using a wooden rack that is approximately 6x9 appears to be an ideal size for this project. This old Napa Valley CD Box is about to gain some new life
Step 2: Cutting Two Shelves
Measure the inside dimensions of your CD rack. For the Napa Valley CD Box used here, the inner dimensions are 5 inches wide x 8 1/4 inches long. Cut two inner shelves of 5 x 8 1/4. A 1/4 thick panel of plywood scrap works here. The devices being placed on these shelves have no real weight. Yet, you don't want to use a wood that can't be stained or a wood that will warp under its own weight.
Step 3: Visually Inspect the Shelves
Check the two shelf cuts for custom fit and hand sand as needed. Remember to offset each shelf a 1/4 inch to 1/2 inch down from each corresponding backing board, you want a small lip at the back of each shelf. This will help to keep your cables nicely ordered while avoiding any device or remote control from being pushed out the back of the HTPC Minirack.
Step 4: Stain
Stain Time. You'll need to sand all the wood lightly with a higher grit sandpaper, I used a quick pass of 220. Blow off the dust. Take your time with the stain, you can always apply more than 1 coat to get a darker color. Start light on the stain, let the stain set up the required amount of time listed on the side of the stain can's instructions. Once the stain has set up, wipe down the wood, removing the excess stain, and repeat as needed to achieve your desired color.
Step 5: Securing Your Shelves
Once your stain has been wiped down and given the proper curing time to set in the wood, you can consider how you want to attach the shelves.
You could use wooden dowels with drill holes, but this method might require you to disassemble one side of the CD box in order for your drill to fit inside the unit. If you are going the dowel method, consider doing this before you stain the box.
You could use a type of L bracket, but this method requires 16 screws and 4 brackets. It's a little more work and would produce a secure finished shelf.
Or you could choose the down and dirty method which uses 8 screws with 4 screws on each inside end piece. Using a wooden spacer that is approximately 2 inches thick, you can split up the inner dimensions with two drawn lines for each shelf. Checking each of the four drawn shelf lines for plumbness.
Using screws that match the color of your stain would help hide them. Since the screws aren't going to be that visible and I wanted to do this quickly and cheaply, I used the silver screws I had on hand.
Step 6: Organize the Clutter
Presenting my new HTPC rack, complete with a space on each shelf for each device remote. Needing a location for my HDMI splitter, I velcroed the HDMI splitter on the side of the HTPC rack for easy access.
This rack is small enough, you could velcro the rack on top of a wider TV, or hang it from a wall using a couple of simple anchors.
Dressing the cables for an aesthetic choice is up to the individual, use cable ties to make a cable bundle if you won't be changing your cable connections in the future. I left mine partially undressed because I do swap a type of connector when using my DVR on one of the devices.