Hey Everyone :D
This is a project that has been dear to my heart for over a year now. Sure I could have finished this in a week or two, but I wanted to make it the best I could. This is the second version of my Infinity Table, first being made of plywood and 2 by 2’s x_x , this is a classier version using mostly stained Oak . I love the old fun house mirror tricks and the old 70’s infinity mirrors. Rather then make my own infinity mirror, I jumped into something a little more three-dimensional. ( Who needs to walk, before the run anyway? >.> )
*** Big thanks to my Uncle Will for help with the carpentry, and to my sister Katie for editing my horrid spelling; Thanks Sis.
Let’s Get Started !
You will need...
- (4x) 2 x 2 x 3 foot length of turning oak
- (1x) 14 x 14 inch 3/4 inch pine base
- (1x) 16 x 16 inch 3/4 inch pine lid
- (8x) 10 x 3 inch 3/4 inch Oak (Trim)
- **Lighting of your choice
- (4x) 12 x 26 inch 1/8 inch 2-way Mirrored Glass
- Wood Screws and Finishing Washers
- Wood Glue
- Sand Paper
- 12v power adapter (Wall-wart)Inline DC barrel jack
** I won't go into too much detail on the lighting at this point, you will hopefully get a better idea :)
Step 1: Cut Up Lumber,Carve Biscuit Slots
Start by cutting and notching all the lumber you will need for the table. The base, lid and trim should all be straightforward. The tricky cuts are the legs/window frame. I used some ¼inch tempered glass, so I needed to cut out a channel to seat the glass in. For my prototype, I cut a ¼ inch slot down two sides of a 2x2. In my final version I opted to cut a stair type pattern into the legs, using four cuts with a table saw. The upper trim needs mounting holes drilled in it to mount the lid from underneath. By doing this, your table will not have any visible screws.
For extra strength I decided to use biscuits and glue over brad nails or staples. Just follow the instructions that came with your equipment and pay close attention to placement.
Step 2: Break Out the Glue !
Be sure to have everything you need before you even open the glue. You will need a flat surface, biscuits, glue, clamps and a damp towel or rag. It will be easiest to glue one side at a time; then join the two halves together. Lay out your pieces in the correct orientation. Now it’s time to move a bit faster. I made the mistake of using some fast set molding glue I had handy, shortening the time to realign the pieces. I would suggest using one designed for cabinet making, or just plain old wood glue.
Coat both sides of the four biscuits you will need first, and a small amount in the slots for the biscuits. Slide the biscuits into their slots on the upper and lower trim, and then slide them into their spots on the legs. Clamp them down with a pair of clamps like I did, and wipe off all the glue that will naturally leak out. Prepare the other half just the same and let them cure for Minimum 8 hours, preferably 24 hours for the strongest bond. The next day prep your two halves and the remaining 8 biscuits with the glue of your choice. Leave one half on the table with the biscuit slots facing upwards. Then press the upper and lower trim, finish by seating the second half on top and clamping them together to cure.
Step 3: Secure Home Base
The last part of the wood assembly is to install the base. I chose to again use glue, but skipped on the biscuits in favor of wood screws in the corners and the lower trim. Start by drilling pilot holes. Be sure to Counter sink the screws; Drill a slightly larger hole 1/8 of a inch into the base, right were you just drilled your pilot holes. this cavity will seat the screws, instead of them scratching your floor.
Step 4: Sand Away !
This was by far the most time consuming part of the process; invest as much time as possible (you will see your good effort, or lack thereof). If you cleaned off most of the leaking glue this step will be much easier. IF YOU DO NOT sand out ALL glue, stain will not penetrate and you will have a patchwork finish (bleh L). Start with something like an 80 grit then finish with a smoother grit. Usually 200 grit would suffice but I chose to use 500 for a seamless finish. Each surface, crack and crevice will need a slightly different set of tools. Be careful not to sand in small motions, this will cause “spooning,” a low spot in the material that will take considerably effort to fix, if you even can. Make the first pass with a long sanding block; the more contact the sanding block makes contact with you’re piece the better your finish will be. Be sure to pay close attention to the inside corners. If you can’t get a sanding block in there, try using a mini file. After the sanding block has everything level, break out the high grit sandpaper. I used a palm sander for that part, but a random orbit sander would be best. Be sure to sand the lid too.
When you think you’re done; do it again
(just trust me).
Step 5: Stain and Varnish
Since most of my table was made from some nice Oak, staining was a must. Start by cleaning all dust from that awesome sanding job you did earlier. I used Tack-cloth but a lint free cloth or even a clean rag will work. Follow the package instructions for stain and clear coat.
Usually you will use a lint free cloth to rub a small about of stain into the surface, let sit for a moment, wipe off excess while doing your best to blend everything together; repeat if necessary. Use a paint brush (not a foam one, they leave bubbles) to apply the clear coat and let it dry. Sand it with the grit sandpaper that the manufacturer suggests. Clean the surface and apply the next coat. I would recommend 2-3 coats for a good finish and a protective layer. Again don’t forget to stain and varnish the lid.
Step 6: EL-Wire Constellations
Now for the fun part :D . You could use some cheap Christmas lights like I did for my prototype, or make something special. Each project is unique and you can draw inspiration from anywhere. Look around Instructables you will find something ;) .
I chose to do a Star-field to take advantage of the infinity effect. I will start with the constellations made from EL-wire.
First we need to strip and solder-up the EL-wire; I used this guide when I was learning. If you are using EL- wire I would strongly suggest reading his Instructable for some really useful info.
To form the constellations, I printed out a template of some of my favorites. To make the bends nice and sharp, use a pair of needle-nose pliers to hold the wire just before the planned bend. Slowly bend the loose end by hand just a few degrees past where you want it; when you let go it will bounce back to where it is supposed to be. Use scotch tape to hold the bends in place until you glue them. Originally I planned on using superglue, but due to limited surface area (two round objects are not close fitting) I switched to hot glue. If you were to glue them to a flat background, super glue would be an excellent choice. For freestanding, I found a tiny dot of hot glue held them together nicely.
Lastly the EL-wire needs power. I used a 12v inverter hidden under the inner base plate. And then I hacked apart an old Ethernet cable for the paired wires. Now that we have power, it’s time to finish them. Use some floral stem wire -the thick stuff- to create a type of arm that will help support the effect. And then sheathe the whole thing is heat shrink tubing, to help the wires blend into the background. We will mount these a bit later.
Step 7: Fiber-Optics and Final Electronics
Second lighting effect is a 70’s style fibre-optic palm. Groovy! I mounted it on a base plate made of darkly stained -almost black- plywood with a hole for the stem to fit through. It is illuminated by a 3Watt RGB-LED directly beneath the stem (center). It runs a simple random RGB mixer based on Arduino. You can see the colour controller on the right and the 12v EL-wire inverter on the left. In the upper left corner you can see a fan, and past that is a 5amp/5v voltage regulator. ( I like overkill >.> ) It only pulls an amp, giving room for future expansion; there is a 5v lead hidden under the lid. Another reason I chose suck a massive regulator was this is a “sealed,” case with minimal air circulation. I needed the amps with minimal heat. I used the fan and bent some spare acrylic to manage the airflow. It draws the air through the colour controller and the LED heat sink then past the voltage regulator, returning on the other side to keep the air cool, and circulating. Not perfect but it has been working great.
Now you may ask if the case was basically sealed how did I power it? To solve this in the most subtle way, I grabbed an in-line dc barrel jack and a drill bit with a slightly smaller diameter. Drill a small tunnel through the base until you are and inch or two past the glass. Then drill straight down to reveal your covert power source.
Step 8: Install the Glass
OK, time to close it up. If you bucked up for ready-made 2-way mirrors, right on! I didn’t >.<
To make your own 2-way mirror, buy or find some glass, and some 2-way mirror film from your favorite home improvement store. The instructions on the pack will be far better than mine, follow them. Still, I do have some tips.
This stuff is worse than vinyl graphics. The glass MUST BE PERFECTLY CLEAN. Any dirt, dust, grime or fiber of clothing must be cleaned off. Start cleaning by using some basic ammonia based cleaner (the blue stuff). Rinse with tap water and use a razor to remove anything still stuck on it. Repeat the cleaner and tap water rinse. My secret is to do a final rinse with distilled water. *When you think it is clean, clean it again*. The tiniest imperfection will cause the film to bubble. The first time you use this film plan to redo your work… two or three times >.< Eventually I learned to do it with no bubbles, but it takes time and practice.
The best way I found to mount the glass is with clear silicone. Slide the glass in with the FILM SIDE IN. The silicone can bound with the film, but any hit may rip the film off the glass. Most film brands do not like cleaners, specifically ammonia based, so film in has the added benefit easy glass cleaning without damaging the film. Three out of four sides will need to be solidly mounted, and the fourth with just enough to hold it on. This will allow you to remove the panel for servicing and upgrades. I used a wide bead around the circumference of the fixed mirrors, and a smaller bead top and bottom for the access panel. Hold them in place with soft clamps overnight.
Step 9: Cap It Off and Enjoy !
Last step is to seal the top. Before you do this, be sure you do a “burn test.” Plug it in, loosely place the lid on, and turn it on at full power with all possible options turned on. Leave it for 15 min and check how warm the chips are getting. I have the luxury of an inferred thermometer, if you don’t a general rule of thumb is if you can hold your hand on the chip for three to five seconds without it hurting you should be good. If your chips get over 50*C/122*F you probably have a problem. Personally I like to see mine at 30*C/86*F. If all is well, repeat over 24H. If YOU are satisfied with the safety and performance then now is the time. Be sure you are finished, because after you screw on the top you lose rapid access.
I wanted an uninterrupted finish on the lid so I attached the lid from its bottom. Earlier I drilled holes through the upper trim, these allowed me to run wood screws up through the trim and into the bottom of the lid. I took the time to paint the screw heads and some finishing washers black. This helped to hide the mounting screws.
Now take a step back, and Bathe in the welcoming waves of accomplishment, Pride and other Warm, Fuzzy feelings. lmao. All and all, this was Really fun to make; I hope this inspires(even just one person) to keep going, and make there dream a reality. If you can think it, You can build it.
If you enjoyed the read, please leave a comment, I try to get back to any questions. Feel free to Subscribe, I have three other projects due to be unveiled soon.
PS: Now show me what You can do :P