Introduction: Melamine Side Table Cabinets - From SketchUp to Actual Furniture
Some time ago, I’ve published a video where I showed you the process of creating a furniture piece in SketchUp. The video can be found at: https://youtu.be/RgNGANqkutg
In this Instructable, we will transform that same model into actual side table cabinets for my son’s room.
Soft Close Hinges
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Step 1: Connect the Side and Bottom Pieces
The cabinets are built out of a 16 mm melamine board that I had pre-cut form the seller. In the beginning, I organized all of the material by size and started by pre-drilling the holes for the side support screws.
It is important that these holes are pre-drilled so we can prevent the melamine from cracking as they are quite close to the edge of the board. Since the material is 16 mm wide, I made the holes at 8 mm so the screw is in the middle.
To assemble the sides, I’ve placed the left side piece upright on the floor and the bottom piece next to it. The screw is then placed in the hole and with a battery drill, I’ve screwed it all the way until the head of the screw is below or flush with the board.
To make sure that the assembly is strong, I’ve used 3.5x50 mm screws and all of the holes are pre-drilled with a 2 mm drill bit.
I’ve installed 3 such screws per side on the bottom piece but depending on the width of the cabinet, you can add more or less. My general rule is that I add a screw at the two ends of the board to prevent twisting and then add more screws in the middle so the distance between any two screws is not bigger than 25 cm.
Step 2: Install the Top Stretcher
With the sides installed, I’ve flipped the cabinet on its side and supported the side with the top stretcher. To install the stretcher, I’ve marked and pre-drilled two holes for the screws and screw it in place, making sure that it is properly aligned with the front and the top of the cabinet.
The same procedure is then repeated on the other side by adding two more screws, again making sure that the alignment is correct with the top and the front of the cabinet.
Step 3: Install the Back of the Cabinet
The back of the side tables is made out of 3 mm fiberboard that is held in place with screws.
To install it, I’ve placed the cabinet, face down on the floor and I’ve aligned the back piece with the bottom corners. One screw is then added to each of the corners and once everything is aligned, I’ve added more screws to all of the sides at about every 15 cm.
Step 4: Add Feet to the Cabinet
Since the cabinet will sit on the floor, I’ve added four plastic feet on each of the corners at the bottom. Depending on the look that you want to achieve these can be higher but I wanted it to sit low to the ground so nothing can go under it.
The feet are installed with two small screws and are screwed directly to the side pieces.
Step 5: Prepare the Door Hinges
The hinges need mounting holes that I had pre-drill from the store, so I’ve placed the hinges in them and in order to properly align them, I’ve used a piece of the melamine that I’ve pressed on both of the hinges. This ensures that both of them are in a straight line.
I’ve installed the holding screws directly without pre-drilling as I can align them easily in the center of the holes but you can also mark the locations and then pre-drill them as well.
The procedure is then repeated on the second door, again making sure that the hinges are in the same line.
Step 6: Install the Doors
With the hinges prepared, I’ve placed the cabinet on its side and added the door directly next to it. I’ve then aligned the top and the bottom of the door with the cabinet and installed the hinges to the cabinet sides.
Depending on the type of hinges, the part that attaches to the side of the cabinet can be removable but since the ones I have are with a soft close feature they are not.
For the second door, I flipped the cabinet on the other side and to make screwing easier, I’ve first marked the holes locations and pre-drilled the holes before installing the crews. This makes the holding of the screw in place much easier.
Step 7: Add the Tabletop
With the doors attached, next is the tabletop. I’ve placed it on top of the cabinet and I aligned it with the sides and the front. When I was happy with the alignment, I added a temporary clamp, pre-drilled one of the holes and added just a single screw.
Next, I verified the alignment and that nothing had moved and added the second screw in the front stretcher.
In order to hold the back of the top, I’ve used two plastic angle brackets that screw in from the inside holding the top on the side panels.
A little upgrade here would have been adding a second stretcher in the back so the top can be more easily attached and it would have provided better support for the back panel.
Step 8: Install the Shelf
The shelf is not directly attached to the sides of the cabinet, but instead, it sits on 4 pins that are embedded in the side panels. To install the pins, I’ve marked 4 positions in the sides, 2 at each side, at roughly a bit less than half the height of the inside of the cabinet.
With a 5mm drill bit, I’ve drilled 4 holes at each of the marks and slid in the holding pins. The shelf is then slid in and placed on top of the pins.
Step 9: Add the Door Handles
The hinges I’ve used have and adjustment screws so we can make sure that the doors are properly aligned with the body and each other. The adjustment is done by either tightening or loosening the adjustment screws on each of the hinges until we get the perfect fit.
As a final touch, we need to add the door handles to the cabinet doors so I first marked lines at 5 cm from the top and middle edges on both of the doors. This made one crossing point on the doors and I then measured the distance on the two holes of the handles.
By adding 5 cm to that measure, I marked the second hole and drill them out with the 5 mm drill bit.
To fasten the handle, a screw and a washer is put from the inside and screwed on the handle in the front.
Step 10: Install the Cabinets in Place and Enjoy
Since the cabinets sit on the floor, the install process is as simple as placing them at the desired location. We placed one next to my son’s bed and the other right to his desk. The top can either be used for placing decorations or for temporary storage of things.
It took me about 3 hours in total to assemble both of the cabinets and the end result is really pleasing.
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