This is my first instructable so bear with me please.
I wanted a monitor riser for work, and I saw it as a perfect opportunity clean up some clutter. So after a number of sketches and research I came up with this. It has space underneath where I can tuck my keyboard and mouse, but what makes it interesting is the hidden amp and speakers.
Step 1: Electronic Guts
I started with researching the amp and speakers. I don't need to blast out my coworkers, just something to occasionally listen to. So I found a small 2x15w amp (http://www.parts-express.com/pe/pshowdetl.cfm?&Partnumber=320-330) and some speakers (http://www.parts-express.com/pe/showdetl.cfm?partnumber=300-375). I went with exciter speakers because then I could use the riser itself to produce the sound.
I'm new to the electronics side of things so after I got the the amp I began testing to see how it works. I figured out that it not only powered the speakers, but I could also run some LEDs and even a headphone jack that would relay the audio to use when the speakers weren't turned on.
Now I needed some place to put all this stuff.
Step 2: Wooden Outside
For the actual riser I built it out of oak. Woodworking is more in my comfort zone so I was able to create something nice.
If you look at the photo from the underside you can see the different holes and pockets to accommodate everything. First I cut holes in the back to pass through electrical, audio and USB cables. Then I routed out two holes for the speakers and their wire. I couldn't find 2x oak anywhere so I laminated two pieces of 1x together to get the thickness necessary. I routed a channel in the back for the LEDs and drilled a hole in the center divider for the switch to turn everything on. You may also notice the two holes drilled into the top on the left-hand side. Those are there for the barrel hinges, necessary for the secret door. I'll get to that in a bit. And finally on the top I routed out a channel to place my Wacom table and stylus.
Step 3: Make It Pretty
Originally I was going to do an ebony stain, but the oak looked so nice I didn't want to hide the grain. So I started with a dark stain, then sanded it out of the light wood so it stayed in the grain. Then a couple of coats of rosewood stain, sanding, a couple of polyurethane coats, and some more sanding in between. And this is what I ended up with.
As you can see there is a "secret" door on the left-hand side. That's where I put the amp, and it gives me a little place to put small desk items. I used barrel hinges on the door. They conceal themselves when the door is closed, they also have enough resistance to hold the door open.
Step 4: Wired
Now it was time to put it all together. I started with wiring the power source to the switch and amp. Then I plugged the stereo to 3.5mm male jack into the amp. This is what I use to plug into my computer as my source. I soldered a headphone jack (red/green/black wire braid) and mounted it on a plexi plate in the back. Wiring the speakers was straight forward. I did attach the speakers to the oak vs. the plexi because it produced nicer sound. The final touch was the lighting. I mounted 5 LEDs across the back and pointed them to the front to illuminate the plexi. That's what gives the orange "laser line" when things are turned on. I did add a strip of black electrical tape over the LEDs so that the lights won't light up the whole cubby, just the plexi.
Step 5: And Done
Here's what it looks like.
When I started building this I had two monitors that were the size of the monitor on the left. I had to replace one monitor and in a happy accident the riser just to happened to line up my old monitor with the top of my new monitor perfectly.
It took me about 4 months on and off to put this together. When you build something there's always something you feel like you could have done better, but overall I'm happy with how it turned out.
Hope you enjoyed this. I'll do my best to answer any questions and I'd love any tips or ways to improve it.