Stylish Two Drawer Faraday Cage

Introduction: Stylish Two Drawer Faraday Cage

If you think you may need a Faraday cage and you don’t want to spend too much time or money and you want it to look nice in your den or home office then this is the project for you.  You can use your Faraday cage to store some of your electronic devices when they are not in use and protect them against the effects of a solar storm:

or an electromagnetic pulse from an exoatmospheric nuclear detonation:

If you do not have one already, you will need to purchase a metal file cabinet.


Step 1:

This file cabinet has L shaped cut outs and a section of metal bent outward to act as stops to keep the drawer from being pulled out all the way.  I bent these back in and removed the drawers.

You will need some hardware as pictured.  The size does not matter as long as the screws, nuts, flat washer and lock washers all fit together. You will also need ring terminal crimp connectors and wire.

You will need to make three cable assemblies.  Two of them will have a ring terminal on both ends.  These are to electrically connect each drawer to the back or side of the inside of the file cabinet.  This needs to be done because the plastic slides that the drawers slide on are not conductive.  If the file cabinet you use has metal bearings, you will still want to attach the drawers to the inside of the file cabinet to insure a good electrical connection.  The other cable attaches to the outside of the file cabinet to connect the file cabinet to a metal grounding rod that has been pounded into the ground.

The cables that connect the drawers to the inside of the back of the file cabinet need to be long enough to allow the drawer to be opened up all the way.  You may want to make them long enough to attach both ends of the cable while the drawer is outside the cabinet.

Step 2:

Next drill a hole in the back of each drawer and two holes in the back of the file cabinet.  These holes need to be big enough for the screws to be attached.  The screws on the back of the drawers are attached with a cable on the outside of the back of each drawer.  As you can see from the picture of the screw on the back of the inside of the file cabinet, the screw is installed and captive before the other end of the cable that is attached to the drawer is attached to it.  This allows the cable to be attached to the back of the file cabinet without having to hold the screw in place from the outside of the cabinet.  Note that when attaching the screws to the back of the cabinet, one of the screws attaches the third cable to the outside of the file cabinet.

Step 3:

The file cabinet I purchased did not have a bottom.  To be an effective Faraday cage, all sides must be electrically conductive and electrically connected together.  There are several ways to make a conductive bottom for the file cabinet (or just buy one that has a bottom) such as aluminum foil glued to a big square piece of wood.  The edges of the bottom of the file cabinet are painted and not electrically conductive so another cable would be needed to attach it electrically to the cabinet.  I chose to use a sheet of aluminum. 

I cut the sheet to size and removed the sharp edges.  I drilled through hole for sheet metal screws.

Next I taped the plate to the bottom of the cabinet and used the same drill bit I used to drill the though hole to make divots for the smaller through holes for the sheet metal screws to cut threads in to.  Next I attached the plate to the cabinet with sheet metal screws and added some pieces of gasket material (industrial waste from my day time job) to act as feet (optional).

When you are done, use an ohm meter to make sure both drawers are electrically conductive with the cable connected to the outside of the file cabinet

Step 4:

I can still use my Faraday cage as a file cabinet with files in the front and stash my electronic gadgets, radios and spare parts in the back of the drawers.

For additional information about building, testing and installing Faraday cages, click the link below and check out the videos:


Please share. Here is the link to this instructable with all the steps on one page:




Has suggested using cardboard to electrically insulating the contents of the Faraday cage from the bare metal inside the drawer (see comments below). One or more cardboard boxes inside each drawer should work fine.


UPDATE 2-24-14:

Below is some additional and I think authoritative information on faraday cages:

Here is the bio for Arthur T. Bradley, Ph.D (Nasa engineer):


Here is an article he did on making your own faraday cage (have a look):


Here is his book:










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    18 Discussions

    Why are you grounding a faraday cage?????

    My concern would be with the inside needing to be lined with cardboard, also the gap in the drawers. I heard the max gap should be no more then 1mm.

    to test it, put a cell phone inside the cab. and close it, call the cell phone to see if it does not ring, if it rings it is of no use using that cab.

    You do not ever ground a faraday cage or defeats the whole principle of how it works!

    The principal of the cage does not depend on grounding, just good conduction around the cage.

    You need to drain the electrical charge off to somewhere as with a surge protector that needs to be grounded so also the faraday cage.
    The part where you have to line the inside of the cage with an insulator does not need to happen as the inside of the cage is always at Zero Potential.

    I will look into that. The theory as I understand it is that an EMP event from a nuclear device produces such a large amount of energy that it need to be dissipated. For now, I will go with grounding. In any case this file cabinet design will work grounded and if you are correct, un-grounded as well. thanks for the info.


    You many want to consider one of two things...

    Either line the inside of the metal cabinet with cardboard (to insulate the electronics inside from being in contact with the conductive material, or, simply wrap or insulate each electronic device inside individually.

    There are some arguments out there whether or not the inside actually needs to be electronically insulated (some feel that the EMP pulse will stay within the top outer molecular layers at it passes over the Faraday cage), but I would rather be safe than sorry by simply lining the inside with cardboard (bottom, sides).

    Beyond that, good idea regarding using a metal filing cabinet!

    3 replies

    Good Thinking about the cardboard. Most of the smaller items in my other cages are in cardboard boxes and plastic storage boxes and bins. This new cage is still at work where I did the modifications. When I get it home I will probably put a couple of cardboard boxes in each drawer as this one and one of the other ones I have at home are bare metal inside. The other two I have are painted metal. By the way, that is why I used the star lock washers. To break through the paint to make good electrical contact, Also, I test my cages with a meter about once a year to make sure they are properly grounded all the way out to the soil a few feet from the cold water pipe. Thanks again for the comment. A little cardboard is cheap insurance after going to all the other effort.

    By the way, modernsurvivalblog,

    Welcome to Instructables. For those not familiar with your site I included the link below.

    You really went the extra mile or two on this one. The graphics are fantastic.

    I am looking forward to some instructables as well.


    And here it is. Instructable #1:

    Thanks ModernSurvivalBlog

    Hello Kitty,

    That will not work for me since I have so many things electronic (being the wirehead/geek that I am). Also I would not want to have that long leash (ground wire) hooked to the box to make it portable.

    Some more info for you.!

    Good idea. Does anyone know if this would protect against EMP?