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Worklog : Building custom display cabinet

Discussion in 'Other Toys/Hobbies' started by RyoSaeba, Jan 4, 2020.

  1. RyoSaeba

    RyoSaeba Member

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    So not few months ago I started to run short of display place and wanted something that can hold more stuff. I've been toying with an idea of a custom display cabinet for awhile. This would be a big project because the cabinet will be about 3.6m x 2.2m x 0.4m in size. But money is always the issue. It's not cheap. DIY is not easy either nor will it be that cheap. It's cheaper but not cheap cheap. Eventually I decided to do an initial design and test the water so to speak. I did a rough design and figured out how much materials I'd need roughly. On paper this was easy to get. Overall raw materials would cost around $1800 roughly. I figured I'd round it up to 2k, because nothing is ever what it started out as. Anyway the trickiest part was getting the materials cut up to size. I found a company in Perth that does cut to size order. I sent an enquiry and they came back with a quote of around $2800 for about $500 worth of melamine. I asked is it supposed to be that expensive, and the sales guy said it's labour. Seriously about 20 cuts and about 6 edging. Bunnings does cuts for $1. Fuckers wants $2000+ for that. It's all straight cuts.

    Anyway I eventually turned to Bunnings Trade instead. They deliver but don't cut. So I had to break my melamine requirements into 2. One that I can carry in my car and one that I can't. Basically all the 3.6m stuff had to be delivered and I will need to cut them myself. The rest I went to local Bunnings and got them to cut it then had to carry it home in my car. Most of this went off without a hitch thankfully. Budget wise I'm pretty sure I went over 2k already. I'm not really counting anymore lol. I also had to buy a couple of tools which bumped the budget up, but tools can be reused later so it's fine. Got a biscuit cutter and another jig saw. Old one packed it in. Originally was going to buy a router and use that to cut the biscuit joint. Luckily I didn't. This biscuit cutter is awesome. Saved me so much time and is so damn easy to use. I am loving it! Best purchase of the whole project! lol

    Anyway here are some progression pics it's still WIP but should be done in the next couple of days. Spent about a week on it already. Most of the time is spent cutting and drilling. Assembling is surprisingly going off without much issue. There were some design issues that had to be modified on the fly. So project is taking longer than I had anticipated.

    This is the original space. Those are modified Ikea Detolfs cabinets. 8 of them fit the space with some gaps. Down side of this is that there are a lot of space wasted above the cabinets. They're not that tall. They sit on Ikea Expedit cabinets so that give me some storage space below but I still would rather be able to utilize the space between and above. Anyway I got lucky and was able to sell all the cabinets at an acceptable price. Which offset the new build.
    upload_2020-1-4_2-30-54.png

    Did my initial design in 3D studio to measure the exact size I need. I ordered everything to the exact mm... in hind sight I should've designed a bit more tolerance into the design. But surprisingly it all came in pretty close to design. Some parts were out by 1-2mm which had to be trimmed but pretty much everything was spot on.
    upload_2020-1-4_2-37-5.png


    I haz woodz! :D
    upload_2020-1-4_2-29-51.png

    Biscuit cutter is awesome!! Although I didn't end up using biscuits on this panel...
    upload_2020-1-4_2-31-45.png

    Coming together nicely. Biscuit joints on the back makes everything super neat and line up perfectly. Extremely impressed with myself that everything is still squared and nothing is warped. There's a false floor so I can run cables through it.
    upload_2020-1-4_2-33-40.png

    The bottom part before I put it in place. upload_2020-1-4_2-38-21.png

    The holes lined up pretty neatly too.
    upload_2020-1-4_2-38-49.png

    This is how much room it's taking up. I will have to slowly walk it into the alcove behind it after.
    upload_2020-1-4_2-39-25.png

    The back panel will be lined with black acrylic sheets. This serve to hide the panel joints because I can't get a single piece of melamine that size and also looks nice. I can also change colour or design later pretty easily. There's a 1/6 Geralt of Rivia from Witcher series in there while I'm testing to see if the shelves are level. The middle rail is about 2mm too tall so I had to strip it all back and fix it. All the rails were removed and moved up higher for 2 reasons. One is to correct the leveling and 2 is to allow the floor to be removed easier. Originally they are sitting on the panel so taking out the false floor was a bit trickier.
    upload_2020-1-4_2-41-21.png

    So here's the rails having moved up higher. The leveling is much better now.
    upload_2020-1-4_2-44-2.png
     
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  2. OP
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    RyoSaeba

    RyoSaeba Member

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    This is what the back looks like. Those horizontal bars are acting like a giant washer to give extra strength to the vertical rails. Basically instead of using all wood screws, I used 2 bolts n nuts on each rail threaded through all the way. The wood screws also are driven through the panels at the back. Originally I was going to use shorter ones that doesn't protrude out, but decided it can use the extra strength. The blocks with the black strips are to offset the back so it doesn't touch the wall behind it. Those black strips are felt tapes. When pushed all the way back into the wall, it won't damage the wall. I can safely keep pushing it until it's tight. So I don't have to worry about my protruding screws and bolts making holes in the wall.
    upload_2020-1-4_2-45-49.png

    So with everything in place, I've decided that I no longer need to access the back again, I pushed it slowly into place. Inching it backward one side at a time. I also lined the entire bottom with felt tape so it was pretty easy to slide it over tiled floor without scratching the hell out of the floor. There's a 10cm gap at the top of cablings etc. The back is blocked too so nothing can fall off it into the abyss. There's going to be a side cabinet too which will house power supply etc.

    upload_2020-1-4_2-51-12.png

    Light installed. Just some cheap LED downlight with adjustable temp. I chose the natural white colour. Might try the cool white if it doesn't suit. There's a panel at the top that hides the gap, that just attaches with 8 neodynium magnets. Was going to use door hinges but making holes etc was a pain. so just got 4 L brackets and since I have bunch of really strong magnets it was easier this way. Also it's very effective.
    upload_2020-1-4_2-53-42.png

    Not much further to go I hope. There's some cleaning up like removing the pencil lines, clean up some shocking edges that was caused by my cheap circular saw. The doors and the sliding rails hopefully will be installed tomorrow.

    My whole body is in pain and my arms looks like I've been trying to abusing myself with cuts and bruises all over lol. I supposed I have been abusing myself, it's all self inflicted after all lol.
     
    Last edited: Jan 4, 2020
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    RyoSaeba

    RyoSaeba Member

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    Peeled back the protective sheet for the backing. Done some more adjustments, cut the center column to size and painted it. Here's another pic and the red square is roughly how big an Ikea Detolf is for comparison.

    upload_2020-1-4_19-34-33.png
     
    Last edited: Jan 4, 2020
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  4. OP
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    RyoSaeba

    RyoSaeba Member

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    First front panel installed. So nervous that the doors will not work properly at this point. Taking dinner break before installing the sliding doors.

    [​IMG]
     
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    RyoSaeba

    RyoSaeba Member

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    Doors are in, and sliding tracks works great! :D

    upload_2020-1-5_15-13-14.png

    The only thing is that The right corner doesn't appear as square as I had hoped. :(
    I will hide that with an aluminium channel. So no sweat. Easy fix. :D
    [​IMG]

    The acrylic doors are flexing a little bit so it's hitting the center piece. It's hard to see because it's clear, but there are 3 panels at the front. 2 sliding doors on each side that goes all the way to the other side, and a solid stationary piece in the middle that's 800m wide. That also acts as a center pillar stopping the middle from bowing, but as such itself bowed a little. But it's not too bad. It's managable. I just have to watch it when I open/close the doors. Which hopefully won't happen too regularly.

    Almost there. Putting in the glass shelves next. Then have to build the side cabinet. That will probably have to wait until next weekend. But at least the most difficult part is done now. :D There are some scratches on the clear panels. It's almost impossible to not get any sadly. Glass would've been better, but glass would be very heavy and expensive in that size. So had to make a compromise to use acrylic instead.
     
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    RyoSaeba

    RyoSaeba Member

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    And here it is. Glass shelves in place. Gonna populate it over the next week. Then build the side cabinet during the weekend. Been a long week and a half. Photo doesn't look that big lol.

    upload_2020-1-5_17-42-51.png
     
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    RyoSaeba

    RyoSaeba Member

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    Adjusted the lights from neutral to cool white. Also added a few more figures. This will house my 1/6 scale collection. The 1/1 scale collection will go to the other side.

    upload_2020-1-5_18-56-30.png
     
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    RyoSaeba

    RyoSaeba Member

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    "Fixed" the gap on the end of the right sliding door today. I put an L Channel strip infront of the door to hide the door gap. :D

    upload_2020-1-6_20-3-35.png
    upload_2020-1-6_20-3-45.png
    upload_2020-1-6_20-3-55.png

    And added a door handle.
    upload_2020-1-6_20-4-31.png
     
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    RyoSaeba

    RyoSaeba Member

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    Spent the day building the side cabinet. I've never really ended up deciding how it should build this. So I'm making it as flexible as possible so I can mix and match this one as I required. Manually drilling all the holes took forever!!! :lol:

    upload_2020-1-11_23-33-25.png

    But they lined up beautifully! :D Glass does not rock. :thumbup:
    upload_2020-1-11_23-41-54.png

    upload_2020-1-11_23-42-31.png

    If anyone is wondering, the glass for this one is the glass shelves from the Detolf. I have like 20 sheets spare, so I thought I'd use them here. :D
     
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    RyoSaeba

    RyoSaeba Member

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    Pushed it into place. Will do adjustments and shelves tomorrow. :D

    upload_2020-1-12_0-16-4.png
     
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    RyoSaeba

    RyoSaeba Member

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    And it's done! ... well almost. Still have the top cover to put in and some cleanup. But yeh it's pretty much done. :D

    upload_2020-1-12_16-19-10.png

    The little cabinet for cables and PSU which will be moved over soon. There's gaps left between cabinet and etc so hopefully it won't be too difficult to run the cables.
    upload_2020-1-12_16-20-14.png

    Access to light switch still available.
    upload_2020-1-12_16-20-37.png

    Might put in a door later. The little hole at the very bottom is for my shoes. :D
     
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    RyoSaeba

    RyoSaeba Member

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    I'm done. Now to move the figures into it. Deciding on what goes where is the next challenge! lol :lol:
    I will build a door on the right cabinet and make an access slot for the light switch.

    upload_2020-1-13_9-59-57.png
     
    Last edited: Jan 13, 2020
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  13. OP
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    RyoSaeba

    RyoSaeba Member

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    Side cabinet door done. Waiting for a clear acrylic hinge from ebay to arrive from china. Might take a few weeks.
    upload_2020-1-18_19-17-47.png

    upload_2020-1-18_19-17-39.png

    upload_2020-1-18_19-17-58.png
     
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  14. Kommandant33

    Kommandant33 Member

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    You have missed your calling as a shop fitter! That’s looking great
     
  15. OP
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    RyoSaeba

    RyoSaeba Member

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    Thx mate! :D But after this I really don't think I'd want to touch another project like this for a long long time lol. I have a new found respect for people who does this and a renewed love for IKEA. Having all the parts designed, measured, cut, drilled and all the fittings counted for you, and still affordable enough to not break the bank is simply amazing.
     
  16. apsilon

    apsilon Member

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    That looks fantastic, great job :thumbup:

    I'm planning on doing my entire home office/storeroom in a few months. Whole lot of cabinets and shelves etc which'll be my first time doing that sort of thing. Did you buy boards that were pre edged and design it such that all your cuts are concealed? I know melamine chips really easily and is one of my biggest concerns.
     
  17. OP
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    RyoSaeba

    RyoSaeba Member

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    Thx mate. :D Yeh the Melamine from bunnings always have 3 edges. 2 shorts and 1 long edge. Just had to decide which side to use where. Wasn't too difficult. They also sell the iron-on edging which are really easy to use. I used those to edge the small door on the right and the hole cut out for the light switch. Just place over the edge, iron it and it slice really easy with a stanley knife. The chipping issue is also true. If you're cutting it with a circular saw, you need to get a blade with "reverse hooks angle". Instead of carving into the wood, they scrape it away so it's gentler and doesn't cause as much chipping. If you're using table saw or jig saw, use one with higher teeth count. Like with finer teeth. Applying masking tape to the cutting/drilling area also helps.

    Drilling is another one. If you're drilling, the entry point is typically quite clean, the exit point not so. To avoid this you can place another piece of wood behind the one you're drilling and clamp it down hard. This will reduce the splintering when the drill exit. I did do that but didn't clamp down quite hard enough so there's still a bit of splitering in the edge of the timber as you can see in the final pic posted above. The other side is much cleaner though. If you can orientate it so the exit point is hidden somewhere you can't see. Then you don't need to worry about it. Alternatively just paint the chipped edge white. It'll hide the chipping too.
     
  18. apsilon

    apsilon Member

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    Cheers, I'm still tossing up my options currently and thinking about colours. I've started designing elements in my head but will be putting all that into Sketchup before I actually start. I'll be using a track saw with the finest blade I can get for cutting. I'd love a table saw but just don't have the room. I've heard talk of aluminium blades (ie those designed for cutting aluminium, not made from it) work well for melamine as the teeth usually have less "hook" to them plus a high tooth count. That plus making a very shallow scribing cut first followed by a second full depth cut also helps. Aluminium blades aren't cheap though at roughly double the $$$ of fine tooth wood blades, and so far I haven't found anyone that's actually done it, just people that have heard of it. I'll have a play with some offcuts etc first.

    if all goes to plan I'll do a bit of a write up myself. I'll be pretty happy if it looks as good as this turned out.
     
  19. OP
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    RyoSaeba

    RyoSaeba Member

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    Ah yes metal blades are reverse hooked so that's what you want. I use it for cutting acrylics etc and it work great for melamine. Look forward to your renovation mate! :D
     
  20. MR CHILLED

    MR CHILLED D'oh!

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    Not sure how I missed this thread but great work, end result looks great :thumbup:
     

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