Building a custom entertainment center

Discussion in 'Home Theater Projects' started by dave1987, Jan 22, 2012.

  1. dave1987

    dave1987 Auditioning

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    I plan to build an entertainment center for my apartment that will house my television, cassette deck, turntable, XBOX (which is my media center), the playstation 2, and have shelving for my records, DVDs (not many) and my current sound system's control pod, later being an actual A/V receiver.
    Hopefully the building materials will not sky rocket, but I plan to build the majority of it with laminate board, and use pine for the drawer faces and shelves, all coated with a medium cherry stain and brushed stainless drawer handles. If possible, I may install glass or lexan doors for the shelving, which will be recessed.
    Here is the quick mock up I did in Microsoft Paint:
    [​IMG]
    Grey items are Sound System components
    Red is the digital picture frame (powered off by remote control)
    Yellow is where light would be emitted from using recessed light fixtures mounted upside down. I plan to use a remote controlled power outlet and program my Icon Remote to power the lighting on or off if possible.
    On the side view, the grey strip along the back is where I would have surge protector power strips mounted. I use two strips but only one outlet on the second power strip.
    For the headphone amp and switch box, I plan for that to be an entire component of it's own. I have a headphone amp that I built that can be adapted to a different cabinet. It's a simple amp, run off two 9V batteries. It has three connections on the back, all 1/8" stereo connections (it was originally built for an MP3 player or for the computer). On the front, it has a power indicator LED, a volume knob, and a 1/4" stereo connection for the headphones.
    If I can find a decent AV switch box, I will build a presentable wood cabinet and move the AV switch box components into it, and combine the headphone amp controls into that as well. This would not be permanent though, as I plan to get an actual AV receiver later on that will control all of this for me.
    The 8-Track receiver is actually a vintage Lloyds 8-Track AM/FM receiver which I plan to keep as part of the entertainment center setup permanently. It gives it some class and character! In time, when a sufficient AV receiver is found and purchased, both will still be on the entertainment center together, but the AV receiver will only be used as a switch box/amp and not a tuner.
     
  2. Adam Gregorich

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    David-
    I'd love to see pictures when you are done. I don't have any basis for judging the height, so this might be irrelevant, but think about cords. Does it make sense to have headphones plugged into something on the top shelf? Same with PS2 controllers. Do you want those controller cords to potentially cross the screen for someone sitting on the side? Is the turntable too high to be able to see all the controls? You may want to consider planning for a future pull out for it. I would try to make the center speaker be at ear level or closer to the R+L speakers. You may want to consider building a small shelf right above the TV and below the 8 track for it.
     
  3. dave1987

    dave1987 Auditioning

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    Thank you to Adam Gregorich for helping me with my first forum post! Your help is greatly appreciated!
    Now I have a few questions about my design, to find out how well it's going to go together.
    1) I am planning to use 1" laminate board for the sides, base, TV shelf, and the top, is this going to be ridged or strong enough to hold up the 95lb CRT television I have now, without the board flexing?
    2) For making the shelves adjustable, what is the best type of hardware to use? I know that my current second hand entertainment center uses some type of 1/4" metal "pin" that is flattened on the end that the shelf sits on to keep it from rolling. I haven't had any luck finding these locally though.
    3) With recessed lighting, can they actually be used upside down and with zero clearance on the reverse side of the lamp without any heat issues? My biggest concern with doing these is the heat that will be generated, and the chance of a fire.
    4) For most of the dividers and the permanent shelves, I plan to use a dado bit in a router and then use wood screws on the outside to secure everything. Each screw head would be sunken into the wood and then covered with a wood plug.
    5) Will 1/4" plywood be sufficient enough for the back panel?
    I'm hoping for an end result of something easy on the eyes, yet at the same time somewhat elegant, and all the while built very sturdy.
     
  4. dave1987

    dave1987 Auditioning

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    Thank you Adam! Sorry I didn't see your reply before posting my other half of the first post!
    You bring up some good points. If everything goes as planned, it should be maybe six feet tall, at the most. My wife and myself are both around 5'5", and the turntable should be at the perfect height for me.
    For the headphones, I will have some specialty cord routing "clips" that will guide the headphone cord around and away from the television screen. I use a 10 foot 1/4" stereo extension cord for my headphones as well. I made the extension cord, initially, for use at my computer so that it would coil on the floor before coming up to my left side in the chair. It kept the cord from tugging on the headphones and making it uncomfortable to wear them for long periods.
    That is a great point about the PS2 cords that I didn't even think about. I could move it to another location, or I can use the controller extensions I have that would let the cord drop to the floor before going in the direction of the user (it is a 6 foot extension).
    I will taking pictures of the construction of this unit as I go, so you will all get to see it from the raw materials, to the end result.
     
  5. Adam Gregorich

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    1) I don't know. I would link 1" think plywood would be your best bet. I'm not sure what you have under the TV to the left of the sub. You may want to have an upright piece centered under the TV supporting that span. With that you would be fine. It may not be needed.

    2) Bing (search) for Pilaster Standards. I'm not sure what weight they will support, but your shelves will have infinite adjustablility. You just need to router in some grooves for the rail and they aren't that expensive.

    3) I'm not sure of the look you are going for, but you may want to consider/try rope lighting. Its not that expensive and is easily dimmable to get the right look.

    4) If you are planning on using a raised wood plug, the plugs might be more noticeable than just having the screw head flush with the wood, but it all depends on the look you are going for. Its a cosmetic issue.

    5) It all depends on how rigid the cabinet is w/o it. If its very rigid you could probably even get away with a 1/8 panel, or none at all. A few things to consider. You will either need to cut holes for cables in the panel, notch the back of the shelves or a combination. Since you are using a CRT, you may need to have a hole for the back of the tube.


    Other thoughts: I don't know if your TV is 4x3 or 16x9, but if its 4x3 you may want to make the opening 16x9 to accommodate a future widescreen TV. Even though you may not be planning on a new set, what if yours broke tomorrow? All new sets would be widescreen and you would be looking at only being able to fit a small set in the opening. Assuming you got a new set someday would you want to just use the stand that comes with the set or attach it to the back of the cabinet using a wall mount?
     
  6. Bobofbone

    Bobofbone Stunt Coordinator

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    I'm not sure if it will be a problem, but your diagram shows the speakers on either side, presumably mounted on the side of the cabinet, with one on the left adjacent to the turntable. I haven't used a system with a turntable in many years, but I recall, when they were popular, having feedback from the speakers, especially the bass, vibrating the turn table. Some of our spaces were limited, and I remember recording Enagada davida on reel to reel tape to avoid the problem. If you like 60's drum refrains or the 1812 Overture, you might consider speaker stands next to, but not connected to your entertainment center.
    I look forward to seeing the finished product !
     
  7. dave1987

    dave1987 Auditioning

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    So it's bee a year since I was considering this project. We moved twice in two months last year and it got pushed aside. We now have a nice tailor home with a great sized living room, and after moving in we found a 32" Sony WEGA (tube TV) to upgrade to from the old 27" sylvania. With that we also found a stunning cherry wood entertainment center on casters. Just plain beautiful unit with plenty of storage and shelving in the cabinet for the component system I have put together, no more Logitech Z-680 system! That system now resides in the bedroom, where this setup will be moved to. With my pay raise and some bills paid off, we have been able to afford a new TV this year, and we are getting a 55" 1080P LCD TV. With that, we won't be able to use the cherry wood entertainment center anymore. To accommodate the new TV, I am going to be taking the cheaper entertainment center that is in the bedroom at the moment, and cutting it down leaving the bottom of the unit only, and the TV will go atop of it, with shelving for the receiver, XBOX, PS2, new wifi blu-ray unit, and the network hardware, with the center speaker in the middle. I will post pictures once it's done! Thank you everyone for all of the comments, it's kept me going with my entertainment theater adventure!
     
  8. Sam Posten

    Sam Posten Moderator
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    Awesome to hear back from you! Fingers crossed for good results to ya!
     
  9. dave1987

    dave1987 Auditioning

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    Here's the old setup and entertainment center. Still using it actually, it has casters on it and we rolled it to the bedroom with the same 32" Sony WEGA CRT. [​IMG] Here's the new setup! [​IMG]
     

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