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6 Day DIY Component Cabinet Build

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#1 of 15 OFFLINE   mpompey


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Posted March 31 2013 - 06:17 AM

While the site was down I started building a custom made component cabinet for myself. I kept a log of the six day project and photos of my progress. 




I've been wanting to build a new component cabinet for some time now.

My dream cabinet would be a Sanus CFR2136:


But at $1,100 it is just way too out of my budget. My current
cabinet is a TechCraft 60 in that I have had for about 8 years
or so.


As you can see it's getting long in the tooth, not to mention
it doesn't hold all my gear. Consoles stacked on the
top and over my turntable. Not to mention I actually
have a tape deck, Network Switch, & HTPC that I would
like to get into the new cabinet as well. Like my old
DVD racks I figured I could build me an upgrade./ 

Here is a pic of a rough design of the new cabinet
I want to build. 


I would like it not only to store all
of my gear, but even have some room at the bottom
for vinyl, remote controls, etc. As well as have
room on top for my turntable. In addition I would
like to be able to have adjustable shelves. For 
easier customization in the event that I need to move
items around. My current rack didn't ship with enough
shelves so I've had to make do, per the images above.

I was originally going to go the Flexy route but the
cost of the threaded rod was killing me. Someone
proposed that I build it out of wood to keep the cost
down. I'm no wood worker, I have a low-end Ryobi miter,
a Crafstman circular saw, and a 20 year old Black & Decker
Jigsaw that I found while skipping school way back in 
High School

I have no idea how long it will take me to finish this,
but I figured I could take my time, document the journey
and post it up for everyone to see. So with that in mind, 
enjoy the build...

My helpers while at Lowes. Come to think of it, I think 
the only reason they came with me was so they could 
stay up late Friday night!


I figured I will have to build this in 3 stages: Bottom & Top/ Sides & Middle/ Shelves.

Here is the paper layout for the bottom and top pieces. I'm making the bottom double thick
to hold the weight of not just to components but the wood itself. I originally was going for
MDF but Lowes won't cut MDF and I don't have a table saw to rip it myself. My skills with
the Kreg RIP cut need to improve a bit before I'm willing to bring a full sheet of plywood home 
and rip it myself. I'll trim it when I get it home though.



Day 2

Cutting the pieces for the bottom and top:


Gluing and clamping the bottom pieces:


Made a painting jig out of some scrap wood and cabinet screws to hold the pieces up while
I paint them:



Picture of the bottom and top pieces on top of the jig. I drilled in some screws in addition to
the wood glue to made sure the bottom piece was solid. 


Wood getting first coat of primer:


After 3 coats of primer:


First coat of flat black:


#2 of 15 OFFLINE   schan1269


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Posted March 31 2013 - 08:07 AM

The expressions...


"I see a finger getting cut off"




"Did you say cheddar or Chuck E?"

Edited by schan1269, March 31 2013 - 08:08 AM.

#3 of 15 OFFLINE   mpompey


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Posted March 31 2013 - 08:11 AM

The boys pretty much stayed out of my during the actual build. They love going to Home Depot and Lowes to look at stuff, but when it comes time to use any of the power tools they automatically stay away.


But when it comes to my tablet or my phone...

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#4 of 15 OFFLINE   mpompey


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Posted March 31 2013 - 08:13 AM

Day 2's Work Progress:


Installing 2.5" locking casters on the bottom piece. If nothing else, this cabinet is going to be 
built like a tank!


Another shot with the casters...


Marking up the center support piece...


Good ole KReg Pocket jig doing it's work. I'm hoping that this cordless drill is up to the task of drilling out
all of the shelf pin holes. I'm half considering buying a corded model just so I don't run out of juice. I only
have 2 batteries and they are NiCad at that.


Spray painting pocket holes just in case paint can't get in there.


Sides getting their first coat of primer...


Sides after 3 coats of primer. Since the sides are going to be highly visible, like the top, I gave them 3 coats of primer. I actually had to go back and drill pocket holes for the top as I forgot to do that prior to this pic. I don't know what I was thinking.


#5 of 15 OFFLINE   mpompey


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Posted March 31 2013 - 08:14 AM

Day 3's Progress:


Summary of the day’s accomplishments

  • 4 coats black on sides (Front & Back)
  • 3 coats black on middle (Front & Back)

Nothing too terribly exciting happened yesterday. I got a later start than I had planned. (Woke up late and was out of coffee!)

So after a mad cap dash to get the boys to school, I stopped by the coffee 
store to pick up some beans and headed back to the homestead to get my 
day started.

Tuesday was busier than Monday, as I had made previous plans with the family. So I split up
the task list to just get the middle and sides finished painting. (BORING!!!) With shelf pins, assembly, and shelf painting to happen today. After this project, I want to research HVLP paint systems. This rolling and rolling to make sure I get an even coat just ate up my day.

Anyway here are some pics...

Getting ready for first coat of flat black for the sides. I wanted to make sure these look nice as they will be seen the most.


After the first coat...


Then the second....


Then the third...


And finally both sides with four coats...


There really is nothing more boring that watching/or waiting for paint to dry. Glad that part is finally over. The shelf pieces will get 1 coat of primer and maybe and 2 coats black and that is it. But since they are smaller pieces I can paint both sides at once using the jig.

#6 of 15 OFFLINE   mpompey


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Posted March 31 2013 - 08:15 AM

Day 4's Progress:


Summary of the day's work:

  • Drilled shelf pin holes in middle and sides
  • Assembled and squared up unit.
  • Painted and installed back supports/wire runs
  • Primed and painted shelf pieces
  • Installed handles on the front

Tomorrows’s plan: Start moving some gear into new rack and testing it out.

Finally some progress!!! Albeit I made a stupid, STUPID, STUPID, STUPID mistake!

When calculating the width of the cabinet and shelves, I forgot to account for the
width of the shelf pin inserts. When I cut the shelves to be exactly flush, they wouldn’t fit with the inserts in. I ended up trimming the shelves a bit to get them to work. Thankfully I found out before I painted during the dry run of the assembly. Close call there.

Anyway let’s see some pics...

Breaking out my Kreg jig for shelf pin holes. Kinda expensive for only six holes. 
I wish in were twice as long or half as much. Useful little tool though.


One column of shelf inserts done. I had just enough capacity in my cordless 14.4v drill to get these done.
After about 4 columns of inserts the battery was done. But thankfully I had 2 batteries, so it all
worked out.


One side finished...


Getting ready to do a dry run of assembly. Here I' using what I call "Squaring Blocks". I've measured
and cut these boys square to help support the pieces and help me square it up when I put them together. 


One side with squaring blocks attached...


Both sides and middle up...


Top on and unpainted shelves installed. Here is where I was "reminded" about accounting for shelf pins.


Now all that is left is to paint those shelf pieces, install back supports for cable management and test this bad boy out. Can't wait!

#7 of 15 OFFLINE   mpompey


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Posted March 31 2013 - 08:16 AM

Day 5's Progress:


Summary of day’s work:

  • Last touch up paint on some of the last shelves
  • Pulled out old rack
  • Test fit new rack in old space
  • Placed components in new rack

I’m almost finished! The state of my room is driving me crazy but I’m a day away from being done with this project. Yesterday during a day with my boys we went to Best Buy and while I was there I took a look at their cabinets and racks to compare the prices. They had six component stands that were north of $250! So I feel better with my investment and my abilities. Now I just want my room back.

Anyway, let’s see some pics.

Finally finished and painted. I actually have room to add another shelf on both sides
for future purchases.


Test fit in the old location. There is about ½ inch clearance between DVD racks and side of the cabinet. LIKE A GLOVE!


Getting ready to perform surgery on the old rack...


Taking her for a test drive...


The back with plenty of room now...


#8 of 15 OFFLINE   mpompey


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Posted March 31 2013 - 08:17 AM

And on the 6th day...


Okay, I’m finally finished. I think I managed to give myself a cold in the process. Probably those late nights burning the midnight oil in order to get this done in a week. That and my germy kids that are always around me!

Summary of today’s activities:

Installed rest of the gear
Wired everything up 
and organized power and signal cables.

Anyway, here are the last of the pics...

Here’s what the back of my outgrown rack used to look like...


It didn’t always look like such a rat’s nest. I think over time and with the addition of additional components, it became one of those things that I was always going to get around to. In addition, some of the 1” mounting squares have peeled back from their adhesive backing which allowed some of the wires to droop.

Back of the new rack with mounting squares installed...


Rack all wired up...


Each component has plenty of space to breath and operate. The depth is 22” which was dictated by the Emotiva more than any other piece. In my old rack it butted right up against the back and I had to cut out holes for the wires with a spade bit to make everything work.

Rack pushed back in the corner and all powered up. I ended up putting a piece of electrical tape over the LED on the ridiculously huge XBOX power brick.


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#9 of 15 ONLINE   Adam Gregorich

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Posted March 31 2013 - 09:15 AM

Great job!  Looks fantastic!

#10 of 15 OFFLINE   mpompey


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Posted March 31 2013 - 02:14 PM

I really like the way it came out. My wife still can't believe I built it. The overall cost was right under $180 for this build.

#11 of 15 OFFLINE   schan1269


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Posted March 31 2013 - 03:05 PM

In the spring i build picnic tables. They sell for 2.2-2.8 times the cost of material. I built a 10 person table last year as a special order. Cost me $375, sold for $1000.

Usually do 20 tables every spring.

Edited by schan1269, March 31 2013 - 03:08 PM.

#12 of 15 OFFLINE   mpompey


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Posted March 31 2013 - 04:13 PM

If I had a real workshop versus a cramped garage with a couple of consumer grade tools I might build some custom cabinets to order. Project wasn't that bad. I'll have to keep that in mind the next time any of my A/V friends mention needing a new rack.

#13 of 15 OFFLINE   Bobofbone


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Posted April 03 2013 - 08:13 PM

I find one's custom design beats the redi-made stuff in price and satisfaction.  I bet you do as well. Very nice!

#14 of 15 ONLINE   Brian Dobbs

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Posted April 04 2013 - 05:23 AM

nice pictures.  thanks for sharing.

#15 of 15 OFFLINE   mpompey


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Posted April 10 2013 - 10:56 AM

No problem. I love tinkering with my system. My latest work this weekend is running a second subwoofer run to my front panel now that I have a receiver that can support stereo subs.

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