Saturday, March 6, 2010

A buncha projects.

Yesterday, I ate a (couple) Maple Glazed Bacon Apple Donuts.


I haven't posted for awhile, but I've been busy. Here are a few projects I've tackled recently.

First, we bought an HDTV in February. I wanted one because IT'S AN HDTV! Val wanted one because she thought that if we could hang it on the wall, it would free up a bunch of space in the living room. Our old TV was in a giant armoire that took up a lot of space.

When we got the new TV, I immediately hung it on the wall. It totally opened up the room - tons of space now. Except there was a problem. Where do we put or Tivo, Dvd player, Playstation3, Surround sound receiver, subwoofer,& Wii? Temporarily, while were were deciding on a solution, we moved our console table under the TV to hold things.

After a few days, Val got used to the idea of having a small shelf-like thing under the TV - as long as it didn't stick out too far into the room - and as long as it was wood and NOT glass. I looked online and saw some cool shelves, but they were almost always glass. Also, whether they were glass or wood, they were over $200 - way more than we wanted to spend.

So I designed and built my own. The requirements were these:
It should be as small as possible.
It should be wood.
It should prevent overheating.
That last point is important. Most cabinet-type entertainment centers have nice wooden shelves, but don't leave room for the heat to move or escape. Excess heat destroys electronic equipment. I've had a number of DVD players die because of overheating, and video game systems run very hot and their built-in fans get very loud as they try to cool themselves.

After taking a bunch of measurements I set to work. I already had most of a sheet of 1/2" MDF left over from making some utility shelves in the laundry nook. I would have preferred 5/8", but what's 1/8", right?
So I cut all the pieces. I had calculated the optimal shelf heights, so rather than making it with adjustable shelves, I decided to make them fixed. I got to use my new router for this. I made dados for the first time! Awesome!

I did a few things to help control the heat; First was optimally placed shelves, second, I left a space behind the shelves to create a chimney for the hot air, and third I installed a fan.

The fan I used is just an old computer fan. They run on 12v DC, so I scavenged an old 12vDC converter and wired them together. Then I cut a circle (almost) on one side wall, near the top. Next I traced the fan on the inside and, using my router, shaved out a 1/4" to inset the fan.

You can see how the shelves don't come all the way flush against (what will be) the back wall. This lets all the hot air move up the back to get blown out by the fan.

To help minimize the cable mess, I installed a powerstrip inside one wall. Now all the power cords remain inside the cabinet and just a single power cord goes out to the wall. Through the small hole at the bottom. The bigger hole is for all the connector cables to use.

So with that done, the next problem is the ugly cables connecting everything to the TV. I wanted to put them in the wall, but I wanted a solution that made it easy to add/remove new cables, but also looked nice. I worked up a plan to install a pvc (ABS actually) pipe in the wall to send the cables through.

First off, I had to install an electric plug behind the TV for it to plug into. I just piggy-backed off of a plug near the floor and extended it up.

Now it's time to tackle the pvc set-up. Here are the parts I used. 2 deep electrical boxes, a 2' length of 2" PVC, and a couple of ends that had a screw ring on them. I started by cutting a hole in the side of each electrical box. Then I slid the threaded end through the hole and screwed on the ring.

Next, I had to cut a HUGE hole in the wall in order to slide the pipe in.

Then I just had to patch up the holes (Thank goodness for textured walls!). I used a couple of solid plate covers and cut large holes in them to cover the boxes.

After a little paint on the wall - TADA! The finished product!
- Well almost finished. I've decided to add a small trim around the front edges and Val has plans to paint it, but outher than that - TADA!

In other news, I have been growing my hair out since Zoey was born (July) - just for fun.

Finally I decided to get a hair cut - just for fun.

One of those pictures is actually me upsidedown which is why the red face.

Val wouldn't let me keep that so I got my hair all-the-way cut.

In other other news. I designed and built my own workbench for the garage. I also hung a pegboard on the wall to hold my tools. I built the workbench to be a height that would help out with my table saw. The top is 2 pieces of 3/4" mdf for a total of 1 1/2" of sturdiness. The legs and frame are made of 2x4s. In all, this cost me around $50 to build - Chaaa--eeep! All the kids - except Zoey, of course, helped me build it. They each drilled some holes and screwed some screws.

My garage is starting to feel like a real garage!


Joe said...

Nice job. I didn't know you had a table saw. Having a shop is so fun. I noticed your name in the credits on the picture you took of the TV. Nicely don you tricky kid. I am impressed with how your pipe in the wall turned out. I may have to do the same in the Future.

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