DIY Pull-Out and Rotate Rack - AVS Forum
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post #1 of 22 Old 10-08-2011, 01:26 PM - Thread Starter
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I built this AV cabinet a few years ago, after we converted a two-car garage into a game room. To give you a sense of scale, the TV is a 65 Panasonic plasma and the LR speakers are Definitive Technology Mythos 5's. The primary wood is cherry (veneered plywood and solid hardwood), with spalted maple for the small panels on the upper part of the doors. Overall dimensions are 92-1/2L x 31-3/4H x 25-1/4D.







The left-hand cabinet section houses the electronics, consisting of (from the bottom up) a DVR/cable box, a BluRay player and an AVR.



I am pleased with how the cabinet turned out with one exception: The casters. The casters look like tacked-on afterthoughts, which is essentially what they were. I was nearly finished building the cabinet when it occurred to me how heavy the cabinet was, even sitting empty, and how much heavier it would be when it was loaded up. Knowing that the cabinet was going into a carpeted room, I realized it would be almost impossible to pull the cabinet out to get access to the rear of the equipment. So I added casters. The ones on the corners, tucked in behind the legs, are fairly unobtrusive, but the casters to either side of the middle leg are obnoxious.

So I would like to get rid of the casters. But how could I do that and still have access to the back of the electronics?

I remembered someone on this forum posted about a Middle Atlantic rack that could be extended out from the wall or from a cabinet and then rotate. A little research led me to the Middle Atlantic ASR series:



MSRP for the smallest version is about $650, with internet vendors selling it for about $350-$450. It looks like a very nice product. I had two problems with it: (1) Price. $350 was just too much for me to justify with college tuition (for my oldest son) less than a year away. (2) It wouldn't fit in my cabinet. According to the website, the overall height of the rack is 30. The opening on the front of my cabinet is only 23-3/8 high.

Besides which, I have a shop full of tools and scrap wood. I figured I could cobble something together that would work fine and save some money.

Design

The basic design is straight-forward. I started with a pair of these heavy duty bottom-mounted ball bearing slides:


Link: http://www.drawerslides.com/p/kv-8000-p-20

I used the 20 length slides which currently sell for about $54 plus shipping. They are full extension and also provide about ¾ of over-travel - that is, the 20 slides actually extend about 20-3/4. As you're selecting a slide length, remember that there will need to be some space behind the rack for the extra-long cables that will allow the rack to extend and rotate.

The slides have a 130lb weight capacity. The total weight of my electronics is about 68-1/2 lbs (the AVR accounts for over 53 lbs by itself), so I needed to keep the weight of the wood parts to no more than about 60lbs. If you need more weight capacity, you could use two pair of slides or the site offers a couple of other models rated up to 450lbs (search floor mounted slides).

A pair of these slides would be bolted to the bottom of the cabinet. A platform would be mounted on top of the slides. A wood sub-cabinet, or rack, would be mounted to the platform with a pivot mechanism. Legs would be pulled down from under the platform to support the weight of the rack when in its extended position, then folded up when the rack is retracted.

Before I started cutting any wood I wanted to be sure I could fit all of this into the cabinet. The slides with mounting brackets are about 1-9/16 high. The lazy susan I used as a pivot between the platform and the rack is about 3/8 high. The platform itself is ¾ thick. So the bits and pieces needed to make this work would consume about 2-11/16 of the available height.

The DVR, BluRay and AVR, plus two ¾ shelves, total about 15-3/8 high. Add the height of the slides+lazy susan+platform and you get a total of 18-1/16. That should fit just fine into my 23-3/8 opening.

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post #2 of 22 Old 10-08-2011, 01:38 PM - Thread Starter
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Construction

I built the rack out of plywood, figuring it was the best compromise between strength and weight. To hide the inner plys I used miter joints on the corners and glued solid poplar to the front and back edges of the sides, top and bottom pieces.

The long miter joints on the corners of the rack are reinforced with Festool Dominos. Basically, I used a special tool to cut mortises in both sides of the joint and inserted pre-made tenons. I didn't get photos of the joinery on the rack but here are photos of my test pieces. The joints in the photos are dry (no glue). Add glue and the joint is very strong. The tool that cuts the mortises is pretty cool - let me know if anyone wants more info.







I chose to put a face frame on the front to make sure the rack was rigid enough to resist racking. (No pun intended.) I used Dominos for the face frame joints, as well.





Here is the rack with the face frame attached. You can also just see the openings on the top of the rack that will vent heat from the AVR.



I used a shop-made jig to cut the holes in the rack sides for shelf support pins. I set up a plunge router with a ¼ bit and a ½ template guide. The jig is just a piece of plywood with ½ holes positioned where the shelf pin holes are to go. I clamped the jig to the inside of the rack side with the top of the jig butted against the inside of the top. The router was positioned by dropping the template guide into the first ½ hole and the router bit was plunged down to cut the hole for the shelf pin. When all the holes in that section were cut, I moved the jig to the next section. As long as the same end of the jig always registers against the top of the cabinet, all of the holes line up perfectly.



In this photo you can see the shelves installed in the rack. The shelves are open frames made out of ¾ red oak joined with Dominos. I made the frames as open as possible to ensure good airflow through the components. The AVR shelf, for example, leaves the air inlets on the bottom of the receiver completely unobscured.



The platform to which the rack is attached started as a piece of plywood with poplar edge banding on three sides. After I worked out how to attach the lazy susan, I glued and screwed some ash hardwood to the bottom of the platform to keep if flat under the weight of the rack. This photo shows the bottom side of the platform with the ash braces and fold-down legs. (The platform is upside-down in this photo.)


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post #3 of 22 Old 10-08-2011, 01:45 PM - Thread Starter
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This is the lazy susan I used as a pivot between the bottom of the rack and the top of the platform.



Link: http://www.woodcraft.com/Product/200...-1000-lbs.aspx

Attaching the lazy susan is an interesting process. The thing does not come apart and both flanges must be screwed down from inside - that is, you have to drive the screws to fasten the top flange from the bottom, and you have to drive the screws to fasten the bottom flange from the top. Once one flange is fastened, how do you get access to drive the screws for the other flange?

The key to making this work is the large hole in the bottom flange of the lazy susan. If you look closely, you can see that a screw hole in the top flange is visible through the large hole in the bottom flange.



I screwed the bottom flange to the platform and drilled an access hole in the platform aligned with the large hole in the flange. That let me rotate the platform until the access hole aligned with a screw hole in the top flange. I drove a screw at that location, rotated the platform until the access hole aligned with the next screw hole in the top flange, drove another screw, etc..



The lazy susan worked well to let the rack pivot but there was more slop than I wanted. Since the height of the lazy susan was almost exactly 3/8, I added some 3/8 blocks toward the outside edges of the platform to take up the slop and spread the weight of the rack over a wider area. One of the blocks also registers the rack so the front of the rack is parallel to the front of the cabinet.

According to our bathroom scale, this assembly - rack, shelves, platform, lazy susan - weighed 41 lbs. Adding the weight of the components still left me comfortably under the slides' 130 lb. weight limit.

I primed and painted the rack, shelves and platform a satin black. I used spray cans of Rustoleum products - a grey gap filling primer and a satin black universal enamel. I like the look of the satin black finish coats a lot but if I were doing it again, I wouldn't use spray cans. Too expensive and too hard to get a good, spatter-free finish. Instead, I would probably use this: http://www.sherwin-williams.com/do_i...oatings/paint/. This stuff actually dries to a hard, durable surface - unlike latex paint, which in my experience never really gets hard enough to use on furniture.

Mounting the rack in the cabinet was just a matter of fastening the brackets on the slides to the bottom of the cabinet. Given the amount of weight that would be cantilevered at the end of the slides, I didn't trust screws alone to hold. I used bolts, washers and lock nuts for the two rear fasteners on each slide and no. 10 pan head screws for the other fasteners.

Here's a pic of the rack installed into the cabinet:



Extended with the legs down:



Extended, legs down and rotated 90-degrees:



The slides have clips to hold them in the closed (retracted) position. With the rack empty, they worked fine. Once the gear was installed, the rack became much heavier in front than in back (mostly because of the AVR's weight distribution), and the clips were no longer up to the task of holding the slides in their closed position. I fashioned a wood block to keep the slides from slipping forward.

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post #4 of 22 Old 10-08-2011, 01:50 PM - Thread Starter
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AVR Cooling

One of my goals for this project was to improve cooling for the AVR. The gizmo I designed for this purpose is based on a product sold by coolerguys.com: http://www.coolerguys.com/ccstandk.html . The coolerguys' version has open ends, which is probably a good idea when the unit has to work for a bunch of different gear. Since I knew exactly what mine was going to sit on, though, I was able to size it to completely cover the vents over the AVR's heatsinks.





I used these fans: http://www.coolerguys.com/840556082507.html

The fans are mounted to blow up, pulling air up through the receiver's heatsinks. The box is ¼ MDF assembled with glue blocks and butt joints and finished with the same Rustoleum spray paint I used on the rack.

The fan unit installed:



The fans are powered from a wall wart-type power supply that is plugged into the switched outlet on the back of the AVR. When the receiver is on, the fans are running. Closed away in the cabinet, though, the fans absolutely cannot be heard.

Wrap Up

So that's about it. The slides and the lazy susan I used can be purchased for about $70. If you bought wood to build a rack the size of this one, I think you would spend another $80-$100, probably less if you used plywood for the shelves instead of making them out of solid hardwood like I did. Add a few bucks for paint and stuff and you're looking at something close to $200. In my case, I already had everything except for the slides and the paint so I spent less than $100. I'm happy with the investment.

I welcome comments and questions. Thanks for looking!

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post #5 of 22 Old 10-08-2011, 02:15 PM
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Wow, that piece looks fantastic. Well done. The swivel shelf is very slick. You definitely have some wood working talent to say the least.

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post #6 of 22 Old 10-08-2011, 04:29 PM - Thread Starter
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Thanks RT.

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post #7 of 22 Old 10-08-2011, 06:30 PM
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Thanks for sharing. I like seeing passion in people's work.

See ya. Dave

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post #8 of 22 Old 10-08-2011, 07:24 PM
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You did an incredible job on that!
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post #9 of 22 Old 10-08-2011, 09:00 PM - Thread Starter
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Thanks guys. It was a fun project.

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post #10 of 22 Old 10-08-2011, 09:33 PM
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DAMN that is a nice cabinet! I love the spalted maple. I try to use that stuff whenever I can. I love the subtle blues and greens that you get in it. I also see that you have the Green Disease (Festool)! Nice stuff, man. I've wanted a Domino jointer for years!
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post #11 of 22 Old 10-09-2011, 09:44 AM - Thread Starter
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Quote:
Originally Posted by jdanforth View Post

DAMN that is a nice cabinet! I love the spalted maple. I try to use that stuff whenever I can. I love the subtle blues and greens that you get in it. I also see that you have the Green Disease (Festool)! Nice stuff, man. I've wanted a Domino jointer for years!

Thanks! I love spalted maple but it's hard to find out here. Arizona isn't exactly in the native range for maple.

I have been accumulating Festool stuff for years and hope to continue for many more. Great tools. Pricey, but great.

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post #12 of 22 Old 10-09-2011, 09:56 AM
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Love the cabinet design and construction! The rotating equipment rack is very well integrated.

I realize the casters were an afterthought but one idea would have been to build a little more recess underneath and created a "kick-down" mechanism for the casters so they can be mostly hidden in the up position. Similar to some of the bases you can get for woodworking equipment to allow them to be wheeled around the shop.

I got one other idea from your pics. Is your bench a home made design? It looks like the main table is made from ripped pieces of ply which seems like an excellent idea to me which I've never seen before.

Thanks for sharing.

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post #13 of 22 Old 10-09-2011, 10:14 AM - Thread Starter
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Moggie View Post

Love the cabinet design and construction! The rotating equipment rack is very well integrated.

I realize the casters were an afterthought but one idea would have been to build a little more recess underneath and created a "kick-down" mechanism for the casters so they can be mostly hidden in the up position. Similar to some of the bases you can get for woodworking equipment to allow them to be wheeled around the shop.

I got one other idea from your pics. Is your bench a home made design? It looks like the main table is made from ripped pieces of ply which seems like an excellent idea to me which I've never seen before.

Thanks for sharing.

Thanks Moggie. Great idea about the casters. I might play around with that.

Yes, I made the bench top by gluing up strips of 3/4" plywood. It has worked out very well. Solid maple or beech might have looked better but I can't imagine it would have worked any better. Using plywood is more practical if you have carbide cutters in your jointer and planer, or are willing to sacrifice a HSS set. Cutting all of the end grain plys and glue is hard on tooling!

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post #14 of 22 Old 10-09-2011, 12:09 PM
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dwightp, I have the MA SRSR rack and installed it in a built-in cabinet; works very well. The height is determined by how many rack spaces you need, so the 23" was doable.

Having said that, with your woodworking skills you made the correct choice....wow!

I also have a JSP Mozart media cabinet that is 72" L and loaded with electronics; on carpet. I use "carpet sliders" under the legs and it can be moved with one finger.
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dwightp, I have the MA SRSR rack and installed it in a built-in cabinet; works very well. The height is determined by how many rack spaces you need, so the 23" was doable.

Having said that, with your woodworking skills you made the correct choice....wow!

I also have a JSP Mozart media cabinet that is 72" L and loaded with electronics; on carpet. I use "carpet sliders" under the legs and it can be moved with one finger.

Guess I should have done some more research on the MA rack. Chances are I would have still done it myself, though. I saved some money and, besides, I like doing this stuff!

Thanks for sharing your experience. I thought about carpet sliders but I didn't want to leave them in place permanently because of aesthetics, and I couldn't see any practical way to raise the cabinet to slip the sliders in once the cabinet was in place. How do you handle this?

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post #16 of 22 Old 10-09-2011, 12:57 PM
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VERY NICE! Good work!

+Peace be with you+
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post #17 of 22 Old 10-09-2011, 02:01 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by dwightp View Post


Thanks! I love spalted maple but it's hard to find out here. Arizona isn't exactly in the native range for maple.

I have been accumulating Festool stuff for years and hope to continue for many more. Great tools. Pricey, but great.

I have spalted my own woods using plastic tubs filled with vermiculite and bits of moldy wood.
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post #18 of 22 Old 10-09-2011, 03:53 PM - Thread Starter
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I have spalted my own woods using plastic tubs filled with vermiculite and bits of moldy wood.

Does that work with dry wood?

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post #19 of 22 Old 10-09-2011, 05:07 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by dwightp View Post

Guess I should have done some more research on the MA rack. Chances are I would have still done it myself, though. I saved some money and, besides, I like doing this stuff!

Thanks for sharing your experience. I thought about carpet sliders but I didn't want to leave them in place permanently because of aesthetics, and I couldn't see any practical way to raise the cabinet to slip the sliders in once the cabinet was in place. How do you handle this?

I have found that lifting the end(s) while on my knees, allows me to extend my arms fully so I put most of the stress on my upper legs when lifting. Only need <1/2" to slide the cups under the legs....wife handles that. Sometimes she even asks real unintelligent questions while I'm at full tilt....
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post #20 of 22 Old 10-10-2011, 10:59 AM - Thread Starter
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I sympathize about untimely questions. When my sons were little we went through training about when it's appropriate to interrupt Daddy in the workshop and when it's not (basically any time a power tool is running).

With this cabinet pushed into a corner I struggle with how to lift the right end. Your comments have me doodling different lever designs, though.

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post #21 of 22 Old 01-05-2012, 03:52 PM
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Just wandered in from your sig link... lovely work!

Do you do custom work for others?
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post #22 of 22 Old 02-09-2012, 07:34 AM - Thread Starter
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Just wandered in from your sig link... lovely work!

Do you do custom work for others?

Sorry it has taken so long to reply -- I haven't been monitoring this thread like I should.

I have done a little work in the past for family and friends. I enjoy doing it but my "customers" have to be very patient -- I am incredibly slow! If you want to talk about a project, send me a PM.

Thanks!

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