Tuesday
Nov172009

Back Door and Drawer

Things are starting to happen a lot faster now. It's amazing how much time goes into planning a project like this but when you come to putting it together time really flies. That said I'm still at a turtles pace. I am trying to put some extra effort into this project so you waste most of your time on all those little bits and pieces by wandering around scratching your head.

Adding a Back Door

A standard cabinet doesn't have a back door on it. Usually you remove the playfield glass and lift out the playfied to get beneath. Considering I have the time now to put in a back door this should save me a lot of frustration later. Being a simulated project, tinkering with the PC is very likely so the idea of placing this on top of a sliding drawer is also very appealing.

To continue where I left off I had originally planned to make the whole lower section a door, but of course you need the leg brackets in the corners so I quickly ruled that out. Taking that panel I cut out the door shape leaving enough supporting room for the leg brackets and continued from there.

The panel is cut in such a way that it creates an overlay with the floor of the cabinet. This will then hinge down and the drawer will roll over the top of it. I decided to hinge the door this way so that it would be right out of the way when it came to servicing the PC.

Back door cut from the back panel. Standard cabinet overlay hinges inserted.The back panel is just screwed into the base and then a thin strip up top which is fastened to the sides. The thin strip also creates a convenient overlay for the door to rest against. There are some ugly gaps from doing it this way but I'll be covering and filling those later.

Lock

The back door features a simple lock which works exactly the same as the back box, inset into the door and rotates up to lock against the top of the cabinet.

Same as the backbox, a cabinet lock does the trick.

Hinges

Overlayed cabinet hinges are great. They have a self closing action and sit tidely into the wood. You use a special drill bit that makes the perfect hole for the plastic insert. Then when you attach the other end of the hinge to the cabinet there are some adjustment screws which help you align and get the placement perfect. All in all a very convenient setup.

Hinges for the back door.

Creating a Drawer and Brackets

Wheeled drawer runners are pretty cheap and make the action of the drawer very smooth. Another great feature is that the drawer can be completely removed when you really want to work on that PC. Also as the door is narrower than the cab (because of those leg brackets) I needed to create some drawer runner brackets.

Drawer brackets to support the metal drawer runners within the cabinet.These are brackets are simply pieces of MDF screwed together. I used the jig saw to cut a section out so that they fit tidily around the installed hinges. Next I built a drawer out of a simple piece of MDF which supported the other part of the drawer runners with an overlayed top to cover them. Using the drawer as a guide I lined up the runner brackets and then screwed them into position. The runners themselves are screwed to the MDF too. It's still important to pre drill for these smaller screws.

Drawer runners in place. You need to align these with the actual drawer to get the right position.

Putting It Together

The following sequence shows a few steps ahead in the project build but gives you a great idea of how it works. The drawer simply slides in and locks in place. You can remove it like you'd expect by lifting it out when fully extended, but with the door shut it holds it firmly in place.

Back of the cabinet with the door shut.Open Sesame!I can just see $1000 worth of brand new computer sitting comfortably there, can't you?

Summary

Ok so it's not rocket science, in fact most of this build is pretty simple. Attention to detail takes a little more time however and makes a big difference when you get to the end of a project like this.

Door opens, drawer rolls out, PC ready for servicing. The action of the door and drawer are great and totally optional. With some experience with flakey PCs I'm sure this will come in handy down the track.

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