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Old 03-08-2010, 04:45 PM   #113
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The entertainment cabinet

Hey Steve, I have to warn you about one thing - I started with the idea that I would put a few of the Elfa bins in. I finished when I installed my 26th. I found they actually helped in the design once I got my mind around how to build the boxes. Then when I went on to a new space I already had some size constraints based on the bin sizes. I have found that having some constraints has actually helped me make forward progress.

Onto the entertainment cabinet. I have started framing in the top level that will house a couple of speakers, a car stereo, an area for cables, and a big laptop. The big laptop is now almost our entire entertainment package. I'll be getting a TV card so we can watch campground cable TV on the laptop and the software that comes with these cards acts like Tivo. We will put a lot of our music on the laptop, and of course it has a DVD player. The only reason for the car stereo was to have an amplifier to drive the speakers, then we can plug the laptop into the auxiliary port and listen with the big speakers.

Here are some pictures of the setup...

The closeup shows the area I have set aside for various cables. There is a wall outlet in there and a cable plug. The laptop will travel on the wide shelf below. When we are parked and it's showtime, I'll set it up on the counter (yet to be built) and just pull out the cables for power, cable going to the laptop, and a sound cable going from the laptop to the car stereo.
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Old 03-09-2010, 11:17 AM   #114
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I like your entertainment cabinet, too. As for connecting the laptop, look around one of the big computer shops and see if you can find one of those all in one type docking connectors that will work with your setup.

It would not only make it easier to connect (and faster) but would also make sure that other users you might have could do it without a book of instructions

ps: your laptop's manufacturer might make one, if all esle fails...
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Old 04-10-2010, 09:54 PM   #115
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Entertainment Cabinet finally done

Somethings take a lot longer than you expect. This cabinet was supposed to be five drawers, a couple of cubby holes, and a couple of speaker housings. About a month later with time spent on it each weekend the pieces are all together.

The goal of this cabinet was to have some drawer space for odds and ends up near the front of the trailer, and an entertainment space for the car stereo/speakers and the multi-purpose computer. The computer will of course be our tether to the internet, but it will also hold our music collection and serve as our TV display and "Tivo" recorder.

The cabinet got a bit more complicated when my wife wanted the drawers to use as much of the space available as possible and when she said all the entertainment gear needed to be hidden when not in use.

Here are a couple of photos with everything together and the gear hidden.
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Old 04-10-2010, 10:05 PM   #116
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The trapezoidal drawers

The middle section of the cabinet contains four drawers. The challenge here was that the walls behind the drawers curve. The side wall along the kitchen cabinet is on an angle and the trailer side wall obviously curves in toward the front.

My first thought was to just build four rectangular drawers trying to make use of as much of the space as possible. Then my wife got involved and the requirements changed. She was thinking about all kinds of little stuff that she wanted to carry along camping that would fit nicely in the voids.

So the rectangular drawers morphed into these trapezoidal nightmares. I spent a couple of nights thinking about the joinery. I wanted to keep them light so the goal was to use as much 1/4 ply as possible, but I had to have some 1/2 for stability.

They are mounted on a lightweight center glide since I couldn't use the traditional side mounted glides on these crazy shapes.

The funny part is that when they were all built they were much more stable than traditional rectangular drawers thanks to the additional triangular shapes.
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Old 04-10-2010, 10:10 PM   #117
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Computer drawer

In the upper cabinet I created as large a drawer as possible for a computer. Based on many manufacturer measurements I can fit a 17 inch diagonal laptop.

The computer will be stored in the drawer during travel. When I get the actual computer I'll build some type of custom foam shape that it will sit in securely.

During use it will either be on the table for regular laptop use, or on the counter above the entertainment cabinet for TV viewing. I'll have three wire connections to the computer that are all part of the cabinet. Power and cable connections are in the upper left cubby hole, and audio will be plugged into the front aux port of the car stereo.
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Old 04-10-2010, 10:16 PM   #118
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Car Stereo

I was expecting to surface mount the car stereo and have an easy installation. Then my wife saw the unit and the ugly neon blue color of the display and said that thing needed to be hidden.

So back to the scratch pad. The idea of recessing the stereo came quickly, but then what to do with the covers. We eventually decided that popoff covers would be best, but then where do they go when they are off. Finally came up with the idea of a slot where we could slide them in and out of the way instead of them just sitting on the counter.
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Old 04-10-2010, 10:22 PM   #119
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Speakers

Finally we had to deal with the traditional 6 inch round car stereo speakers. When my wife saw the protective grills that came with them I knew where we were headed. The grills belonged with a boom box on steroids.

So of course we were going to hide the speakers. I recessed the speaker housings an inch behind the front plane of the cabinet, and created custom covers out of 1/2 solid birch and a cloth my wife picked out. I don't know what the design means but it passed my test for speaker cloth because it looked like a loose weive. These covers use magnets and pop off if I ever need to get to the speakers and their wiring behind them.
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Old 04-10-2010, 10:29 PM   #120
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The Table is next

I finally decided on the pedestal I will use for the table. I was thinking about building something, but once I started looking at marine supply websites I saw some good solutions.

We wanted a pedestal that we could change the height on so we could set it at 30 inches for eating, and 28 inches for laptop work. I also wanted something that I could slide closer into the bench area and away from the kitchen area to make more room in the kitchen for food prep and cleanup.

I finally bought the following unit from Springfield Marine - http://www.springfieldgrp.com/Dual_A...e_Pedestal.htm It's a bit pricey, but they have a scratch and dent store on their website where things go for about half off. I watched this patiently for about a month and this unit came up at about 40% off.

Once it arrives then I'll start to think about the table design. I'm looking forward to this. It's the last major piece of cabinetry left.
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Old 04-10-2010, 11:32 PM   #121
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Very unique and comely looking cabinetry, Air19! A great solution to your wfie's needs, and your own as well.

Thanks for sharing it with us through those photos.
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Old 04-11-2010, 10:36 AM   #122
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What great solutions. I have to agree with your wife about the glaring blue light. The radio in our unit shines blue light which reflects all over our unit at night, which keeps us awake. Our solution is to flip it open which shuts off the light. Your solution is permanent and attraction. Wonderful combination of form and function. Beautiful cabinetry.
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Old 04-11-2010, 04:32 PM   #123
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Blue Light Special and Request for Factory-Design Testing

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Originally Posted by bolerama View Post
What great solutions. I have to agree with your wife about the glaring blue light. The radio in our unit shines blue light which reflects all over our unit at night, which keeps us awake. Our solution is to flip it open which shuts off the light. Your solution is permanent and attraction. Wonderful combination of form and function. Beautiful cabinetry.
We too found that the only way to sleep was to open the unit to turn off the blue light! I wonder if anyone who designs the Airstreams tests the unit by sleeping there for a night?

Love the clean lines of the cabinetry, and the extra triangular compartments!
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Old 04-18-2010, 05:15 PM   #124
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Dinette Cushions

My wife has been very busy this weekend. She modified all the cushions to fit the new version of the front end with the L lounge now. Before the cushions were very different shapes, so lots of foam cutting and all the fabric had to be redone. Amazingly, she was able to reuse just about everything we started with.

The L lounge has a lot more surface area than the original dinette design so we need to get more foam before she can tackle the tough curved corner pieces.

Still this much should give you a good feeling for the front end now, and it gave me my seating heights to work on the table pedestal.
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Old 04-18-2010, 05:27 PM   #125
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Dinette table pedestal mockup

I got my pedestal from Springfield Marine, not quite as high in it's up position as I was expecting, but that actually allowed me to try something with the design to make up the additional height.

This pedestal raises and lowers on a slight arc. It was designed to be used in it's up position as a table and in the down position as a support for a bed platform. We hadn't planned on using it in the fully down position, but we really wanted some adjustability in height. I like to eat when the table is set at 30" and I like to work with my laptop for hours at a slightly lower height around 28". There is a simple lever you pull up on and then you just push down on the table. As soon as you let go of the lever it will hold the new position. One other advantage is that it swings out on a slight arc as it goes down. So while we are cooking or cleaning up we can lower the table about 10" and it actually will swing out of the way from the kitchen space by about 5".

A brand new pedestal from Springfield would cost about $325 to $350 depending on shipping. This slightly damaged unit (it's 4 inches shorter than the normal one), cost me about half that.

Now what to do to make up the extra height and get back to a final table top height of 30". Well I will put a 2" wood block under the base. Not the one you see in this photo. I'll cut one to the exact size of the metal base. And I needed to do something with about 3" more at the top end. I'll explain that in detail in my next post.
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Old 04-18-2010, 05:38 PM   #126
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Table Pedestal mockup

Another requirement I have been trying to solve was being able to have the table slide back and forth along a diagonal axis between the kitchen sink and the curved corner of the L lounge.

The main reason for this was to make it easier to get into the L lounge. That elbow rest I created right near the door for the curb side bench is quite comfortable, but it makes access into that bench harder.

We could change the shape of the table a lot to have a wider opening in there. Or we could figure out a way to slide the table out of the way.

Well I had 3" to make up in additional height for the table, so I decided to try and use a couple of standard drawer slides to see if I could get the slide effect to work. The table also needs to remain rock steady in the closed position.

The slide actually works pretty well. When the table is pushed in to the closed position of the slide it is steady, thanks to a heavy duty slide from Lee Valley. This particular slide opens 16" which is way more than necessary, so I'll get another one that opens out about 12". By sliding this slide about 8" open it makes access to the curb bench much easier.

With the mockup of the table top in place you can get a good look at how the slide opens things up.
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