Friday, January 28, 2011
Stolmen Entertainment Unit for a flat panel TV
Materials: Stolmen system modified with tv mounting bracket, bolts, screws.
Description: I modified a Stolmen system to accommodate a flat panel TV wall mounting system, one that would normally be used to mount a flat panel TV to a wall, using one of the larger (46") shelves as a panel on which to mount the TV. My goal was to create a stabile support for a flat panel TV while preserving the aesthetics of the Ikea Stolmen system. My theory of Ikea hacking is that the final product should not look overly "hacked" to the casual observer.
My first step was to adapt the Stolmen 46" shelf to support the TV wall mounting bracket. To do this I centered the TV mounting bracket and drilled 6 holes through the shelf as straight as I could (not having a drill press). I ran bolts with washers through the holes in the TV mounting bracket and through the holes I had drilled in the shelf. On the back of the shelf I mounted two metal straps with holes already in them (easy to find at Home Depot, etc.) and secured them with to the bolts with washers and nuts.
My goal here was to create a strong support for a flat panel TV, using a shelf that wouldn't normally be strong enough to support it. Obviously turning the shelf on its side greatly increases its strength. Still, I couldn't simply drill wood screws into the pressed wood and expect it to support much weight. The method I used creates a sort of vise that squeezes tightly on each side of the shelf, as it disburses this pressure across a wide area. It can take a lot of weight, while remaining completely invisible from the front once the TV is mounted.
My next task was to mount the shelf, with TV support bracket now bolted onto it, onto the Stolmen system itself as securely as I could, without using lots of ugly braces and brackets that would destroy the Ikea aesthetics. The bottom corners of the TV mounting panel I had created just fit on the "ears" of the Stolmen shelf supports. To increase support and security I used steel "repair braces" (also easy to find at hardware shops) on each lower corner of the TV panel. The steel braces are already drilled to accommodate a flathead screw or bolt. First I bolted the steel braces to the Stolmen shelf supports, using a flathead bolt on top (so that the panel can rest on top of the bolt without being raised up by a bolt head). I then rested the TV panel on these braces and drilled pilot holes (two on each corner) through holes already in the steel braces. It was then easy to screw wood screws into the pilot holes. This supports the weight of the TV panel, while keeping the panel in place on the shelf supports.
Now that I had the weight supported, my remaining issue was to stabilize the TV panel so that it couldn't fall forward or back. To do this I simply used two Stolmen shelf supports on each side of the panel. (For added stability I left the Stolmen metal support brackets secured to the shelf - the ones that would be screwed onto each side if you were to use it as a normal shelf in the Stolmen system.) By turning the Stolmen shelf supports I was able to fit one "ear" tightly in front and one behind each side of the panel. By using the Stolmen supports this way on each side of the TV panel it becomes very stable.
It was then easy to mount the TV onto the bracket secured to the now stable panel.
Once I had all of my other entertainment components in place, I began the process of hiding cables. My goal here was to preserve the openness of the Stolmen system, while showing as few cables as possible. By keeping the bottom shelves quite close to the floor, I was able to push most of the cables back towards the wall to keep them out of sight. I then simply used a piece of stiff cardboard, which I painted to match my living room walls, as a panel behind my components to hide more cables. Other cables I ran down the back of the Stolmen poles, fixed to the poles with zip ties and Ikea cable management tubing.
I was quite happy with my results. I ended up with a secure system for mounting a flat panel TV, and one that will accommodate the larger TV I hope to get soon. It also preserves the Ikea aesthetic as it doesn't appear overly "hacked" to most observers. In fact, most who see it simply assume the TV panel is an integral part of the system, rather than something I modified myself. That's how I like it.
~ William Davis, Colorado Springs, CO