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Materials:
Effektiv cabinet, custom birch plywood table top

Description: Last year, we installed a large set of Effektiv cabinetry in the family room: shelving for games and books and drawers for videos and toys, etc. Two standard Effektiv wall cabinets across the middle created a 67″ wide space for a desk, but Ikea has no good option for tables or desks 67″ wide. So, we made a 67″ wide birch-plywood “media desk” using this cut-down Effektiv cabinet for support. “Media desk” means that the cabinet contains and hides our media computer and the subwoofer part of the audio system. It also hides a large pile of cables, with the help of a Galant cable organizer.

The standard Effektiv cabinet is about 33″ wide and 37″ tall. Our half-pint is about 17″ wide and 29″ tall. The width is determined by the width of a single cabinet door, and the height sets the typing height of the table. Most of the modifications were made to the Effektiv plinth: it was shrunk to 17″ wide by cutting a slice out of the middle to preserve finished edges on both sides, a large hole was cut in the top of the plinth for the subwoofer, and the front and back trim pieces were cut off 2″ above the floor for airflow. The first picture shows the modified plinth, with subwoofer in place, without the top cabinet.

The Effektiv cabinet on top of the plinth was cut down to bring total height to 29″, and the door cut down to match. The side pieces were cut at the top, to preserve the factory-machined attachment to the plinth. The door was cut at the bottom, to preserve the factory-finished edge at the top. A single shelf is used in the cabinet, cut in half and positioned 1″ back away from the door to allow computer airflow. We left off the back of the cabinet, for cable management and airflow.

We repackaged the computer from a large conventional box to a “home media center” case, the Apevia X-MASTER-BL/500. Fits like a glove, perhaps a bit too tight with 1/2″ space on the sides. The computer is an “undervolted” Intel Core Duo with a quiet power supply and disk drive. Air flow for the computer comes in the bottom by the subwoofer, up through the gaps in the plinth and shelf, around the computer and out the back. It’s pretty quiet with the door closed, with slightly audible fan noise mostly from the high-end graphics card that we should replace because it’s making the computer a bit too warm.

The subwoofer is happy in its new home. Six feet away or farther it sounds the same as it always did, for music or movies. When you’re seated at the media desk with the music cranked up, the desk vibrates a fair amount. The kids like it.

The table top of the media desk is a piece of birch-veneer plywood, finished with satin polyurethane and bolted to the wall and the Effektiv cabinetry. We cut the leftover Effektiv door in half to make an extra shelf on top, supported on 6″ Capita legs (another IkeaHackers idea).

The second picture shows the half-pint cabinet in place, holding up its end of the media desk. The Effektiv cabinet to the right is its unmodified big brother. We hope that the wood color will fade to match in a year or two.

~ Ken Sinclair, Boston, MA