Okay, …, okay, you read the title and are probably thinking, wait hasn’t Kenneth already posted a few other times about shelf brackets? There was a big production run of steel shelf brackets for my daughter or shelves for his toolboxes? Is this another repeat?
I try not to share projects that are too close to each other as far as being the same thing over and over, so this project is quite a bit different from the previous shelving projects. Some of you know, a good part of my day job involves developing FPGAs for video processing in aircraft installations.
I work from home and I’ve got a den upstairs off the living room separated away from the garage/studio/e-lab to provide quiet area to focus. Needless to say, that being a small den, with all the monitors, sources, switching, custom diagnostic equipment and computers and monitors that go along with it, when my employer asked me to add yet another 60in monitor for some 8K video work, … well, I was out of space and that monitor had to go “UP”.
This project started out with a few extremely basic / simple CAD models. With some basic measurements of the butcherblock maple bench top, height of the monitor, height of the ceiling, etc. well, the project was ready to roll. I came up with this in a jiffy…
The design was tweaked on the fly in a couple places, but the image below represents the basic idea…
I jotted down a few cut list dimensions on a post-it and headed for the garage. First up I dialed in the angled cuts for the chop saw and cut out most of the square tubing for this project at the same time. I’ve got a stadia angle finder for this and I do not usually use 80yr old beloved drafting equipment to set up the chop saw, however that heavy duty angle finder was over in my neighbor’s garage at the moment. You might notice it re-appears in photos later in this project. The material is 1in square mild steel seam welded tubing with an 0.093in wall, so it cuts like butter on the chop saw.
Cutting leaves incredibly sharp corners so all of the pieces took turns on the 2x72 belt grinder to debur the edges. It is only a few extra seconds per edge to drop a heavy chamfer / bevel on the edges instead of a light debur. I went ahead and did this to leave the edge ready to accept a deep penetrating weld…
With a cut set of material in hand this project was ready to fly, but this was not all of the pieces needed for the project.
While building up the CAD model, I had taken the time to organize a set of parts I needed to cut on the AVIDcnc plasma cutter for this project. There are 36 pieces there.
I used a simple plasma post-processor program to have automatic settings for steel, 10Ga (0.135in), standard consumables, go through my G-Code, change the feed rates, insert Ohmic-touch off’s pauses after arc-off commands, etc…
Here the 1/2 of the AVIDcnc that is set up for plasma operations with a water table has been loaded up with a 2ft x 4ft plate of 10Ga steel. This is a pretty reasonable size for one person to lift and move on their own. I’m a little bit on the older side and when I get up into the 1/4in thick material, well, I’m glad I’ve got lots of neighbors stopping by that all want to exchange workshop favors.
Loaded up some G-Code in Mach, enabled the torch height controller, set the voltage according to that specified in the G-Code, fired up the HyperTherm plasma cutter and the screw style air compressor and this baby was ready to run…
There was actually one more step. I drove the laser up and down one edge to get it roughly close. I didn’t spend any time getting it exactly right as this cut had plenty of room on the edges. I then drove the laser down to the corner of the material and zeroed out Mach, and it was time to let fly…
You can see in the photo, below, the machine is pre-‘punching’ all the holes first before cutting the outlines. My super ancient legacy CAD system is not plasma aware, so this is just a small detail I have to keep in mind when chaining geometry for a particular set of cuts.
Is this spectacular or what? Sure I could have done a bunch of layout and gone in with a hand drill and angle grinder, but watching that machine fly through 10Ga(0.135in) steel at ~120ipm just never gets old and saved many, many hours of manual labor time. Kind of neat how the image below looks just like the CAD model.
I took each piece, hit it with the chipping hammer and then ran each piece lightly on the slack belt of the belt grinder to give them a quick clean up… These came out GREAT!
Check out the test fit on the square tubing below. That is going to make it quite easy to weld up in following steps…
No time to waste, these went straight into fixturing and welding…
None of these welds need to be ground down and that just makes the brackets stronger in the end, already they are already overkill in material selection (what I had on hand) and methods.
Using some cutoffs from an old project and some Fireball tool shims to get things setup for the next weld… Thinking ahead when I made the CAD model, I left inside corner cut-outs on this weld reinforcing stiffener to go around the weld beads. That was just to make fabrication go that much faster.
On some of these parts I left cut-outs / windows so that I could rosette weld them for extra strength. That was completely not needed, but it did make a handy spot to tack them (see below).
And the obligatory smiling guy taught himself to weld in his garage photo.
After this it was time to paint! It was much, much to cold paint outside this week, so these parts were laid down on a sheet of visquene(SP?) in the garage.
I ended up going with 3x coats of acrylic from a rattle can, with a light abrasive sponge sanding in between each coat. After that each piece was baked out to increase the polymer crosslinking to give it that extra hardness since I wanted to use these right away and don’t want to worry about scratching fresh paint.
These came out great. I should have waited for daytime to take this photo, but here is one sitting on the kitchen floor.
To install these, I pre-drilled and then used a socket wrench to drive in the 1/4in x 1&1/4 lag bolts.
So far, so good.
I’ve had some cheap melamine covered shelf boards sitting around for ~10yrs in a downstairs closet that I’ve been looking for a use to cut up and use and this was just the project… They needed some slots cut in and to be cut to lenght on the radial arm saw (not shown because according to the internet, those saws terrify folk).
Below you can see the first set layered in… These boards are pretty warped due to the way they were stored standing up and an angle all those years, but the screws (added later) will pull them back down even and they sit flush to each other in the end. (pictures further below).
Also the reader can see why I modified the design and added that one extra piece of plasma cut steel to support these boards on both sides where the big slot had been cut into them. It doesn’t show in this photo, because it is black painted steel in shadow, but if you scroll back up a ways you can see the piece I am talking about that extends out behind the post to support the cut slots in the shelves.
Lots and lots of little finishing steps. Even with pre-drilling, boy does that give one’s wrist a workout getting in there between the shelves with a stubby screwdriver. I realized only after I was done that I should have done the top shelf first, before installing the bottom one. That would have allowed the use of a power driver.
But wait, there is more, … When I was test fitting the boards on one side, before I had cross cut them to final length, I noticed, it might be nice to have that extra space of shelving back in the corner. Nope it isn’t easy to get to but it would make a great spot for some power supplies, 24port ethernet router and test equipment that is accessed through ethernet and that one does not need to physically push buttons on.
So it was back to the plasma cutter on the AVIDcnc to cut out some more parts to make some extra support brackets, since these shelves are hanging out quite a good amount unsupported with this ‘on the fly’ change in design.
A much smaller set of parts this time.
Wowza does this kind of fabrication ever go fast.
And just like that, time to fixture and weld… (Hey look at that, my Stabilia angle finder reappeard from my neighbor’s garage. No more drafting equipment used out in the garage.) This could have easily been set up without it, but it sure did make it easy.
Even though these are “afterthough” parts, they’ll stil get painted and baked out to harden the paint.
And here are those extra pieces installed… I’m just starting to load some equipment in this this photo.
The photo below tells the story, how all of this quick fabrication turned out. Super fun! There are a few other sets that I haven’t bothered to show, but you get the idea, I was kind of running out of room in the Den where I, ‘work for the man.’ The tape measure did right by me and there is an inch and half clearance to the ceiling which is just right.
Soooo, … This was a pretty different sent of shelf brackets compared to the previous projects I’ve shared. I hope that someone might see something in this and maybe get inspired for their own project. Always hard to gague if people like seeing this kind of project. Either way, I had fun doing it.