A couple months ago, the company Sylvia and I work for was throwing out some old Retail Display Cases. Some of them had Plexiglass (Acrylic) sides.
- Some were 3-foot by 4-foot. Others were 2-foot by 4-foot. All were 3/8-inch thick.
They were also throwing out some other Display Cases, which had thinner sheets of Plexiglass. Some of those pieces were “corners” (right-angles).
So we took home a few sheets and some smaller pieces.
We didn’t know what we were going to use these materials for but we’ve always liked the clear, revealing state of Plexiglass.
After we got everything home, Sylvia mentioned that I’ve never like our current Synthesizer setup. Although it’s a simple, “3-boards held up by some bricks” arrangement, we keep everything covered with a bedsheet, in order to keep the dust off of our music gear. So Sylvia suggested we build a clear, Synthesizer shelving unit.
It took about 5-weeks, a LOT of work and a handful of trips to our local Hardware Store, to buy some tools that we needed.
- Two of the things we purchased were “power tools” — a cordless drill and a cordless “multi-tool”. A few decades ago, my Dad, who’s been a Carpenter for most of his life, gave me an old Jigsaw. That was my 1st “power tool”. I did try to cut this Plexiglass with it but its speed was WAY too fast and the Acrylic simply melted.
That was 1 of the 1st things we learned… Cutting Plexiglass too fast will melt it. We also learned that if you cut it while too much vibration is being created, by “hand tools” or “power tools”, it will crack.
After spending about $230 for the following tools, our “free” Plexiglass turned out to be not so “free”… and that’s not counting our Time and labor:
- Cordless drill
- Cordless multi-tool
- a set of standard drill bits
- a special, diamond drill bit for cutting the 1-inch holes into the back panel
- a set of special drill bits for cutting holes in Acrylic
- nail polish remover. Used to “chemically weld” pieces of Plexiglass together. (Actually, we used this on the “Drumstick Painting Box” we made out of a rotating Display Case. This stuff wasn’t as good as it could have been. We should have bought the better product, which was “Acetone”.)
- A special, thin-blade, “full contact with the cutting surface” saw. (I used this when the multi-tool’s battery was charging… which was a lot.
- a Scoring Tool, used to “scratch” or “etch” the cutting-edge into the Plexiglass. Score the Acrylic at least halfway through and it will snap-off with a very clean edge. The problem for us was the thickness of these particular sheets.
- 2 “C” clamps. These were probably the best $10 we spent on this project. They came in handy for lots things… clamping 2-pieces together for cutting or drilling, etc.
- nuts and bolts for holding everything together.
While designing and building everything, I did remember the Saying:
- Measure twice. Cut once.
In my case, though, this didn’t help a lot. My Dad still laughs at me (in a good way) for not being able to cut a straight line or hammer a nail properly.
So after everything was cut, drilled, filed (for large sharp edges), sanded (for smaller rough edges), we disassembled the old shelves from the top of my desk and disconnected the 60 or more cables.
- Most of our Synthesizers have 5 CABLES coming out of them!
- 1 is for electricity
- 2 are for “MIDI” (“MIDI Out” and “MIDI In”) (MIDI sends and receives computer-music information between computers and music gear which have this feature.
- 2 are for “Audio” (1 for the left side of Stereo and the other for the right)
So, after the new shelving unit was assembled and ALL the cables reconnected… the shelving unit is about a quarter-inch off. The top of the back-right corner of the back panel is about a quarter-inch higher than the side it’s connected to. (I just checked and the back of the side-piece is not touching the desk.)
We didn’t discover this until everything was finished. Since it took over 6-hours to assemble everything, we’re not about to take it all apart, just to fix a quarter-inch slant. (If you look carefully, you can see the curve in the center shelf, just under the black & green Synth that’s sitting on a purple board.)
- My “guess” is that this entire shelving unit, with nothing on it, weighs about 50-pounds!
The top shelf has a large empty area on its left side. This is where our new Modular Synthesizer will be placed. (Sylvia and I went to our local Guitar Center last week and ordered the “case” for the Modules but it’s on back-order.) The case we bought is the “Structure 270”, made by “Pittsburgh Modular”. Here’s the link:
These are the pieces of music gear we currently have in this new shelving unit:
- (top-center) Korg Volca FM
- (top-right) Roland Cube 30 (CM-30) amp
- (middle shelf, left) Arturia BeatStep Pro
- (middle shelf, right) Roland System-1m
- (bottom shelf, left) Samson “SM10”: 10-channel, stereo mixer
- (bottom shelf, right) iConnectivity “MIO 10”: 10-channel MIDI Router
- (sitting on my desk, “under” the shelving unit) Roland SH-201 Synthesizer
Anyway, for those of you interested in this, here are some photos of what Sylvia and I created and how we’re using it: