Thursday, 3 October 2013

Guest Post: "Acrylic Flexy Rack" by Arnold Cruz from his blog "The road to nirvana"

I recently looked into upgrading my shelving for my hifi setup and in my searches I came across what looked like a very good looking and practical shelving system called the Flexy Shelf (or Table) and had it in the back of my mind to build one and post my results here on Vinyl Philosophy. As it turned out I went with the wall mounted shelves instead, mainly because I already had almost everything I needed lying around at home.

Despite this I still wanted to do one and continued to look at other peoples attempts to plan my way forward. In my searchings I came across a particularly nice looking example on the website of Arnold Cruz at The road to nirvana and then proceeded to ask him if I could repost his Flexy Shelf post right here on Vinyl Philosophy so that more people could benefit from what I think is one of the prettiest Flexy Shelves out there. So with his permission here it is:


Acrylic Flexy Rack

An article on the online site TNT Audio inspired me to try working on a version that suits my personal preferences. The original article calls for MDF shelves, but I decided to go a notch higher by using Acrylic (or sometimes called Plexiglass).

My first version was based on the layout and measurements of the original article and looked like this:

It looks cool! For the extra acrylic sheets left, I made another one with three shelves which I sold thereafter.

Another version which I made specifically for my amplifiers is shown in the following photo. It only uses two shelves and you will notice that I had the edges rounded for safety (first!) and aesthetics.

Construction Notes

This is an enjoyable project to work on. You will need the right sources for the materials and lots of patience.

Sourcing the parts

I bought the imported Acrylic from a supplier in Makati called COMGLASCO (special thanks goes to Mozilla for the referral) for a reasonable cost- PhP5,900 for an 8' x 6' x 3/4" sheet at the time of purchase. There are a couple of suppliers within Metro Manila but I preferred them due to the following reasons: FREE cutting according to your dimensions; and FREE delivery.
For the threaded rods (they're actually catogorized as bolts), I found Tensile Steel at Benavidez Street, in Binondo. They have the stainless steel version and they also sell chrome plated acorn nuts and washers. I bought the rods with 3/4" diameter.
The next item to look for are the rubber washers and I don't think I'll ever find one already made so I bought those rubber feet for stools and chairs and I sliced them to pieces.

Drilling the Acrylic

This is the most difficult part. If you don't have the tools and the skills (specially patience), have it made by a professional machine shop. Drilling acrylic is tricky- it needs to be multi-pass (small hole first, then big one) and must not be high speed, otherwise you'll probably break it. The number of holes on each sheet will depend on the number of legs that you decided to use. The holes are drilled 1 1/2" (center) from the corners of the Acrylic sheet.

Polishing the Acrylic

If you don't have a professional polishing machine like I do, get some 400 and 600 grit waterproof sandpaper. My objective in sanding is to make sure that the sharp edges won't cut my skin accidentally. I initially used the 400 grit along the edges and the 600 grit to smoothen. However, you won't get crystal clear edges this way, you'll need a polishing machine.

Assembling the rack

Now this is the easy part. Make sure that you'll have enough room during the assembly and that you've polished the edges of the acrylic- otherwise, you may get a serious cut!
The objective is to sandwich the acrylic shelves between the following- rubber washer, chrome washer, then chrome nut. Make sure the shelves are properly levelled during the assembly.


Arnold has a number of other interesting articles on his site and many diy projects that I am keen to try out myself. If you want to check it out his homepage is here: The road to nirvana

Many thanks Arnold, and I look forward to seeing more of your projects on your website in the future!

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