Kanojo.de Blog

6Jan/112

Backlit Couch/Coffee-Table

Have you ever wanted a cool couch- or coffee-table? Something you're friends will be like "wow", that blends nicely into your existing room and that makes a nice comfy atmosphere?  Too bad something like that isn't available readily made at IKEA or the like ... but hey, we can tinker it together ourselves!

That's what we thought when we started to plan that table. Another nice thing about it: It's extensible, you can always mod in a LED matrix and a matrix-cabinet and start displaying pixel art, a ticker or whatever you feel like ... but first you need the basic hardware, and thats what this post is about!

And now, since i want to prevent a "too long, didn't read" article, straight on to the pictures (tagged nicely with information on what is happening :P):

Starting with the milky-plexiglas ... from standing two years in workshop it looks quite bad, scratches and drit all over...

So using some glass-cleaner (as lube) and 800grit paper we need to sand it level, 800 is also fine enough to leave a nice frosted surface. If you're after a smoother surface use a 100%-cotton cloth and toothpaste (yeah, thats right) and polish with medium pressure and speed.

As for the whole cabinet, stands, etc. we used 19mm to 22mm MDF

For painting we used "Door and Window Paint" (a PU-hardened acrylic paint) and a simple foam-roller....

And see ... it works quite nicely. A nice and even surface can be achieve with this (two coats, sand using 220 to 400 grit, another final coat)

As you can see here raw mdf needs quite some coats (as described above), especially the edges tend to suck in all the paint

After final coat....

last coat and properly sealed edges here too...

Ready to be worked with :P

The stands are a simple construction of one small and one wider MDF-piece - they'll look "square"-ish afterwards :P

all those edges need to be filled and smoothed - quite some things left to do ;P

all stands are reinforced with two screws per stand. The screwheads are countersunk so the holes can be puttied, this way nothing will be visible later...

countersunk screws....

smeared putty in it, leave some putty on the surface, as the mass dries it'll slump down, so you want a buffer...

marks for the screws on the "baseplate", those will reinforce the stand-joints...

everything put together - IT CAN STAND, YAY!

still not perfect, quite a gap visible ...

these are the upper cabinet walls, the squared timber will hold the glass and plexiglas sheets later...

be shure to measure, mark and glue very exact...

to reinforce the mounts for the glass we also used some screws...

the screws on the baseplate were also countersunk ... so the upper cabinet walls can be glued on without any problems ;)

As just described...

the walls were mounted using simple wood-glue

and theres - just again - work for some putty and a sander ...

and now for something completely different: ... wait, not quite. but this is the main switch we've chosen at a local electro-market ...

and .. wooo, lamp socket and cables. those will be mounted inside the table and used to illuminate it later!

and - as a first test (unaligned) revels ... the concept works

quite okay ... well, the light is distributed very unevenly, but that'll get better once the lamps are aligned

so, putty hardened, sander sanded, this is how the new smooth outer-wall-surface looks now ...

after some fitting (took almost two hours using a file) of the glass-plate there are some gaps, those get filled with putty and left to dry (no worries, it'll come off the glass easily later)

more hard putty action :)

more hard putty action :)

here the glass was already removed ... a tad too early one might say

and sanded down and smoothed using 120-400 grit paper...

the inside will be layed out with aluminum-foil plated paper :P

the foil was mounted on the paper using simple spraymount. where this nice and cheap boesner.com brand is not available one might fall back to 3M hobby mount or the like...

after some experiments with pieces of wood to hold the lamp-sockets we fell back to using ... tape! :)

in the meanwhile the milky and frosted plexi-plate has got some additions ... these make nice equally spaced and sharp shadows and thus conceil the "dirty" shadows of the mounts on the inner walls...

closeup ...

finished reflector with lamps...

after some coats, sanding and a final coat (as described above) the main cabinet is ready for use...

closeup of the upper edge...

closeup of the upper edge...

the mounting hole for the biiig mainswitch :)

and everything nicely assembled

and this is how it glows!

here, be assured, the camera brought out the unevenness of the lightdistribution worse than the human eye does...

blends nicely into the room ...

... and what can we do with it? We can get shots of figures with "epic" lighting :P

... or make clouds look more realistic

... endless possibilities :P

it also really really looks good on tea in glass cups (especially those nice double-walled ones). reimu also enjoys a hot tea

glowing tea, yay!

Well, that was about it. A little sidenote may be that all the light evenness issues are way worse on the pictures than in reallife, somehow the eye blends the dynamic ranges better than the sensor. Also, if you feel like building exactly this just leave a comment or drop a mail, we'll assist as good as we can, especially if you need dimensions we can just drop them whenever they're needed. Hope this encourages you to build your own nerdy and cool furniture ;). And glowing things always catch peoples eyes ... :P

Comments (2) Trackbacks (0)
  1. Looks really awesome! Looks like it took a lot of work. How long did you take you?

    Unfortunately I don’t have the tools or materials to make something like this (not to mention time!).

  2. It took us two really really tiring (fulltime) days. As for tools you really don’t need much – a few screwdrivers, screws, wood and woodglue will suffice … okay, maybe a file, but everything else is really optional :) At least for a barebones version.


Leave a comment

 

No trackbacks yet.