There needs to be a plan when you install a new piece of CNC machinery in the CT Hackerspace shop to make provisions to protect the adjoining PC. Electronics don’t usually like the metal flakes and sawdust flying be the circuit board while in use. Our latest CNC is going to also be placed in a full demonstration area for classroom instruction, so I was hoping for not only a protective setup, but a clutter free install. With the limited equipment on hand, one’s creativity and some hacking starts coming into play.
To start the clean install on top, my first priority is to eliminate as many desktop wires as possible. A donated monitor arm (Thanks Ed!) and a donated wireless keyboard and mouse (thanks Bill) was an easy start to eliminating desktop clutter. Our CNC based PC is a full size refurbished desktop box and it ISN’T so easy to make go away for both protection and elimination of clutter. Two early thoughts were to (1) leave on the floor or (2) move off site to a cleaner shelf. The first option was quickly ruled out due the fact it’s never a good idea to put a PC on a shop floor. I experimented with the adjacent shelf idea which lead to a cluster of wires leaving the demo area, and that just wasn’t going to work.
The CNC setup was on top of a 1950’s steel desk which I picked up at state auction for the hackerspace last year. (At a 52 cent price point and a hand truck, it’s hard to beat!) The all steel desk had an all steel shelf attached to one end which inspired my idea. Similar to servers in my rack mount, why not install the PC to the heavy duty drawer of the steel desk?!?
Using some scrap wood as mounting sides, along with scrap angle iron from our metal shop left over from my rolling cart, I created some mounting brackets which were then attached (with fender washers for added support) to the base of the drawer.
The front of the PC mounts outward for access and the rear is shallow enough not to interfere with the user, but accessible enough in a pinch.The entire unit then easily slides in and out for any physical access and then easily slides out of the way keeping it the PC clean and the area clutter free.
Some creativity and ingenuity now has our latest shop PC mounted out of the way, clear of free of clutter and dust, but keeping the accessibility to the hardware only a drawer pull away from case access.