Workstation Wallmount – Ikea + Mac Mini = Win

I moved recently and wanted to make a nice “workstation” for my Mac Mini. I use the computer like a TV; Netflix and other internet media. I don’t do much (any) work on it.

Finished workstation
The finished workstation has an ultra clean look

Enter Ikea:

I saw the Ikea Besta Burs wall-mounted drawer, and it got me thinking. The piece has a single fold down drawer, it’s ment to hold DVD’s. But in non-typical Ikea fasion, this thing is massively overbuilt. The hinges are really heavy duty. And the particle board shelf is relatively shallow and therefore strong.

Original Ikea Piece
This project repurposes a Ikea Besta Burs DVD holder as a computer workstation

Decision:

Looked good! Measurements showed it would fit the mac mini & monitors perfectly.

Tools:

I needed  to drill holes for passing cables through. I bought a drill & a special bit to drill large holes. I gave the holes a classy look by purchasing some plastic caps that let the wires go through. Home Depot had all these things.

Drill, whole saw, studfinder
Tools of the Trade

Method:

I did the wire hole drilling on my balcony before assembling the unit, supporting the pieces between two chairs. In order to not bung up the nice glossy surface I left the plastic protective cover on while drilling, also start the drill by plunging into the glossy surface. Evevetably you well end up pushing through the last bit of wood, its much better that this happens on the surface you dont care so much about. Also make sure you measure where you want the holes to be!!

Finding the studs in the wall in order to anchor this beast was hard. I used a “studfinder” but as i repeated my measurements with different speeds and directions, i found my stud location varied quite a bit….  Also, stupid IKEA doesnt’ space the pre-drilled holes at the standard US stud spacing (16 inches). I was able to stretch fit two of the holes, and use two studs.

The third hole landed solidly in between two studs, so I used a drywall toggle bolt. This bolt requires you to drill a biiiig hole, in order to pass through the spring-loaded metal wings. These wings snap out when they get to the other side of the wall. When you tighten the bolt, the wings press against the back side of the wall allowing you to tighten down pretty hard. Make sure when you push the wings through, you dont accidentally let the whole screw fall behind the wall! I made a “custom” washer to keep this from happening using a bit of cerial-box derived cardboard with a slit in it.

Mounting:

I set the hight such that the bottom of the unit was counter height. Originally I had planned on using a bar stool, but this would have meant the monitors were so high it would have been uncomfortable to watch video’s from my couch.

You definitely need a helper to get this baby onto the wall, it’s much to big and heavy to do by yourself when you need one hand for the screw driver.

Result:

It looks soooo sweet! The glossy finish gives it a high tech look, and nearly all wires are hidden from view. There was enough space for me to include my external harddrive, router, two powerbars, mac-min, keyboard and mouse ect all inside the drawer. However I rarely use the keyboard and mouse, instead I use Tight VNC to control the Mac Mini wirelessly from my laptop. In order to control the stereo from the couch, I bought a Sound Blaster XLive USB sound card & a 25 ft usb cable. It was a gamble the mini’s usb ports could power this devices, especially with the long cable, but it’s working great. All in all i’m very happy with the result, and at about $100, it’s a great value.

Photos:

 

I keep speakers behind the monitors
Top of the Beta Burs Unit
Drill, whole saw, studfinder
Tools of the Trade
Inside the computer station
There is space enough for the entire system
Finished workstation
The finished workstation has an ultra clean look
Original Ikea Piece
This project repurposes a Ikea Besta Burs DVD holder as a computer workstation
The wiring holes have plastic caps
The wiring holes are needed to pass wires through the cabinet, they have nice plastic caps from Home Depot

6 thoughts on “Workstation Wallmount – Ikea + Mac Mini = Win”

  1. re: Evevetably you well end up pushing through the last bit of wood, its much better that this happens on the surface you dont care so much about.
    One way to prevent this is to place scrap wood below and drill into that (next time…)

  2. Hey man, i was just thinking about doing the same and found your blog. Is the whole construction as stable as you thought? Is it comfortable?

    Cheers

    1. It is very stable, no doubt. Even the fold down keyboard tray. It was pretty comfortable, i think the bar-stool height is not as comfortable as a normal height chair though so that’s pretty limiting.

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