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How to build quick and cheap table for my amplifier

Discussion in 'd.i.y.' started by ToTo Man, May 16, 2019.

  1. ToTo Man

    ToTo Man the band not the dog

    I'd like to quickly build a cheap table to sit in front of my hifi rack so that I experiment with pulling my amplifier forward halfway out of my rack to give it more ventilation when in use.

    The ideal size would be 435mm wide x 300mm deep x 330mm high. The weight of the amplifier to be supported is 25 kg, but a decent chunk of this would still be supported by my existing rack.

    I have zero woodworking skills and my dad isn't much use either so I'm looking for the simplest solution possible!

    I was thinking of sawing down an IKEA Lack table top and legs to size, but I'd need to drill new holes in the table top for two of the legs. I'm not sure how easy it is to saw or drill into sandwich(?) board or if the screws alone would be stable enough support. I could also use and perhaps add an L-bracket to each leg?

    Or maybe I would be better just buying three planks of wood and making a table consisting of a top and two solid L-bracketed sides?

    The LACK table appeals to me as it already has a smooth black finish so I wouldn't need to paint it to match my amp and subs.

    PS - I will be lowering the height of my Mac Mini to accommodate the amp table.

  2. wow&flutter

    wow&flutter pfm Member

    I’ve never seen a Lack table in the flesh but I suspect the top will not be solid but a corrugated sandwich of materials and likely only have solid material around the edges / corners.

    Cutting the legs is likely to be easier by cutting the bottom off the legs (non threaded end) but again I’m unaware of the construction. It could be you may have to insert a square filler block to retain its strength.

    If a Lack table is cheap enough buy one and chop it up!
    ToTo Man likes this.
  3. deebster

    deebster Half Man Half Biscuit

    The Lack table has had a humungous 20% price rise so is now 6 quid, but as w&f says it is I think just highly compressed woodchips. Certainly very light anyway.

    You could saw it into 4 quarters (as viewed from above), then cut the legs down and bracket it all back together, but to be honest I think you'd be better off cutting some wood to size. Even old pallet wood would be strong enough I reckon.
  4. Mullardman

    Mullardman Moderately extreme...

    The Lack top is indeed a 'sandwich' like some cheap doors. The legs aren't heavy so may be similar. Either way, for a fiver or so, you can't go wrong.

    Get hacking!
  5. stevec67

    stevec67 pfm Member

    Experiment with a Lack. They are not solid, be careful. I'm sure there is info on line (Ikea Hacks are a feature of a few websites) and they will tell you which bits of a Lack can be cut up and which are fresh air.
  6. dweezil

    dweezil pfm Member

    If just after more ventilation wouldn't it be easier to drill a load of ventilation holes in the existing rack?

    You could even raise it a touch more and perforate the bottom.
    guydarryl likes this.
  7. farfromthesun

    farfromthesun pfm Member

    Space looks tight but perhaps some runners fixed inside the unit would allow you to sit the amp on top of a makeshift drawer and allow you to pull it in and out when needed.
  8. ToTo Man

    ToTo Man the band not the dog

    Assuming the shelf and table share the same construction, it looks like adapting a lack table may be more hassle than its worth. I didn't realise just how much fresh air was in it!:

  9. booja30

    booja30 pfm Member

    I used to like symmetry a lot in room layouts, but these days I like a more relaxed layout.

    Have you considered moving the shelf (electronics and all) to a corner or another wall? If you had room for that then you could put the amp on the very top of the shelf with plenty of air. Another bonus is you could move the TV down to a more ideal height, e.g. a few inches above the subs.
  10. timH

    timH Senior Moment Member

    From ikea website...


    • Leg: Particleboard, Fibreboard, Paper foil
    • Top: Particleboard, Honeycomb structure paper filling (100% recycled), Fibreboard, Acrylic paint, Plastic edging
    ToTo Man likes this.
  11. ToTo Man

    ToTo Man the band not the dog

    That would be a cool solution but I'm not sure my dad would thank me for the work involved (he hates having to lift the amp fully out of the rack due to the awkwardness of its size and weight). And of course a shelf on runners would further reduce the ventilation space in the rack meaning I would not be able to use the amp at all in situ.

    There's about a 25mm gap between the top of amp and front lip of the shelf that is visible in the photo, then about an additional 20mm height inside the rack, so 45mm total (approx). I'm not sure if the extra gap inside does much good though as the shelf lips at the front and rear of the cabinet seem to trap the heat in as it rises up from the amp. FWIW I recently checked my amp's manual and it recommends 300mm space above it, yes 300mm! which pretty much excludes shelf use. I think 300mm is overkill TBH, I reckon 100mm would probably be sufficient.

    Other options I previously considered included:
    - Drilling vent holes in the shelves to improve airflow. This would presumably make the component on the next shelf up hotter. I could swap components around to negate this to some extent.
    - Replace the rack with a HiFi Racks Podium Reference. This is my preferred aesthetic option as I can have each tier the exact height I need. However I can't justify that sort of cost on furniture (>£1k), and am concerned about its stability especially with a Plasma TV on top of it. (With cerebral palsy I do take the odd tumble and have visions of the HiFi Racks stand coming down like a house of cards were I to crash into it!).
  12. Snufkin

    Snufkin pfm Member

    How about buying a small fan and clipping it to the back of the cabinet and turn it on when needed. It does look your amp needs a bit of help as its fairly tight in the rack. I have tried this and just blowing air across the top of the amp seems to bring the temperature down by 8-10c. Mine fan is rechargeable, like the one in the link, and is although a little noisy on its lowest setting its not intrusive if the music/radio/television are at a reasonable level.

  13. timH

    timH Senior Moment Member

    Would whatever is on shelf two fit underneath whatever is on shelf one? If so you could remove shelf two (or cut out a massive hole in it) and across the front aperture of the gap between the shelves put some kind of mesh or fretwork like that used for radiator cover things
  14. ToTo Man

    ToTo Man the band not the dog

    I actually ran a 120mm computer fan on my Marantz SR7300 7.1 AV Receiver back in the day, as it used to go into protection mode when driving 4 ohm speakers (AV amps were shockingly underspecced at that time!). I sat it directly on top of the vents (with a foam spacer in between for acoustic damping) and powered it with a variable voltage transformer (3V/4.5V/6V/9V/12V) which let me find the best compromise between cooling effectiveness and noise. It worked really well, the receiver never cut out after that. Sadly there is very little space above my current amp to accommodate something similar, nor at the back of the cabinet because the amplifier overhangs by a few centimetres. I'd also be wary about introducing another source of noise into my room in addition to my Mac Mini, external hard drive and Virgin V6 box.
  15. ToTo Man

    ToTo Man the band not the dog

    It would, but the top shelf contains a valve headphone amp which gets pretty toasty so would probably need more headroom than would be provided if I stacked it on top of my DAC which is currently on the 2nd shelf.
  16. ToTo Man

    ToTo Man the band not the dog

    Another option would be to swap the components on shelves 1 and 2, raise the new resident of shelf 2 up a bit, and drill ventilation holes through to shelf 3. Trouble is I don't know if the ventilation holes would be enough by themselves to provide adequate venting.

    The most appealing aspect of the Hifi Racks products is the sides are open as well as the front and back, which I assume will assist quite a bit with airflow (the sides on my existing rack are enclosed).
  17. farfromthesun

    farfromthesun pfm Member

    Can you get a new rack? :D
  18. ToTo Man

    ToTo Man the band not the dog

    Yes, if you loan me the money for it! :) My existing one cost about £150-£200 IIRC but it was many years ago and came on a slow boat from India (I think I placed the order in August and it arrived just before Christmas!). I dread to think what a similar piece would cost now especially if made in the UK.... a quick look at the prices on the HiFi Racks site gives some indication! :eek:
    farfromthesun likes this.
  19. ToTo Man

    ToTo Man the band not the dog

    Question for the engineers: is an external fan that sits on top of an amplifier's vented casework and blows warm air back down inside the amplifier better or worse than no fan at all?
  20. andrewsutton

    andrewsutton pfm Member

    The warm air trying to rise from the amp will be blown back.
    Can’t you fit the fan so it sucks air up from the heat source?
    Cheers Andy.

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