CD rack, dr. cliff style.

I have a ton of CDs. Not really a ton, currently about 500 or so. What's that, half a ton? Whatever. They're really important to me, so I set about making a good home for them.  
  I stopped by a friend's studio. He and his partner were doing a lot of artistic steel fabrication, and some custom design work. Very cool place to hang out. I had just copped over 1,000 pounds of 1/2" stainless steel rod from UCLA (hey, they were tossing it!), and I thought I could come up with a way to make some of it into a CD rack at the studio.
I spotted a 6-foot length of 4" I-beam that one of them *found* at a demolition site. It had obviously been ripped from a building. It had an odd notch and two bolt holes on one end, and it was a little scaly (the demo site was in Malibu).  
  I had a little teeny CD rack from IKEA, and I liked the way CDs sat in it. So I copied its bolt patten over to the broad face of the I-beam. I had room on the beam for 10 rows of CDs. I wanted to use the rods to support the CDs, and for the rods to have a free end (e.g. be hanging out in space).
I clamped the beam onto a Bridgeport mill and made 10 sets of three holes each. Each hole is for a through-bolt, to hold a rod to the beam. Holes were counterbored on the beam face, and flycut on the web side, so the bolts would clamp squarely throught the beam and into the rods. Are you following me?  


 I sandblasted the beam & plate, and blued it with gun-bluing. Bluing is actually black. After a few years, it has developed a cool blue-rust patina.

Meanwhile, I cut some stainless into (30) 18" lengths, and chucked each one into a lathe. Faced one end and tapped it 1/4"-20, an inch deep. Faced the other end and put a little bevel on it. (This part of the project sucked).
I got some Allen bolts the right size, with hex nuts to tighten them against the web of the beam. In the detail shot you can (maybe) see the way an Allen bolt goes through the beam and into a rod, and then the hex nut jams against the back (web) side of the beam to hold the rod tightly against the beam face. That big-ass nut & bolt are part of the earthquake-safety chain holding the rack to the wall. I installed this after the Northridge quake of 1994. The rack fell over and shattered several CDs in that quake!  
  I also scored some adjustable leveling-feet from a trashed centrifuge at UCLA, and put them on the bottom so I could adjust the lean angle. Too little lean- CDs fall off the free end. Too much lean- CDs are hard to get out of the rack. The feet are mostly buried in the carpet in this photo.

The rack sits right next to the TV Eye in my living room. It holds 330 discs. My collection has outgrown it, and the overflow is piled up in shitty store-bought racks until I feel like making a companion for this beast.

I'm thinking about those watch/jewelry displays, like they used to have at Woolworth's etc., with the cascading trays of merchandise. Then you'd ask to see something and the guy would stop it and reach in from the back and get the item out. Not the countertop ones, the big ones that were the counter. I'd like to make one of those into the next CD rack, dr. cliff style. If you have one, let me know. Maybe we can work out some kind of trade...

Deliberate Fabrications




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