Think of Devastator as Cybertron's Bob Vila... Finished Project - Masterpiece Transformers have a new home. "We've got a serious problem: Masterpiece Transformers are taking over the apartment." "Racing up and down the hallway at all hours of the day and night." "Wasting printer ink and paper." "Harassing the stupid fish." "Making messes in the kitchen." "We can't even keep them on the shelves with the normal Transformers, because these Masterpiece a-holes will bully and make fun of them." "Luckily my roommate has some extra space in his office, so we're going to build these jerks their own shelves, so they can leave everyone else alone." "Unless your crummy human eyes are even more blind than I thought, you probably noticed this rusty, old box. I asked if we could get rid of it, but I guess it was my roommate's grandpa's footlocker in the war where he killed a bunch of blind people or something. He called them Not-Sees. Anyway, it's staying, so we'll just have a work it into the design." "And this is the basic design. I tried to make it simple to keep you from getting confused. Remember this, because it will help later when you're putting the thing together." "Now the first thing we're going to do is smash into a local home improvement store and take all the supplies we need. First, grab some-" "Stop!" "They're weak and pathetic humans, Devastator. They can't just go trampling a store and picking what they need out of the rubble. They'll be required to enter the store and buy the items or order them from the internet." "Fine, whatever... Nerd. "Anyway, whether you just take the stuff or buy it like a little pansy, you're going to need supplies: "Three 1 in. x 18 in. x 72 in. Wood Panels - Have each board cut down to two 34-in. shelves. You only need five shelves, but you'll have an extra, in case you mess one up, because you're a stupid, clumsy meat-bag. If you can do basic arithmetic, you'll see that we end up with three extra 18 in. x 4 in. pieces. We'll be able to use those, so don't just throw them away. "Wood Stain and Polyurethane - I'm using Rust-Oleum Kona stain, along with a clear matte polyurethane, but you can use whatever kind you want. "Spray Paint - This is going to cover and protect the pipes. I'm using Rust-Oleum Oil Rubbed Bronze, but like with the stain, you can use whatever stupid color you think looks good. Even though you're probably wrong. "Also, you're going to need brushes, paper towels, rags, rubber gloves and something to cover your work area so you don't make a huge mess. This should go without saying, but I'm saying it anyway, because I don't want to hear any crying later about how you ruined your bathtub, or whatever humans sleep in." "You're also going to need iron pipes and fittings. We're using 1/2" piping for this project: "30 in. pipe - 1 "18 in. pipe - 2 "12 in. pipe - 14 "10 in. pipe - 6 "2 in. pipe - 6 "Close pipe - 12 "Floor Flange - 6 "Tee - 16 "Elbow - 8 "Cap - 12 "And last but not least, you'll need eight screws and drywall anchors for two of those flanges, plus four anti-skid pads for the other four flanges." "You should be able to find metal piping at Lowe's or Home Depot, but it's generally much less expensive online. Specifically look for Chinese iron pipe. Whatever reservations you might have concerning your frail, human health should be set aside, since we're not actually using the pipes to carry potable water." "SHUT UP, SHOCKWAVE! If they're too scared and weak to destroy a big box store and take what they need, then they should have to pay full price!" "Anyway, now that we have our stuff, it's time for the rubber to meet the road. Each board is going to end up with four holes, one in each corner. The location of the holes is determined by the length of the pipes with fittings at each end. Grab the 30 in. pipe and one of the 12 in. pipes and put Tee fittings on the ends of them. Center a pipe along the side you're measuring and mark where the center of the Tee lines up." "Do this for all four sides and then draw lines out for each mark. They'll cross where the hole should go." "If your monkey brain didn't screw it up, you should be able to line the pipes up so that you see 'crosshairs' at each end." "Once everything is measured, it's time to cut. You'll need to get a 7/8-in. hole saw bit for your power drill. I'm assuming that anyone who would attempt to build their own shelves already has a drill. Also, stay away from spade or paddle bits. They'll just tear up the wood." "If you had the three wood boards cut the way I told you, then you should have ended up with three extra 4-in.-wide pieces. Use one of them to practice cutting circular holes. If you don't do it right, the edges will chip and splinter. Use steady, even pressure, letting the saw do the work. If you push down too hard, the wood will tear off at the bottom and make your edges look like slag." "Make sure to hold the wood steady when you start to drill. Before using the hole saw bit, use a smaller bit to make guide holes. That way you'll be less likely to let saw bit move and mess up the distances between all your holes." "After the first one is done, use it as a template for the other boards. Just make sure they're held together tight." "Uh... Devy? I thought you invited us over to watch the game." "I lied. Now shut up, and hold still." "Once all your holes are cut, you'll want to sand out the insides and edges. Wrap some sandpaper around a firm, cylindrical object, and go to town!" "A marker works great." "If you're not a complete moron, the pipes should line up perfect with the holes you cut. Check them all, by length and width, sanding out the holes to make them bigger if you need to. And while you're at it, sand the edges of the boards to remove any sharp points or splinters." "We still have a few more holes to make, but these will be tiny, like your stupid, human brains. We'll use these holes to mount our lights at the end." "Measure a few inches in from what's going to be the front on the underside of each shelf. Softly draw a line that runs along the length of the board. I went with three inches, but you can basically put them as far back as you want. The only problem is that if you put them too far back, the light will be shining on the back of anything close to the front edge of the shelf." "After marking the middle of your first line with a second line, center the light bar. Use a 1/16-in. drill bit - or anything smaller than the screws that came with the lights - to make your holes. WHATEVER YOU DO, MAKE SURE NOT TO DRILL ALL THE WAY THROUGH!!! "Erase your guide lines as good as you can, but it doesn't have to be perfect because the marks should get covered by the stain. You'll only be attaching lights to the top four shelves, but if you put the tiny holes in all the boards, then it won't matter which boards you use where when you're putting everything together later." "Staining is pretty easy, even for hairless apes like you. Just use a cheap brush to spread the stain around the entire face of the wood, wait a few minutes and then wipe it off using rags or paper towels. Let everything dry, and then flip the boards over and do the other sides. The hardest part is not making a mess. Cover your floor, and make sure to wear rubber gloves. If you do get stain on yourself or the floor, use toothpaste to clean it off." "You'll want to be more careful when you're applying polyurethane. Always go with the grain of the wood, and don't try to put in on it big globs. Just put a little polyurethane on the end of your brush, and then spread it out in thin, even layers. Do at least two coats on the top and one coat on the bottom." "As a little bonus, if you only used one of those 4-in.-wide planks to practice making holes, you should still have two left." "Cut each one into four pieces, and sand the edges." "Then stain them, and give them a quick coat of polyurethane. Now we have risers for some of the shorter guys to stand on." "We're done with the wood boards for now, so let's take care of the pipes. Whether you buy them from a store or online, they're probably going to covered in grease and dirt. You can try to use something like mineral spirits or kitchen degreaser, but I found the best way to really clean those pipes is trisodium phosphate. It's pretty strong stuff, so anyone who isn't a robot should use eye protection and rubber gloves in a well-ventilated room. Or outside. "Scrub the pipes good, and dry them quickly. If you're using iron, the water will cause it to oxidize quickly. In case you're wondering, that's rust." "Since you're a human, and therefore stupid and slow, you probably won't dry the pipes quickly enough and be left with some rust. You'll have to use sandpaper and a metal brush to remove it." "With your pipes grease and rust free, it's time to assemble the structures that will eventually hold up your shelves. This isn't permanent, so only screw the pipes and fittings together tight enough so that they don't flop around." "In and open, outside area, place the assembled pipes on several layers of cardboard." "Spray-paint all the pipes with thin, even coats. Don't let the can hover in one area, or it will pool up and make a mess. Let the paint dry to the touch, and then flip everything over and do the other sides." "Excuse me, Devastator? Perhaps you should remind them to pay attention to where they're spraying the paint, so they don't have an accident." "Whatever, you look a million times better now. Anyway, after the pipes are completely dry, take everything apart. The ends of the threads shouldn't be gunked up with paint, which should make it easier to put everything back together for the finished shelves." "Oh, and while you have the spray point out, go ahead and paint the shiny metal ends and white cords on those light bars so they match everything else. Some of that blue painters tape should protect the clear plastic covering on the lights." "If you have hard floors, like wood or tile, you'll want to get anti-skid pads for the four feet." "Cut each pad into four pieces." "Then remove the backing and stick the pieces to the bottom of the feet." "All the pieces are ready, so now it's assembly time! You're in the home stretch, so don't screw it up. Once you really tighten these pipes down for the finished product, they're going to be really hard to get apart without scratching things up. "Start with the 30-in. pipe, which will serve as a horizontal support. You're going to build down from this piece. If you start at the base and work up, you're not going to be able to get all the pipes and boards to fit together because of the way space and reality work." "So you start with the 30-in. pipe, and then screw Tee fittings onto each side. Screw 10-in. pipes into the bottom holes of the Tee fittings. Put the 10-in. pipes through the back holes of one of your boards, and then screw Tee fittings onto the bottoms of the 10-in. pipes." "Use 12-in. pipes with elbow fittings at the end for the horizontal supports that hold up the board. Then start screwing the close pipes - the little ones that are basically just threads - into a cap piece. These go through the board's front holes and into the other ends of the elbow fittings." "The rest is easy enough to figure out, even for humans. Look at the diagram from earlier to see where everything goes. Just remember to keep building down until you get to the feet." "Okay, now that you've built the bottom half of the shelves, you have to change gears and build from the middle to the top. Again, follow the diagram that clearly shows where everything goes. If you cut all the holes correctly, it should all line up. For the most part." "At this point, it should be looking like a real set of shelves. But as good as this design is, it's going to be a little wobbly." "That's why we have the two flanges coming off the back, so that we can secure the entire thing with drywall anchors and screws. It should be pretty safe from accidental bumps, so if these Masterpiece a-holes fall off, it's going to be because they were screwing around and doing something stupid." "The final step is mounting the lights. If you drilled tiny holes earlier like I told you, this should be really simple." "Make the cords go off in the direction away from where people will usually be standing when they look at the shelves. You can wrap the cords around the vertical pipes to hide them a little more." "Remember this ugly, old chest?" "We're going to keep the boxes for these Masterpiece Transformers in it, so if they ever get out of line again, we got some place to stick them until they learn some manners. Chances are you won't have a chest like this, so you can put whatever stupid thing you want under your shelves." "Now it's the moment of truth. Let's see how these Masterpiece Transformers like their new home..." "Everyone seems to be finding their place, with a few exceptions." "This doesn't really seem safe. I probably should have built a ladder or something, but- Wait a second..." "Hey buddy! You're not even a Transformer! I'm going to have to ask you to leave. NOW!!!" "So it looks like everyone is settled in nicely. They better appreciate all trouble I went to. Hopefully they stay put and stop causing problems for everyone else."