Man Cave 2.0

Recently I’ve read a few posts about other peoples working environments, office setups, man caves or work benches.  I’ve also had a couple of people ask about mine, since I tweeted about the redecoration and overhaul of my old “spare room” as it transformed in to “Man Cave 2.0”.  I had intended to write it up when it was finished anyway, although, even now, 9 months later, it is still not finished, I am begining to realise that it will never actually be finished but will evolve and morph over time.


So, this is a look at the overall design and some of the finer detail in to my Man Cave 2.0 as it stands in August 2014


So, obviously the PC is at the heart of things in here.  Well, actually, the PC itself is tucked right away in the furthest corner under the desk as I hardly ever touch it.  Instead, though, I have the power switch mounted just below the monitor screen shelf and have a selection of USB ports wired in to convenient locations.IMG_20140815_204630

Under the monitor shelf is some LED lighting – nothing too fancy, just white, along with an 8-way extension socket.  I’ve not filled them all up simutaneously just yet… but I’m sure I will do one day!  Under the desk itself is the same set up of LEDs and power sockets.


Above the shelf is the cable modem, router, external hard drive, speakers.  That corner of the desk is just far enough out of reach that I wouldn’t want to use it for anything I need to get to regularly, but just close enough to reset a router or plug in a new cable on the occasions I need to.


The desk itself is HUGE!  2.4m by 1.2m at its widest, although most of it is 800mm deep due to the shaped cut-out that was flipped over to make the shelf.  The key to it though is versatility.  The centre section is multi-use, depending if I just need space to spread out, or add an Ikea breadboard for soldering or messy stuff, or add a cutting mat for more delicate things.


No good workbench is without a power supply.  This one is a converted ATX PSU for 3v3, 5v, 12v, -12v, and USB power output too.  Thanks to re-innovation for that.


Storage solutions help me fill this small room with just soooo much crap.  Of course, Really Useful Boxes help with this storage!


A couple of Ikea units, a shelf, and what appears to be randomly placed drawers, boxes, cupboards and display booths are all within handy reach behind me.  I’ve tried to keep similar things together and labelled, and so far that seems to be working well.  Can you see the little HP Micro Server lurking there?


This is where new electronic projects are born.  And old ones go to die.  And unfinished ones go to sleep.    There’s a good selection of components, PCBs, prototyping stuff


Every couple of years I need to update my Cisco certifications, and over the years I have managed to get myself quite a reasonable collection of hardware for building my own labs.  Before the renovation I was limited to only a few devices per lab.


The old Toshiba Satellite laptop is about 15 years old, but still great for connecting in to the Cisco colsole ports and running a few basic applications.  It is also the only machine I still have with a parallel port, so it’s still needed for my eprom programmer.  I have a 12U floor standing rack on casters which holds all the heavier Cisco equipment…


And another 14U of rack framework built in to two support legs.  When the wiring is complete there will be a 24 port patch panel in each one as well as one under the monitors so I will be able to connect anything to anything.  It will also come in handy for keeping me warm in winter :-)


Oh, and no Man Cave would be complete without a Leggy Lampshade for providing optimal lighting just where it’s required!

For bigger, more mechinical stuff, there is still my garage, and that might feature in a blog post at a later date.  Surfice to say, there’s most of the tools I need in there, but for anything else, Nottingham Hackspace is open 24/7!