Under stage big drawer

Proposal Type:

Frank Hall for the Main Space

The plan is to build a big drawer under the Stage that can take a lot of big infrastructure items, thereby freeing up the space they occupy currently and making these items more accessible. The draw would be 1.2m wide, 4m long and roughly 40cm high. It would slide along the floor on 3 packs of transfer bearings:

£10.90 x 3 = £32.70

It would be made from 3 sheets of 18mm plywood. Touch Wood often have reclaimed 8x4 sheets of ply at a fraction of the price of mainstream builders merchants - the price will vary slightly depending on the grade and condition but is expected to be between £20-35 per board.

A pack of mending plates will be used to join the wood together, routered flush to preserve the flatness:

Pack of 10 for £1.99

A wide handle will be made using offcuts in Woody. When pulling on the handle, the load will be directed along the length of the sides of the drawer.

A good time to build and install the drawer would be at the next Hack-the-space day. The space under the stage will need to be cleared out, sorted and then can potentially go straight into the drawer.

The location is as follows. This alcove can have other installations/equipment present (there was talk of potentially putting 3D printers here) so long as the bottom 45cm from ground level up was left clear.

Funding type:
Fully funded by Hackspace

Micro Proposal <£50 - 2 Board Members and 2 Members
Small Proposal < £150 - 2 Board Members and 5 Members
Medium Proposal < £500 - Majority of Board Members and 10 general members
Large Proposal > £500 - consult the board before gathering membership support, a strict board majority must be achieved. Large proposals can only be approved at members meetings with majority support from the members present. Proxy votes can be used.

Supporting Board Members:
x Frank

Supporting Members: (delete number as appropriate)

I would ask this put on hold until the new laser cutter is up and running, as there is a chance it could go in that area. If so we wouldn’t have the clearance given the original design for the laser table. Maybe some modifications could be made to make it clear the drawer?

Also we have a VA team now and this could potentially impinge on any other plans they have for that area. @rjackson just FYI.



Realistically this could be much less than £150 but as I understand it Frank’s putting in max cost for safety.

I would like to add that I think maybe having the drawer front attached with toggle latches might make it easier to remove some items.

Another possibility I was thinking is a snake of several compartments joined with toggle latches that you could split apart, so it takes the whole space, but requires less clearance and compartments can be removed one at a time (obvious tradeoff being shorter maximum stored length).

Yes that’s correct Robert, thanks for clarifying.

@harvy4002, I’m not sure that the under-stage access should ever be blocked off by any projects that VA or any other groups have in mind. There’s a fair bit of infrastructure items under the stage and simply blocking access shouldn’t be an option.

I think the area you’ve highlighted on the CAD drawing may be a little more awkward than imagined. But there’s no reason this also wouldn’t fit parallel to the VA ramp right?

18mm ply is also quite heavy duty for something supported on 30 bearings. It also weighs about 40kg a sheet, so you could already be looking at 120-160kg unloaded weight, which sliding around an uneven floor on little bearings might be more of a struggle to pull out than you imagine. Could i suggest 9 or 12mm plywood, perhaps with steel angle brackets to fix it together if you were thinking 18mm to make the connections easier? Maybe using castors instead of bearings as well?

However I like it in theory. Lots of deep storage space back there. Who knows what’s under the VA stage! +1 from me.

1 Like

Hi Joe,

Thanks for all your comments. I’ve spent a fair bit of time under the stage assessing what might fit where. There are a lot of posts as shown below, which means that lots of long but not as wide drawers are possible, but they couldn’t be wide enough to accept those metal square mesh things that are propped up against the SnackSpace wall. In principle, even with the big orange drawer, there would be enough space for 2 or 3 of the yellow drawers as I’ve drawn them, and an additional orange drawer (though this one couldn’t be as wide and there are more issues actually opening it all the way).

The weight is a fair concern but I think until we try it, it’ll be hard to know for sure whether it’ll be too hard to move due to the uneven floor. It could be that additional bearings solve the issue or perhaps the drawer can’t be quite as large. The weight saving by going to 9mm ply for instance would halve the empty weight but compared to the potential loaded weight is only going to be a small saving. Versus the added rigidity, again, it’s hard to say which might be better.

If it really doesn’t work as intended, then we can still use these raw materials to make smaller drawers.

It looks like those bearings have a 5kg limit, so even with 30 they could only support 150kg — unless I’m missing something? I think the general idea is fine, but you’d need really, really heavy duty castors to support such a huge object.

If Joe reckons 120kg unloaded, and Frank reckons that’s a fraction of the unloaded weight, are we talking about moving half a tonne of stuff? 300kg? I don’t think those tiny bearings would be enough.

I’m thinking like 8 or 12 castors from this low-level range? Low Level Castors in Sets|Castors

Thanks Mike. And I’m really glad you guys are getting me to look at this again. The next size up of the transfer bearings would in theory cover the weight side of things but I’ve since found out that they’re supposed to be used ‘ball up’. Some have been designed so they can be used ‘ball down’ but it’s a minefield and usually their load rating is usually halved.

Like I say, thanks for getting me to look at this again. The main reason I liked the looks of the transfer bearings is because they wasted so little of the available height but I can see they’re not suitable in this case.

What do we think of these instead? 28mm height, linear (I think having no swivel is actually a good thing), 20kg load per wheel so 2 or 3 packs should do.


It might be a rubbish idea but if you wanted to keep the height, maybe an outrigger could work?

Screwing a batten into the side of the ply on each side nd then attaching the castors to that instead?

Thanks! I don’t think this’ll be a problem. We’ll be moving things around on-stage at some point in the future, but I don’t think that will be affected or affect any under-stage work.