The USS PANYL: An Aircraft Carrier Out of Expedits

Materials: IKEA Expedit

PARTS LIST Qty Cost Total
2 x 4 IKEA Expedit bookshelves 6 $89.99 $540
4″ industrial casters 10 $3.00 $30
8′ x 10′ x 5/8″ plywood, ripped in half 1 $20 $20
10 ‘x 4’ x 1/2 hardboard sheet 1 $20 $20
10′ x 4’x 1/4 opaque white acrylic sheet 1 $250 $250
1 3/4″ drywall screws 30 $0.10 $3
Assorted Simpson ties 16 $1.00 $16
Total $879

At the PANYL, Inc. studio in L.A., we wanted a big table with a large cutting surface on top and storage for tools and supplies underneath. We also needed it to be moveable since we regularly shift things around when building large installations or conducting photo sessions. Seeing as how we are a company that makes IKEA Hacking supplies (er, ok. Perhaps IKEA Tweaking supplies?) – we were glad for an opportunity to hack out a one-of a kind creation. We now lovingly refer to the result as the USS PANYL.

Here is what we did:

1) We assembled six 2×4 Expedit units and bolted them into two groups of three each, connected side-by-side-by-side by the Simpson ties.

2) To connect the Expedits to each other, we located the brackets on the upper insider corners of the shelf openings at either end, fastening each Expedit to the one next to it.

3) We then pushed the two inverted sub-assembles together, end to end, and attached the 10′ x 4′ x 3/8″ plywood sheet with drywall screws to what would be the bottom surface of the table, to which we would attach the casters. We made sure to drive the screws through the plywood and into the frames of the Expedit units, where the construction is densest.

4) We then installed the ten casters on the underside of the 10′ x 4″ assembly. Each half got a caster in each corner, and one in the center. We then carefully tipped the whole thing 90 degrees on it’s side (this took a few of us), and then tipped it 90 degrees again onto the wheels. It floats!!!!

5) The final step was to attached a 1/2″ hardboard sheet, topped by 4′ x 10″ x 1/4″ sheet of white plexiglass as a cutting surface. After laying the hardboard and the plexiglass onto the table we realized we didn’t need to permanently attach either to the table Both the hardboard and the plexiglass remained stationary under their combined weight.

Total assembly time took 6 hours – about a third to put together the Expedits, and the rest to assemble the large sub-parts and the final vessel. This table is not only gigantic, rock-solid. It can easily store hundreds of pounds of materials, and even with all that weight it rolls readily when pushed. However, even with the casters unlocked it does not drift when leaning on the cutting surface. The Pentagon could learn a thing or two from IKEA Hackers, right?

See more of the Expedit worktable.

~ Dan Goldman