Electronics Workbench, A fully equipped & concealed lab

PAX workbench

Transforming a PAX wardrobe into a concealable, fully equipped electronics workbench.

I am passionate about electronics, fixing and repairing things. However I live in an apartment and don’t have a dedicated room for this.

At first I was using my desk, but as projects never go as planned an remain on the bench for several days it began interfering with my regular office activities.

I then started looking for an alternative and an idea of how to hide my mess from visitors and myself when not working on any projects. As I did not find anything suitable and PAX wardrobes are really easy to come by on the second-hand market I started this project.

IKEA items used: 

1x PAX Wardrobe – 100 x 58 x 236cm

2 x PAX Doors of your choice

5 x KOMPLEMENT Shelf – 100 x 58cm

1x KOMPLEMENT Shelf – 100 x 35cm

1x KOMPLEMENT Drawer – 100 x 35 (2 in the original design, but one broke)
I recommend getting hold of the older versions (30 years back or so) as they are of much better quality than the current ones.

Other materials and tools: 

1 Slide in desk tray -> Make sure to buy good quality rails and sturdy wood!

Many steel braces

16x4mm  or 16×3,5mm screws

2m Aluminium LED Profiles

2m 24V LED Stripes

24V / 100W Transformer

Switchable Power Strip with USB chargers

Magnetic tracks

Cable ducts for the LED wiring

PVC piping (For the “cable honey-comb”)

Storage bins according to your needs

How to set up an electronics workbench in an IKEA PAX closet: 

1. Set up the PAX Wardrobe according to the instructions, but stop before inserting the rear wall.

2. Use one of the KOMPLEMENT shelves (100 x 58)  as a “double back wall” and install it vertically between the two sides of the wardrobe with the metal braces (I used 3 on either side) , about 5 to 10 cm from the back.

brackets

As the PAX back is not suitable for bearing any load, this will allow you to fix tools and other things later on.

The space between this shelf and the back can also be used to conceal the wiring and access cables.

Finally it also contributes to the stability.

3. Install one KOMPLEMENT shelf and install horizontally, slightly above your desired working height.

shelving

Attach it to both sides of the wardrobe with metal braces (I used 3 on either side again)
Otherwise it will not withstand the forces when working on the extended surface.

Adding the work surface

4. Install the drawer style desk underneath the horizontal shelf so that it sits at a suitable height for your purposes.

5. Place the other KOMPLEMENT items as desired. I found it beneficial to place one narrow shelf above the working area and the full width ones below and at the top with the advantage of allowing to install 2m of LED stripes. One at 35cm depth, the other all the way at the front. This provides excellent lighting the entire working area. 

electronics workbench in an IKEA PAX closet

6. Install the LED profiles, LED stripes, LED transformer, cable ducts and wiring.

7. Install, the power strip.

8. Then, install the back of the wardrobe.

9. Finally, install the doors.

10. Install magnetic tracks for holding tools as desired.

magnetic bar for tools

11. Install the storage bins as needs. In my case I am using many small drawers for electronic components

12. To organize my cables and test leads I built a “honey-comb” structure from cut to length PVC pipes and super glue. I am loving it as it gives me quick access to all cables and test leads and a space to store them neatly after use.

cable organizer

13. Set up you workbench and start working.

electronics workbench in an IKEA PAX closet

14. Close the doors when you’re done and everything gets nicely hidden.

electronics workbench in an IKEA PAX closet
How long and how much did it cost?

A few hours of work

About 200€ for the material (2nd hand PAX with some interior + some new interior + drawer, braces, screws, lights)

What do you like most about the hack?

It is exactly what I was looking for.

It makes my repair works so much easier as everything now has a place.

electronics workbench in an IKEA PAX closet
What was the hardest part about this hack?

Nothing much. Maybe the disappointment in the declining quality of IKEA Products. The old shelves and drawers are much stronger than the new ones.

electronics workbench in an IKEA PAX closet
What to pay special attention to?

Make sure to use enough braces to provide sufficient stability.

Also don’t forget to bolt the wardrobe to the wall, so it doesn’t come tumbling down on you when you load the desk or lean on it.

Looking back, would you have done it differently?

Places the back shelf further from the wall to have more space towards the back.

Added a cut-out in the back shelf for connectors and voltage regulators.

People who have seen my previous set-up love it, and so do I.

~ by !BATTA!