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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
13. Set up you workbench and start working.
14. Close the doors when you’re done and everything gets nicely hidden.
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.
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.
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.
Jules Yap started IKEAHackers.net in 2006 as a personal blog to showcase the most impressive IKEA hacks from all over the world. Since then, she has learned a lot more about power tools and DIY. Her site has helped thousands modify IKEA furniture with step-by-step tutorials, craft projects and home styling.