How to build a mobile electronics classroom

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In 2007 we were in a quandary about the number of  new classes that were being offered that pertained to working with electronics and hacking, and where these classes were going to be rostered. All the available spaces that were equiped to do this kind of stuff were already rostered for classes. The idea of an mobile electronics classroom became the solution to the problem. Since alot of the non electronics and kinetics classroom are computer labs only, it would be immensely expensive to build out these labs as electronics labs without the available funding. I was given $1500 dollars to come up with a solution, and at the end  I only spent a little over $1000 including stocking material.

Having an electronics mobile classroom gave a lot of flexibilty in having a electronics classroom in a non electronics type lab . It can also be carted off to different workshops or different buildings and spaces that would require any material or tools to do electronics.

Selecting a cabinet that was sufficiently large enough to be able to carry enough componentry and tools to run a class was a bit of a problem. I was able to find a AV security cabinet from Global Industrial Supplies that fit the bill. The cabinet was big enough but not too big where moving it would be problematic. The dimesions were a little deep, but I was able to modify it so one does not need to crawl into it to get parts.

A document holder on magnets was placed on the front so a schedule can be inserted  to dislpay when the cart was reserved.

I had to purchase bins  and other storage that would fit in the cart that would be the most efficent use of space and with the right dimensions. The red bins were from CH and small part cabinets came from Jameco.

I had to drill holes in the right and left side of the cabinet to custom place a shelf unit, since the original height of the shelf was too high. Since the cabinet was a bit too deep, I had to reduce the the depth of the cabinet using  2" aluminum tubes  and a sheet of plywood. The plywood in place would also allow me to mount the small part cabinets securely to the cart so the cabinets would not move from their positions.

So next problem was figuring how to prevent the bins from sliding out. I used the hook side of a velcro strip to prevent the bins from accidently coming out of their slots. The friction from the hooks worked really well. Just be sure when wrapping thing up at end of the day, all the bins are pushed in completely before moving the cart.

Bottom shelf was where hand tools were kept. Again I used the velcro hooks to adhere to the botttoms of the red bin to prevent them from sliding. when they were stacked on top of each other. On the bottom of the cart, a strip of the loop velcro was attached to the the width of the cart. This prevented the entire stack of bins from moving while the cart was in motion.

Where the other tools are placed on the top shelf, a strip of non skid stickers were attached.

 

Since this was an AV cart, it conveniently had a built in power strip so you can plug any equipemt to the cart. I used one of the outlets to power a LED lamp in the cart. The LED lamp was a book lamp that was attached to the underside of the cart. In case, the cart is too dark you can turn on the lamp to better find your parts.

The top of the cart can be used as a demo surface  or a staging area to set out some of your toolings.

A t the end, you have a mobile electronics classroom or studio that you can move anywhere with a little effort. All the part cabinets and bins would be intact, in place where ever the cart is moved to, barring going down a flight of stairs.

In use during classtime.

If you have any questions about where to get the parts to build this, please feel free to contact me at <annaATkineticsandelectronicsDOTcom>