Cement Shelves Double As USB Hub

Some of us are able to get by in life with somewhere between 0 and 1 USB ports. We typically refer to these people as “Mac users”. For the rest of us, too much is never enough, and we find ourselves seeking out expansion cards and hubs and all manner of perverse adapters and dongles. [JackmanWorks] was a man who found himself in need of more connectivity, so he built this beautiful shelf with an integrated 12-port hub.

Material choice is key here, with this build looking resplendent in mahogany and cement. As the core of the build, the USB hub is first disassembled and sealed up to prevent damage from the cement. Hot glue is used to protect the PCB, while electrical tape helps cover the individual ports. The cement is then poured into a form which creates the overarching structure for the shelf, with the USB hub being cast in place. With the cement cured, mahogany boards are then cut and waxed, before installation into the structure. These form the individual shelves which hold phones, hard drives and other USB accessories.

The shelf was designed so that the entire structure is supported through the bottom shelf, which then sits on top of the desktop computer case. It’s an attractive piece, and the weight of the cement construction makes it pleasantly stable in use. It’s rare, but we do occasionally see shelf hacks around these parts. Video after the break.


13 thoughts on “Cement Shelves Double As USB Hub

  1. That is pretty clever.

    So tangentially related, but HAD may have an answer: I’ve been using a USB C hub with my computer and have been noticing keys on my keyboard getting stuck a lot. After replacing the keyboard, it still happens – Windows 10 FYI.

    Any input on how to fix this? I’ve tried changing around delay settings, but this doesn’t seem to fix it (or is pretty annoying in itself I should say.

  2. I really thought that concrete retained moisture for a very long time. Curing and drying are 2 different things.
    How will the PCB behave with the water trapped inside by the applied sealant?

    1. “My USB hub was technically made from mortar (cement/sand), but I gotta hit that highly desired SEO. Other materials used was a 12 port USB hub (that I turned into 11), reclaimed mahogany for the shelves, and finished with 2-part epoxy. The shelves were finished with paste wax.”

      from the video description

    2. From my experience… cement is the raw material or some call the not set or cured mix cement also and concrete is the finished product set or cured.

      Textured molds can be made from cheap silicone and I tried this a few months ago for this years steps, sidewalk and border projects. Now the weather is warming up outside… I’m going to have to start working on the decorative concrete projects with thoughts of maybe using this articles design for remote station system builds. https://www.facebook.com/james.analytic/posts/2803187239743060

      1. It has nothing to do with cured/set/not-set/whatever (although many people do improperly mix the terms.)

        Cement is the binder. It’s in the form of a powder (like plaster of paris is before mixing. But Portland cement, the most commonly used cement in contruction, IS a different chemical makeup than plaster of paris.) You CAN use cement all by itself but cured cement is actually fairly weak, strength-wise, and also fairly inefficient, cost-wise. But when needed for very thin layers, such as for tile work where you have extremely narrow grout lines (such as for marble tile), it can be used by itself. So you’ll see “sanded grout” and “unsanded grout” at your local home-improvement store.

        Mortar is a mix of cement and sand. The sand acts as filler and also gives it more strength but reduces the min thickness at which it can be used (sanded grout can’t easily be used for any grout gaps smaller than 1/8″.)

        Concrete is a mix of cement and rock/gravel (and usually with some sand as well.) The rock also acts as filler and gives it even more strength than sand alone. But again, you have minimum thicknesses. Generally you want the thickness to be at least 2-3 times the largest size of the aggregate/gravel.

        So the cement is really just a glue holding a bunch of small rocks into the form of a large rock and, as with most glues, the less of the glue needed to fill in the gaps, the stronger the overall structure can be as far as shear strength (sideways forces) goes, especially when the filler or items being glued together have some amount of mechanical strength apart from the glue itself (eg, if you take two relatively flat but rough stones and try to slide them across each other, they have a certain amount of friction. As they slide across each other, they may actually also spread apart or come together some as the high spots on one slip in and out of the low spots on the other. The harder you press them together, the harder it is to slide one side to side. If you glue them together, then you have the glue PLUS that friction/interlocking strength added together. as the glue/binder not only adds to the sideways resistance but also helps prevent them from pulling apart from each other.)

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