A Home Network, Security System, And A Hidden Room Behind A Bookcase

Ok, now this is something special. This is a home network and security system that would make just about anyone stop, and with jaw hanging agape, stare, impressed at the “several months of effort” it took [timekillerjay] to install their dream setup. Just. Wow.

Want a brief rundown of the diverse skill set needed to pull this off? Networking, home security, home automation, woodworking, running two thousand feet(!) of cat 6a cable, a fair hand at drywall work for the dozens upon dozens of patches, painting, staining, and — while not a skill, but is definitely necessary — an amazingly patient family.

Ten POE security cameras monitor the premises with audio recording, infrared, and motion detection capabilities. This is on top of magnetic sensors for five doors, and eleven windows that feed back to an ELK M1-Gold security system which effortlessly  coordinates with an Insteon ISY994i smart home hub; this allows for automatic events — such as turning on lights after dark when a door is opened — to occur as [timekillerjay]’s family moves about their home. The ELK also allows [timekillerjay] to control other things around the house — namely the sprinkler system — via relays. [timekillerjay] says he lost track of how many smart switches are scattered throughout his home, but there are definitely 39 network drops that service the premises.

All of the crucial components are hidden in his office, behind a custom bookshelf. Building it required a few clever tricks to disguise the bookshelf for the secret door that it is, as well as selecting components with attention to how much noise they generate — what’s the point of a hidden security system if it sounds like a bunch of industrial fans?

An uninterruptible power supply will keep the entire system running for about 45 minutes if there is a power outage, with the cameras recording and system logging everything all the while. Not trusting the entrance to his vault to something from Batman, he’s also fitted the bookshelf with a 600lb magnetic lock that engages when the system is armed and the door already closed. A second UPS will keep the door secured for 6+ hours if the house loses power. Needless to say, we think this house is well secured.

[Via /r/DIY]

Secret Book Light Switch

You enter a study and see a lightbulb hanging on the bookshelf. You try all the switches in the room — nothing is turning it on. Remembering you’re in [lonesoulsurfer]’s home, you realize that you’re going to have to start yanking on every book in sight.

While often associated with the likes of Bat-caves and other complicated hidden passageways, turning a shelved book into a secret switch isn’t complex in its own right. [lonesoulsurfer] is basing their build on one by B.Light Design revolving around a fan switch, some aluminium strips, a block terminal, fishing line, a hinge, and — of course — a book with a dust jacket and something to trigger.

Bend the aluminium into an angle bracket and drill a hole to attach the fan switch — ensuring the whole is small enough to fit behind and not distinguish the book you’re using. Cutting the hinge to the size of the book and screwing a strip of aluminium to it, both this lever and the fan switch’s bracket are then mounted on the shelf. Once a length of fishing twine is tethered to the lever and fitted through the book’s pages to the fan switch — ensuring the line is taut — sliding the dust jacket back onto the book completes the disguised switch!

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DIY Bookshelf is More Than Meets The Eye

It might surprise you, Dear Reader, that not every project featured on Hackaday needs to pulsate with LEDs, or update the world about its goings-on over Twitter. They don’t even, contrary to what you may have heard, need to have an Arduino inside. No, sometimes you can pull off a pretty neat hack with nothing more than some wood, a couple of tools, and a unique idea which repurposes something that would otherwise be in a landfill.

Such is the case with the latest project from [Keith Decent], which uses plywood and the spines of old books to create a secret compartment “bookshelf”. The concept is probably best described as a roll-top desk on its side, and while the action does appear a little stiff, it scores extra points for how easy it looks to replicate.

Using a router, [Keith] cuts a channel into the top and bottom sheets of plywood, which the “books” will eventually ride in. This channel goes around the entire perimeter of the shelf, and it’s important to make it as straight as possible so nothing binds up. To make sure things move through as smoothly as possible, some sandpaper is used to clean-up the inside edges.

The next step is to rip some books apart and salvage their spines. Used books can be purchased for next to nothing at flea markets, so even if you don’t have a home library filled with vintage tomes to eviscerate, it should be easy enough to get your hands on some if you want to build your own version. For sanity’s sake it would seem that books with the same size spines are ideal, so keep an eye out for old sets of encyclopedias and the like.

When the spines are removed from the books, they get glued to individual wooden slats. These slats then have holes drilled in the top and bottom, and standard wood screws driven in to act as “rollers”. Real rollers would undoubtedly make for smoother action, but you can’t beat his method if you’re trying to get it done cheaply and quickly.

The slats are then glued onto a piece of fabric, creating what is referred to as a tambour. The fabric backing links all the slats together and makes it so that pushing and pulling one slat will move them all together as one. The book spine tambour is then inserted in the routed channel, and the back panel of the shelf can be installed to lock it all together.

At this point the project is essentially done, but [Keith] does take it the extra mile by sealing all the book spines and doing some finish work on the shelf to make it look more like a real vintage piece of furniture instead of some scrap plywood screwed together.

If this exercise in woodworking has gotten you interested in the wonderful world of dead trees, you’re in luck. We’ve covered several woodworking projects from the hacker perspective, so you won’t be completely lost.

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Make a cardboard bookshelf in less than a day

Lucas came up with a real winner when upcycling cardboard to use as a bookshelf. It’s visually pleasing, can be built basically for the cost of glue and a mounting brackets, and you don’t have to feel bad if you decide to get rid of it later on.

What he saved in raw material cost he spent in labor. There are 23 different layers of cardboard that went into the project, not including the spacer squares between each piece. The vast majority of the time spent in the clip after the break shows a fast-time video of him cutting out the layers. It apparently took about eight hours of cutting, and we’d image he’s got a claw of a hand after all of that work.

This is hanging from a single L bracket positioned in the square opening with two nails to keep it level. We’d suggest including a better mounting technique in your design. If you have some ideas about this please let us know in the comments.

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Handbot, the shelf climbing bot

Handbot is one piece of a larger project called Swarmanoid. The aim of the swarmanoid is to replicate the functions we usually desire out of a humanoid bot with a whole swarm of specialized bots. That seems like a silly goal to us, considering the only requirement for a humanoid bot is that it be shaped like a human. That aside, we like their stuff. The handbot specifically is designed to retrieve books from bookshelves. It has specialized arms for climbing and grabbing the books with a batman-esque retractable rope launcher mounted on top for added speed and strength. The gait of the handbot really reminds us of how chameleons walk. We’re curious if this is a coincidence or not.

[via BotJunkie]