Hansrainer again 🙂
No matter if you are a competition painter, an army painter for wargames or painting the figures of your board games, we all like to keep our results in a place were we can see them and show them to friends, visitors and family (well, many of us do 🙂 ).
Follow me in this article to build the ultimate miniature showcase with me:
Over the years, Detolf, a full glass showcase made by the swedish company Ikea has become the staple of miniature collectors it seems. Its a full glass case with three floors, and a lot of easy hacks to add more. However, while the concept makes the best use of ambient light, adding sufficient lighting is a challenge, especially without displaying a lot of wiring and cabling as well. There are some solutions to run current through the metal shelving of the showcase, but in a household with little children, thats an unacceptable safety hazard.
I ended up with a similar construction as many other hobbyists, adding additional shelves the detolf and rigging some rather week lighting to it. The construction was functional, but due to weird setup, I ended up rarely using the illumination and rarely looking at the showcase, only turning it on every now and then, if someone interested in the hobby showed up at my place. And with this treatment, my works were somehow in our living room but rather in a way like a cabinet with glasses and plates than as a proud exhibit of my dabbling in the fine arts.
There are ways to improve the Detolf’s though:
How to dust proof your Detolf Ikea Cabinet
Raffa explains a good way to make your cabinet dust proof!
How to pimp your Detolf Cabinet
Raffa explains the pimping of his cabinets.
… but my Idea was even bigger!
Late last year, I realized how sad I was whenever I put a new piece in there, only to be stored and more or less forgotten. I put some thought to it and analyzed what most annoyed me and how to solve it:
1. I rarely used the illumination because it was a fuss to turn it on in the evenings and off when I went to bed.
The construction of the IKEA parts was unsurprisingly quite simple. There were two major changes I made in timing to make the installation of the LEDs easier: I didnt install the doors of the cabinets and I cut the upper corners of the back walls, to leave room for the cables/strips to be threaded through.
The likely most annoying part was cutting the delta profiles with a compound saw at 45° angles to allow for a seemless installation of the profiles.
Take some time to think the cuts and settings of the saw through, otherwise you’ll likely ending up throwing away quite some profile with wrongly cut corners… Also, when using powertools: Always wear eye protection and make sure your pieces are secured properly. We created a backstop jig to make sure all pieces were of the same length and the cuts in the right places. If you are inexperienced, ask a friend or family member who does. With our second cut we ended up shooting a piece of aluminum shrapnel across the workshop…
Also: Measure twice – cut once. When you cut to miter, make sure you take the correct length of the outsides into account. Otherwise you end up throwing away the pieces that were cut to short.
Back at the appartment, I did a dry fit of all parts (profile and strips) into the cabinets.
Pro Tip: Turn the whole thing upside down, its a lot easier to mount the profiles that way instead of working upside down.
I decided to glue the profiles in place using a double sided tape, mostly because its easy and looks neat and is a lot less work than drilling holes and fidgeting around screwing them fast. The profiles and LED strips are practically weightless and the construction bears no mechanical strain, so using tape is more than sufficient. Before glueing the profiles in, I removed the plastic diffusors ready to be put back in after the strips were installed.
After the profiles were in place, I put the LED-strips in, fed the cables out, installed the back walls and finished the installation of the inserts. After an initial power- and programming check, I turned the whole showcase back into the ending position – upside-up so to say. After the final tests, I removed the protective foíl from the diffusors, clicked the diffusors in place and started mounting the doors.
Now that the showcase was basically finished, the manufacturer offers an app on iOS and Android that makes setting up programs for the lighting pretty easy. Its also compatible with some smarthome standards like zigbee. The final tweek was the addition of some simple acrylic step counter stands to each cabinet. I went with simple transparent models (300 mm wide, 200 high, 200 deep with 3 steps), easily obtainable on amazon for about 12€ apiece. These allow me to present the pieces much better than just havin all pieces on one level.
For now, I am pretty happy with the result, after nearly 6 weeks I still end up looking at the items in my showcase a few times a week and the whole thing is more present in our daily life. I might end up putting a white floor into the cabinets, but other than that, this thing fulfills all my display needs. Thank you for following me on the travel for my perfect showcase.
If you want to build this or something similar yourselves – here is a list of the materials I used:
1 x Ikea Kallax White Stained Oak effect (4×3)
1 x Ikea Kallax White (3 x 1)
9 x Ikea Kallax Insert with Glass Door
6 x Ikea Kallax Insert with Door (White Stained oak effekt)
5 x 2 DISPLAY4TOP Acrylic 3 Step Counter Display Stand Retail Riser Polish Base 200 * 300 * 200 * 2
1 x Paulmann MaxLED Tunable White 10m Basisset (70565) ca. 130€ (Comes with 10m Strip, Bluetooth Controller und Power Adapter)
5 x 2 m Paulmann Delta Profile
4 x Paulman MaxLED Universal Connectors (for connecting the cut 1 m pieces of LED strips)
2 x Paulmann MaxLED Cable 1m
1 Roll of double sided tape
cordless screwdriver (makes setting up the shelves easier)
miter or compound saw