Rain Gutters As Cable Management Tools

We're all about creative cable management here at Lifehacker, so we were instantly drawn to reader Seandavid010's rain-gutter cable management setup.

Granted, you can find other cord-wrangling solutions, but the rain gutter approach yields impressive results. Sean was nice enough to send in his entire step-by-step, so here goes (everything below was written by Sean):

I recently purchased a new table from IKEA to use as a computer desk. I liked it because it was really long and narrow (78"x23") and would work perfectly for my wife and I. The problem I ran into was that I didn't want a bunch of cords and cables hanging down behind the table. Having that would ruin the new 'clean' aesthetic I was going for.

So I decided that I needed to find some solution to this cable-clutter problem. I looked at some of the commercial solutions available, but they all either seemed rather expensive, or they didn't really fit my needs very well. I had remembered reading somewhere about somebody using ordinary vinyl rain gutters in some way (I think they used bungee cords to suspend them from the underside of the table) but I couldn't really find anything to help me out, so I decided to try to solve it myself.

So I went out and purchased a 10 foot length of vinyl rain gutter and cut it to size. I also bought two end caps and four hangars (used to nail the gutter to the side of your house) and some fasteners. I figured I'd drill up into the bottom of the table, and drive in the lag screws. Then I'd attach them to the threaded hooks with joiner nuts, and hang the rain gutters from those. Easy. Job one, however, was to cut a notch in the gutter so it would fit around the middle leg of the table. Job two was to drill a hole in the hangars to attach the hooks. I also fitted the holes with rubber grommets to cut down on any excess noise they might produce.

After that, it was just a simple matter of doing a dry-fit:

Using the hangars to suspend the length of gutter turned out to be a good idea, since they can slide back and forth, meaning fitting it together was really easy.

Here's my workspace before I began the project. It's not really terrible, but it just all felt really pieced together. A flimsy computer desk and a plastic folding table shoved together with all those cables hanging down there. Besides not looking great, it was actually a pain to clean down there, and dust tended to accumulate.

And here's the after shot:

Notice: no cables hanging down. Everything - my power strips, wireless router, cable modem, USB cables and chargers for two MacBooks is all tucked away nice and clean underneath. The best part is that you can't even see it unless you're looking for it.

Nice and tidy. The table is also really great. It came unfinished, and I liked the colour and texture so much that I just had a big piece of glass cut to go on top. The only problem is that now my mouse won't work anymore. Any good tips on making my own (visually appealing) mousepad? I'd appreciate it.

Anyways, the total cost for the project came in at just over $US30 and only took about two hours to complete.

Vinyl Rain Gutter Cable Management [Flickr]


Comments

    Nice one! RE: Mouse Pad - http://www.lifehacker.com.au/2009/06/use-automotive-window-tint-to-make-a-glass-desk-mouse-friendly/

    hows about that for Tuesday morning pre-coffee memory, huh?

      HOLY MARY MOTHER OF GOD! LH posted the article about the window tinting on the 12th, but here the same desk build guy is asking how to do it?
      Seriously have a look at the link
      http://www.lifehacker.com.au/2009/06/use-automotive-window-tint-to-make-a-glass-desk-mouse-friendly/
      and tell me that wasnt posted from the future....

    Nice concept! How fast is it to add or remove one cable?

    Idea for creating a visually appealing mousepad with glass...
    Buy at your local hardware shop a can of sprayable window fogger. It usually is in with the spray paint and comes in a matte or glossy finish. Usually its used to frost windows for winter-esk shops. Take the underside of the glass and tape a square, or whatever design you want with painters tape. Then spray the coating on the glass area. Usually two coats will do.
    This will provide you with a clean edge mousepad that will never move on you!
    Also, if you ever want to get rid of the mousepad, you can take paint thinner, a rag & a paint scraper to the glass. It will come off with ease!

    That rain gutter works a treat! Which hardware store did you buy the rain gutter in? I cant seem to find a store that stocks vinyl/pvc rain gutters. Thanks

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