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kcrossley2 03-02-2008 06:58 AM

Holes in kitchen cabinet?
I'm using two 15" Merillat kitchen cabinets to create a desk that will go in our kitchen. The cabinets are approximately 15" wide x 29" high x 24" deep. The cabinets have a solid wood frame and doors. The sides and back are 3/8" particleboard. The cabinets will be positioned approximately 30" apart. The left cabinet is where our HP mini-tower computer will go.

The solid granite desktop is 24" deep x 60" wide and will weight about 150 lbs.

To provide proper ventillation, and to make sure the PC stays cool, I need to drill two 120mm (appx. 4.5") holes so I can install cooling fans. I was planning on installing the intake fan low on the right side of the cabinet and the exhaust fan high on the left side.

Do you think this will work? I'm concerned about comprimising the structural intergrity of the cabinet, especially since it has a heavy granite top.


IREnergy 03-02-2008 07:49 AM

Hole for ventilation
As far as the hole is concerned, think about an arched bridge. There is no way that the evenly distributed weight of your countertop, including a load on it, will compromise the structural integrety of that cabinet. (I'm talking about a 2.5 inch hole)

You know they have liquid cooling setups for PC's? My idea for ventilation would follow yours with an inline duct fan (a standard PC cooling fan may move enough air, I don't know) :) connected to some type of collector box near the rear of your PC. The cabinet should be "leaky" enough to allow the front of the PC box to draw fresh air through.

IREnergy 03-02-2008 07:51 AM

Sorry I just noticed that you said 4.5 inch. I think it wouln't be a problem even with an 8 inch hole, especially if it was centered.

kcrossley2 03-02-2008 08:01 AM

So you think one centered low and one centered high on the opposite side should be okay?

IREnergy 03-02-2008 08:16 AM

Cabinet load
3/8 particlboard is pretty cheap. If you are worried, build a mock cabinet and anchor it to a solid stucture as you are going to mount yours to the wall. With your vent :thumbsup: holes in place, lets see how many evenly distributed tons it takes to cause it to fail!

Ron6519 03-02-2008 08:26 AM

It's easy to reinforce the side the holes will be cut in. Just cut a piece of 1/4" or 3/8" ply and install it in the inside of the cabinet. Finish it to match the cabinet interior.

terri_and_jj 03-02-2008 09:02 AM

two fans is probably WAY more than you need. most computer desks with tower storage have no fans at all, just vent holes. i'd think vent holes on one side and an exhaust fan on the other would provide all the cooling you'd need . i also believe a smaller fan would be fine as well. if it were me, i'd be more concerned with putting some sort of filter on the intake side than a fan. the last thing you want is to pull dust in from the outside. I would also reverse your plan and put the exhaust fan on the right side, so it exhausts under the desk. My reasoning for this is spaces like this are harder to keep clean, and dust has a tendancy to accumulate in these area, so it would be better to exhaust into this space, rather than pull dust filled air from under here. plus it will help keep the kids toes warm while they visit the facebook and myspace!

If the total weight of the granite is 150 pounds i think you'll be fine with your plan as is, but if you are at all worried I agree with others who suggested to simply reinforce the cabinet. It would cost next to nothing to simply double up the side walls, or even a couple pieces of 2x4 on the inside going top to bottom will give you all the support you need.

kcrossley2 03-02-2008 09:08 AM

Sounds good. BTW, the reason for the 120mm fan is because it's a LOT quieter than an 80mm.

terri_and_jj 03-02-2008 09:36 AM

but is one 80mm fan about the same noise level as TWO 120mm fans? this is not like a bathroom, where you are trying to get moisture (and odors) out fast. With this application you just want to keep air moving. I'd go with a slot, hole, or holes high on the left side, and a small fan set to exhaust low on the right side ( under the desk)

terri_and_jj 03-02-2008 09:59 AM

A final thought on this project: i assume you have talked to your granite guy already, but I'll mention it just in case.

what are you doing to support the granite in that 30" span between the cabinets? I assume you will run a wood support along the back wall, but you may need to address the front edge. if you haven't talked to whoever is supplying the granite you should. they may recommend you let them pin the granite here. what this means is they will basically put a slot in the underside of the granite and epoxy in a piece of reinforment, usually threaded rod, to help give the granite structual support for larger unsupported spans. you may not need this for 30", but i'd double check. i'd be more worried about this than the holes in the cabinets.

End Grain 03-02-2008 10:12 AM

KCrossley2, what may be a very stupid question here on my part - and I apologize in advance - but I'll ask it anyway. Why not go with a laptop computer instead? Seems to me that you're chopping up a cabinet and installing fans to accomodate an HP mini-tower that will have to be completely removed out of the cabinet for service anyway plus you have to deal with routing cables and such, etc., etc. To use the CD/DVD drives, the door has to been opened anyway.

I don't know your budget or your situation but laptop prices have dropped dramatically and the screens are huge compared to what once was. The whole footprint can't be bigger than the screen you use now plus the keyboard. Just a thought.

troubleseeker 03-02-2008 07:58 PM


Originally Posted by Ron6519 (Post 103477)
It's easy to reinforce the side the holes will be cut in. Just cut a piece of 1/4" or 3/8" ply and install it in the inside of the cabinet. Finish it to match the cabinet interior.

Doable, but why.:wink: To all who are posting to this question, you don't honestly have any real thoughts that a 150lb, or 450 lb for that matter,top is going to crumble the sides of a cabinet just because someone drills a couple of 4.5" holes in it, do you.

As for two cooling fans, that is again overkill, IMO. If really worried, one fan at the top to exhaust air, and and inlet near the bottom will suffice. If you drill a few holes through the botom of the cabinet, the fan will draw in fresh air throught the gap above the front toe kick, and you could eliminate the highly visible lower hole in the side. We are talking one pc here, not a tower full of servers,

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