ZaneStorage Complete unit no violins.png
FA info icon.svg Angle down icon.svg Project data
Authors Erik Kentfield
Status Deployed
Made Yes
Replicated No
Cost USD 758.87
OKH Manifest Download

Abstract[edit | edit source]

Through the Engineering 215 class at Cal Poly Humboldt, Team Strange was given the opportunity to design and assemble a movable instrument storage compartment for the music department at Zane Middle School. Current storage at Zane is not big enough creating unstable storage for the instruments. The team utilized and modified an industrial shelving unit from U-Line. Team Strange added a fourth shelf, adjusted the shelves according to instrument size, and finished both sides of the particleboard shelving with polyurethane. The team attached half-inch sheets of CDX plywood as side panels and decorated them with various upcycled materials to form a violin. These side panels were added to prevent instruments from falling off the unit. The unit was also modified with magic sliders that make moving it simple and easy. The final design completely solved the client's problem of poor instrument storage. There was enough space for all the necessary violins and violas as well as additional cellos.

Background[edit | edit source]

The students of Engineering 215 at Cal Poly Humboldt were given an opportunity, during the spring semester of 2017, to design a project requested by the different staff of Zane Middle School. Team Strange chose to design and assemble a movable instrument storage compartment requested by Mr. Bruce McCay, the music teacher at Zane. The current storage system at Zane is not big enough to hold all of the necessary instruments and is not deep enough to prevent the instruments from hanging over the edge.

Problem Statement and Criteria[edit | edit source]

Current instrument storage at Zane is too small and cannot comfortably fit all the necessary instruments. Team Strange solved this problem using a list of criteria developed for this project. Each criterion was weighted against each other depending on how important each one was for the given circumstance.

Table 1: Weighted Criteria
Criteria Importance Constraint
Safety 10.0 Safety refers to the protection of the instruments being stored and the students in the classroom without breaking any fire codes.
Stability 10.0 Stability refers to a structurally sound design and a design that supports all instruments, preventing them from falling over.
Accessibility 8.0 Accessibility is providing easy access for middle school students to access their instruments.
Cost of Materials 8.0 Cost of materials refers to the importance of not exceeding the $400 budget unless otherwise funded.
Storage Space 7.5 Storage space is the total number of instruments the storage compartment can hold.
Aesthetics 7.5 Aesthetics refers to the final design being pleasing to the eye and having some musical aspect incorporated.
Inspirational 7.5 Inspirational refers to the inspiration created by the storage compartment for non-musical students to join the music program.
Durability 7.0 Durability refers to the shelves withstanding scraping, chipping, and breaking from the bottom of the instrument cases.
Sustainability 5.0 Sustainability refers to the design using upcycled materials.
Movability 4.0 Movability refers to the client's capability to move the instrument storage compartment around the room.

Description of Final Project[edit | edit source]

The final design of this project is a modified 8' x 3' x 6' (W x D x H) U-Line storage unit with four shelves. The team came up with eight various design solutions for a new storage compartment, but decided to modify an industrial storage unit from U-Line. The four shelves were spaced according to the size of the instruments being stored. At the last minute, Mr. McCay asked the team to make the bottom shelf accommodate the size of cellos. For that reason, between the bottom shelf and the second shelf there is 1.63 ft. of space (13 empty holes). Between the second and third shelf there is 1.5 ft. of space (12 empty holes). Between the third and top shelf there is 1.25 ft. of space (10 empty holes). The top shelf has 0.63 ft. of space (5 empty holes). The team finished the particleboard shelving of the U-Line unit with one layer of triple-ply polyurethane. Side panels of 0.5 inch CDX plywood were retrofit onto the unit to prevent the instruments from falling off the sides. The side panels are 3' x 6' (W x H) and were decorated with various upcycled material to form the shape of a violin and add an inspirational element to the unit. The team used old records, bottle caps, brass air vents, license plates, and recycled wood. Mr. McCay wanted the ability to move the unit around the room for remodeling purposes. The unit was modified with magic sliders on each base corner in order to make is easily movable. Magic sliders are advertised to move 3200 lbs. on any surface.

Costs[edit | edit source]

The following are representations of design hours and material costs needed for the movable instrument storage compartment project.

Figure 3: Total design hours for the movable instrument storage compartment.
Table 2: Material Cost
Quantity Material Source Cost ($) Total ($)
1 Wide Span Storage Rack 268.00 268.00
1 Shipping 154.35 154.35
1 Additional Shelf 93.00 93.00
2 1/2" CDX Plywood Pierson Building Center 24.19 48.38
1 Tax Sales Tax 46.15 46.15
2 Polyurethane Ace Hardware 15.99 31.98
1 Old Records & Various Bits of Metal Scrap Humboldt 25.50 25.50
1 Wood Delivery Pierson Building Center 20.00 20.00
3 Screws Ace Hardware 4.89 14.67
1 Magic Sliders 10.94 10.94
1 Large Bolts Ace Hardware 9.99 9.99
1 Small Bolts Ace Hardware 9.29 9.29
1 Nuts Ace Hardware 7.49 7.49
4 Paint Brush Ace Hardware 1.79 7.16
1 Spray Paint Ace Hardware 6.99 6.99
2 Sanding Block Ace Hardware 2.49 4.98
Total Cost $758.87

Testing Results[edit | edit source]

The movable instrument storage compartment is safe, stable, easily accessible, able to hold all of the required violins and violas with space for additional cellos, aesthetically pleasing, durable, and easily movable. Team Strange had to exceed the original budget, but found funding from the booster club for the music department at Zane. The team hopes the movable instrument storage compartment will inspire the music class at Zane for years to come.

Building Instructions[edit | edit source]


Purchase and assemble U-Line storage unit with additional shelf for more storage space. Adjust the shelves according to instrument size. Attach magic sliders to the base corners of the unit before the shelving is added.


Finish particleboard shelving with a single coat of triple-ply polyurethane to prevent from chipping. Apply an even coat over both sides and the edges. Let dry over night. Bolt the shelving to the frame.


Purchase 0.5 inch CDX plywood sheets and sand them to prevent splintering. Drill holes through the wood that match up with unused holes on the frame of the unit. These panels are the sides of the unit that prevent the instruments from falling off.


Plan out design of violin for side panels. Team Strange used old records, bottle caps, brass air vents, license plates, and recycled wood to create the violin.


Spray paint bottle caps for violin design. Bottle caps were painted in order to cover up beer logos that are inappropriate for a middle school setting.


Attach violin components using small sheet metal screws and a screw gun. The body of the violin should be attached first so the smaller parts can be placed around it.


Knock off the hazardous ends of the screws with a hammer once done with design. This prevents any injuries to students from sharp screw ends.


Bolt the decorated side panels to the U-Line frame using previously drilled holes and secure them with nuts. The project is now complete. The unit is safe, durable, stable, and can be moved if necessary. Add the instruments and enjoy the storage space.

Maintenance[edit | edit source]

This section covers what teachers and students at Zane need to do in order to maintain the shelving system.

  • Students should place their instruments down respectfully in a way that does not cause unnecessary damage to the shelving of the unit.
  • Teachers simply need to ensure their students understand the importance of respecting school property.
  • Teachers need to ensure that no wood is chipping or splintering. An adult should also ensure that no screws have come loose or are poking out.
  • Note any wear and tear on shelving and side panels.
Every 3 Years
  • Let Team Strange know how the unit is holding up! The team is interested to know how durable the storage compartment is and how students have reacted to it. If there are any issues with the structure, the team should be contacted to fix the issue.
Table 3: Maintenance Advice
How to Maintain
1: Ensure children are treating the storage compartment respectfully.
2: Check monthly for any hazards including, but not limited to, loose or hazardous screws and/or splintery wood.
3: Let Team Strange know how the project has improved the floor space in the music class at Zane.
4: Contact Team Strange if any issues arise that compromise the established criteria.

Troubleshooting[edit | edit source]

This is simple troubleshooting for basic operations of the movable instrument storage created by Team Strange.

Table 4:Troubleshooting Advise
Problem Suggestion
If side panels are unstable... tighten the bolts to increase the hold from the unit's frame.
If the spacing between the shelving is undesired... the shelves easily snap into place and adjust in 1.5-inch increments.
If the unit or the shelving chips, breaks, or becomes unusable... contact Team Strange by email and U-Line Storage at (800)295-5510.

Discussion and Next Steps[edit | edit source]

The movable instrument storage was designed to maximize the number of instruments that can be stored. The movable instrument storage compartment has more then enough space, keeps instruments from shifting while in storage, has magic sliders on the base so its position can be altered, can be bolted to a wall, and has side panels that prevent instruments from falling off. Team Strange wanted to design the movable instrument storage compartment to be inspirational for students and teachers alike. For that reason, the side panels are decorated with violins created from upcycled materials found in Arcata, CA.

Please contact any member from Team Strange within 1 month, 6 months, 1 year, and 5 years of installation in order to determine the success of the project.

Video[edit | edit source]


Suggestions for Future Changes[edit | edit source]

Dusting the shelves and side panels regularly will help keep the unit aesthetically pleasing and minimize the possibility of bolts slipping from the frame.

Team Members[edit | edit source]

Contacts[edit | edit source] | | |

References[edit | edit source]

U-Line (2017). "Industrial Shelving". (April 30, 2017).

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