Build or Buy – The Media Bookcase – part two

In the previous entry I laid out the overall measurements, which line up exactly with the Ikea Billy Bookcase – 80cmx202cmx28cm. Indeed, this bookcase would be built entirely in metric. These measurements are perfect for the space the bookcase would go.

Now, for details as to what the bookcase is for. This is going to hold a whole bunch of video games. I get to play games occasionally between work sessions, and my kids play a good deal. I can’t get my wife to play, because of motion sickness. Oh well. One might think of video games to just be one size like DVDs, but they come in all sorts of sizes. Here are the details, and I’ll hit on specific items I have.

Standard DVD size: 190mm*135mm, usually 14mm wide

This size format covers a wide variety of game systems:

  • Nintendo Gamecube, Wii, Wii U
  • Microsoft Xbox, Xbox 360
  • Sony Playstation 2

The Sega Dreamcast and Sony Playstation most often used the CD jewel case with dimensions of 125mm*142mm (oriented in the same manner as DVDs, with the title spine facing out and on a 90° rotation).

Now we get to the proprietary sizes. This is what makes the bookcase need a bit more custom, with the solution most likely being just additional shelves. I may fudge the width by a millimeter if it would allow an additional case to fit though.

  • Sony PSP – 168mm*99mm*14mm
  • Sony PS Vita – 135mm*105mm*12mm
  • Nintendo DS/3DS – 135mm*122mm*15mm/14mm respectively
  • Sega Saturn – 207mm*145mm*22mm

The Sony PS3, PS4 and Xbox One games all use the Bluray/HD-DVD case size of 172mm*135mm*14mm. Most of these sizes really do lend credence to doing the project in metric, as the imperial equivalents are all over the place. The only thing I would need to do is figure out how much additional room I care to have to retrieve the cases. I think I’d need a minimum of 15mm of room to get my index finger in and tilt the case to remove it when the shelf is full.

What’s great about having a Billy on-hand is that I can explicitly verify how many cases will fit on a single shelf. I can fit 51 regular size DVD/game cases on a single shelf without difficulty. That’s almost more capacity than I have on any single game system:

  • Saturn – 18
  • PSP – 21
  • Vita – 19
  • Dreamcast – 22
  • Playstation – 4 (two are four disc cases, which brings the total for comparison to more like 7)
  • PS2 – 22
  • PS3 – 31 (1 special edition wide case)
  • PS4 – 6
  • Xbox – 13
  • X360 – 51 (3 special edition wide
  • X1 – 10
  • DS/3DS –  31 combined
  • Gamecube – 5
  • Wii – 23
  • Wii U – 7

Now, right off the bat is the problem of the Xbox 360 games taking up more than one shelf. I could put the special editions on a separate shelf, or purge a couple. I have more games in storage that I’d like to give away, or can go back on the shelf if I can’t. Either way, I should allow for a little bit of room for growth. Growth for the newer consoles is a bit limited because of my buying habits (much more digital purchases).

The next thing to do is pair up similar case sizes as it makes sense.

  • Xbox 360 shelf – filled
  • PS3/PS4/X1 – filled
  • DS/3DS/Vita – filled
  • GC/Wii/Wii U – room for expansion
  • PS/DC – half shelf
  • Xbox/PS2 – room for expansion
  • Saturn and maybe PSP – room for expansion

So, at minimum, seven shelves are needed, one more than what comes with the Billy as standard. Extra shelves are $10 more each, plus you can add a top expansion if needed. I can then extrapolate those minimum shelf needs, along with the measurements for the shelf thickness and 32mm system, to see if it would all fit within the confines of the case measurement.

  • 19mm top shelf
  • 207mm Saturn case
  • 19mm shelf
  • 125mm jewel case
  • 19mm shelf
  • 135mm DS/Vita case
  • 19mm shelf
  • 172mm BD case
  • 19mm shelf
  • 190mm DVD case (eg Xbox/PS2 shelf)
  • 19mm shelf
  • 190mm DVD case (eg GC/Wii/WiiU shelf)
  • 19mm shelf
  • 190mm DVD case (eg 360 shelf)
  • 19mm bottom shelf
  • 75mm bottom shelf support

All of that adds up to 1436mm. Even adding the minimum 15mm gap above each used shelf, that’s 1541mm. As stated above, the Billy is 2020mm, a difference of nearly 500mm. That’s two or three more shelves that could be added if needed, or one large top shelf for other things, plus the top of the bookcase.

The next entry will follow shortly and explain what I think my decision is.

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