Nifty classroom whiteboard rack

The photos below are courtesy of Modeler Tim McKnight who has designed a very cool PVC rack that he uses to organize and manage his students’ whiteboards. Students can easily store their boards for reuse from one class period to the next.


Here are directions for making a 3-compartment rack:

Parts and tools:
2 – 10′ lengths of 3/4″ PVC pipe
12 – 3/4″ PVC elbows
8 – 3/4″ x 3/4″ x 3/4″ PVC Tees
PVC glue
PVC cutter
Right angle / carpenter’s square

The parts are cut as follows:
6 – 16″ segments for cross pieces (2 lower and 4 upper)
8 – 12″ segments for the uprights (4 on each side)
6 – 2.5″ segments for spacers between the uprights – it is important that these be identical in length.)**
4 – 1.5″ segments to join the lower corners

Since the sockets of the Tees are 1″ deep, the length of the spacer becomes the width of space in which the boards will be held. I think that 3″ would also be ok if you need to store more boards per section. Too much over 3″ and I think strength may be compromised. The key thing is that all 6 of these spacers be identical in length. This specifications given above use 213″ of the 240″ of PVC.

The order of assembly was:

a) Assemble 2 rows of 4 tees each using the 2.5″ connector segments. Upside down as in the picture helped me to get them all properly aligned and “square”.




b) Assemble 6 cross pieces by attaching elbows to the 16″ lengths. Again, placing the open ends of the fittings against the table seemed to give the most reliably square fitting. You have only a few seconds to twist the joints into alignment before the glue / cement sets up.
c) Use 4 – 1.5″ spacers and 2 assembled crosspieces to join the 2 rows of assembled Tees. This makes the bottom of the frame.

Once again – keeping the open ends of the Tee connectors flat on the table helps to line them up – or you can use a drafting triangle or carpenter’s square.



d) glue the 8 – 12″ uprights into the Tees

e) finish by gluing the remaining 4 crosspieces to the 8 uprights.








Done!









For a simplified variation on this design click here.

 

9 Responses to Nifty classroom whiteboard rack

  1. James Gorman says:

    I really like this idea and think I’ll build one too. Thanks for the idea & instructions

    • Tim McKnight says:

      If you would like some additional details, and if I can follow my own notes that I scratched out when putting them together it goes something like this.

      For each 3 compartment rack : (I built 2 for my 5 sections of 9th grade physics)

      2 – 10′ lengths of 3/4″ PVC pipe
      12 – 3/4″ PVC elbows
      8 – 3/4″ x 3/4″ x 3/4″ PVC Tees

      PVC glue
      PVC cutter
      Right angle / carpenter’s square

      The parts are cut as follows

      6 – 16″ segments for cross pieces (2 lower and 4 upper)
      8 – 12″ segments for the uprights (4 on each side)
      6 – 2.5″ segments for spacers between the uprights – it is important that these be identical in length.)**
      4 – 1.5″ segments to join the lower corners

      **Since the sockets of the Tees are 1″ deep, the length of the spacer becomes the width of space in which the boards will be held. I think that 3″ would also be ok if you need to store more boards per section. Too much over 3″ and I think strength may be compromised. The key thing is that all 6 of these spacers be identical in length.

      This uses 213″ of the 240″ of PVC

      The order of assembly was:

      a) Assemble 2 rows of 4 tees each using the 2.5″ connector segments. Upside down as in the picture helped me to get them all properly aligned and “square”.

      b) Assemble 6 cross pieces by attaching elbows to the 16″ lengths. Again, placing the open ends of the fittings against the table seemed to give the most reliably square fitting. You have only a few seconds to twist the joints into alignment before the glue / cement sets up.

      c) Use the 4 – 1.5″ spacers and 2 of the assembled crosspieces to join the 2 rows of assembled Tees. This makes the bottom of the frame. Once again – keeping the open ends of the Tee connectors flat on the table helps to line them up – or you can use a drafting triangle or carpenter’s square.

      d) glue the 8 – 12″ uprights into the Tees

      e) finish by gluing the remaining 4 crosspieces to the 8 uprights.

      Done!

  2. Jeff Steinert says:

    Thanks for posting this, Tim. Can you tell me how long you made the horizontal and vertical sections of PVC and what kind of spacing there is for whiteboards in each “slot”? I like your thought about placing something in the bottom to protect the edges of the whiteboards from getting chipped.

    • Jeff Steinert says:

      Here’s a thought (untested): How about using small sections of a pool noodle between the upright pieces to protect the bottom edge of the whiteboards when they sit in the rack?

      • Tim McKnight says:

        Jeff,
        funny thing is that I was thinking exactly the same thing – I was running options through my mind and was trying to think of closed cell foam items. Pool noodle, swim kickboard, gardening kneeling pad, insulation block, packing foam (like around a flat screen TV? I’m also thinking of just wandering the isles a bit at Walmart, Home Depot, Lowe’s, and a pool store. I’ll be swinging past campus in a couple of days to prep for a Lego Robotics camp – and I’ll have some time to experiement with it then.

    • megowan says:

      Another thing you could use is moleskin–the stuff you put on incipient blisters on your feet to keep them from getting worse by rubbing on your shoes…check the foot care section of the pharmacy aisle at your grocery story.

  3. Friedrich Elliott says:

    Cool stand!

    What is a good size for the “modeling” white boards? Based on the photos on the site, it seems many are of a similar size. I assume they’re cut out of melamine sheets I can get at a big box.

    I like the handle cut-outs. Any other cool features or ideas I should incorporate into the white boards?

    THANK YOU!

    • Tim McKnight says:

      Friedrich,
      Standard size is 32″ x 24″ so that you can get 6 from a 4′ x 8′ sheet at your afformentioned “big box”.
      Yes it is melamine – locally the quality has gone down since my first set in 1995 – the surface is now a bit more porous and ghosts more than it used to. But $14/6 is still quite a bit better than the office supply ones at $49/each. (in a frame)

  4. Friedrich Elliott says:

    Thanks!

    At my previous company we had these melamine boards in full size throughout the office. We resorted to periodically cleaning them with acetone. Also, it seemed certain brands of markers were less prone to ghosting than others but I’ve forgotten which were preferred.

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