Just Getting Started...Please Critique My BILLY Props Display

Display looks great! Which LED Puck did you use to display the Dragonslayer Amulet?

Just one of these cheap ones at Amazon:


I put a small hole through a black-painted bottlecap to narrow the light, and also glued on a dowel to help prop it up. Then I stained all the wood to darken it; it doesn't look very good with the wood in the natural color.

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(I also ended up weathering the pewter further with a black wash.)

Works pretty well!
 
Well, after talking about it in this thread, I couldn't wait. BILLYs sometimes go out of stock, so I picked up a narrow one today!

So here it is, ready for lighting and shelf pads. Haven't aligned it properly and secured it against earthquakes (I'm in SoCal); will do that last, as I have to pull it out a few times for the lights.

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Figure as I wire up the lights, I'll take some more pics for our folks who were asking.
 
Okay, some pieces came in, so I was able to get started.

First off, I cut 22 lengths of 22-gauge wire to about 20" long, stripped the ends, twisted them and folded them over:

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Then, I cut 6 lengths of LED strip at 11-1/2" each, and connected the wire-to-led connectors to each end (except for the top strip, which only needs a connector on one end). Notice I also added double-sided tape to the bottom of each connector:

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After that, I cut 11 lengths of cord hiders to 9-1/2" each. I used a miter hand-saw with my miter box, and each cut took less than 10 seconds.

Notice in the pic below that each piece is labeled (as pairs of top and bottom), with an arrow showing which way is the front. This is because my miter saw cuts are not perfect, and I'd like those on the back end. Also, since each pair (top and bottom) was cut together, I want them aligning perfectly, as they will be separated later. So this helps me keep track of which tops were cut with which bottoms.

I also put the included piece of double-sided tape on each of the bottoms.

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Today, my aluminum brackets arrived, so I cut 6 pieces at 13-1/4" each:

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After that, I finished prepping each bracket with the lights as follows:
  • Stuck the led strips and the connectors to the brackets (except the top one...it connects on only one side).
  • Inserted 2 wires in each of the connectors.
  • Identified which side of the bracket will be stuck to the shelf (ugliest side).
  • Stuck the double-sided tape to the ugly side.
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Notice also that I colored the ends of the positive wires with a red Sharpie. This will save a lot of time and troubleshooting later when I wire it all up!

Tomorrow, I think I might be able to finish, we'll see...
 
Also tonight, I stuck the cord hider bottoms to the undersides of each shelf. I then drilled a 1/8" hole at the back of each.

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I then peeled off the backing from the double-sided tape on the brackets, and stuck them in position as well:

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More tomorrow. Time to watch Ahsoka!
 
Okay, finished up today...

First, I inserted the hanging wires through to the holes in the back, and then placed the cord hider tops (covers) carefully over the wires:

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You can see the wires hanging out the back, here:

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Next, I joined the wires using the wire connectors:

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Then, I joined the last wires at the bottom to the power adapter that came with the LEDs, using the same connectors:

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After pushing the shelf back into position and securing it with a bracket to the bigger shelf on the right (which is secured to the wall), it looked just about ready!

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But it needs a finishing touch. I made these shelf pads by wrapping maroon cloth around pieces of foamcore board (cut to 14-3/16" x 10-1/8"), and secured them underneath with Gorilla tape:

PXL_20231003_204507906.jpg

And done! A blank slate ready for some props!

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Okay, finished up today...

First, I inserted the hanging wires through to the holes in the back, and then placed the cord hider tops (covers) carefully over the wires:

View attachment 1747730 View attachment 1747731

You can see the wires hanging out the back, here:

View attachment 1747732

Next, I joined the wires using the wire connectors:

View attachment 1747733

Then, I joined the last wires at the bottom to the power adapter that came with the LEDs, using the same connectors:

View attachment 1747734

After pushing the shelf back into position and securing it with a bracket to the bigger shelf on the right (which is secured to the wall), it looked just about ready!

View attachment 1747735

But it needs a finishing touch. I made these shelf pads by wrapping maroon cloth around pieces of foamcore board (cut to 14-3/16" x 10-1/8"), and secured them underneath with Gorilla tape:

View attachment 1747729

And done! A blank slate ready for some props!

View attachment 1747736
Very nice- the sight of all of that unfilled display space would make me giddy. I'm sure you're rubbing your hands together in anticipation of how to fill it- I would be!
 
Hi all:

Figured it was time for an update. I moved some things around, added a bunch more, and very happy so far!

PXL_20231106_165443155.jpg

Starting with the larger bookcase, I added a bunch more Back to the Future items: OUTATIME license plate and Delorean key, clock tower photo, Marty's disappearing family photo, and taped the "Biff's" matchbook to the back wall. Also, there's the torn Superman III photo booth strip, and Seinfeld's Tweety Pez dispenser.

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Second shelf has nothing new.

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Third shelf, I added the Pym particle vial, WWII compass with Peggy Carter's picture, and Tomorrowland pin. Nothing major.

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Fourth shelf, now has a Rebels Sabine patch and Fantastic Beasts notebook. The Shannara items I moved to the smaller shelf.

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On the fifth shelf, I moved out some things to other shelves. Getting a little bare! I added a Moana Heart of Tefiti that is illuminated from below with one of those LED pucks.

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And bottom shelf, I moved out the Babylon 5 PPG and Link, but added the How to Train Your Dragon book pages and Ghostbusters ESP cards. I think I now have enough Ghostbusters stuff to display it all together now on its own shelf, so some rearranging is in order!

PXL_20231106_165624693.jpg


And now for the smaller bookcase, here's the first shelf. Those are the crystal shard, Jen's flute, and Essence Vial, all from The Dark Crystal. The shard and essence vial are both wired for permanent lighting now.

PXL_20231106_165658440.jpg


Second shelf, I moved in the Roy Hobbs rookie card and Dune ring, added a Sarah Connor burnt photo and a Doom Eternal key card that I spattered with "blood." On the right side is the Hellraiser Lament Configuration puzzle box, and a couple paper props from the Hellraiser movies.

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On the third shelf, I moved in the Shannara book props, adding Allanon's letter as a paper prop for the background, plus a Shannara commemorative coin I received. On the left are the watch and key from Knight Rider, the Lord of the Rings one Ring, and Squid Game and Morty Adventure cards.

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On the fourth shelf, I moved in the Morley cigarette box over, and added several new X-Files badges & IDs (including a Simpsons version). On the left, I moved in the Constantine brass knuckles. The lighter and shotgun shells are new.

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The fifth shelf is still empty, and the six shelf has the Babylon 5 items.

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Still lots of space to go! Happy to answer any questions of any of these items. Much more to come, I think I'm about 60% full.

Thank you for your indulgence,
Bill
 
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So, a lot's happened with my display since the last update! My wife got me ONE MORE DISPLAY CASE as a Christmas gift! What support! :love:

I was able to redistribute the stuff in the bookcase that was previously there, and now I have a full BILLY corner unit. So I wired it up for light and and gave it the same base-boards as the rest! (Most props removed in the pic below.)

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If you look closely, you'll also see something new in the empty shelves that I did over the holiday...

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That's right! Every shelf is wired for USB power! Details on that in the next post.

In the meantime, I want to point out this technique I discovered after much hunting and looking online: Many props that are battery powered can be easily converted to 5V USB plug-in, using these adapters:

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That's a CR2032 battery which has a flat ribbon cable attached to it, with a 5V USB on the other end. Here it is in use for my Dark Crystal Essence Vial:

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Amazon's version doesn't have the flat ribbon, which I feel is necessary to be able to close the battery cover. But it's all over the place for other online sellers. It costs about $10 shipped. I bought mine from Country Christmas Loft.

And yes, there are adapters out there for AA and AAA batteries (in multiple configurations) as well!

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This allows me to leave my battery-powered devices running without using up batteries!

More details coming soon.

Bill
 
Time to share my process for wiring all three shelves with USB power!

My requirements were as follows:
  • Three ports per shelf (big bookcase)
  • Two ports per shelf (small bookcase)
  • They should try to blend in as much as possible.
  • They should be as small as possible (therefore USB-C).
  • Low-power cables are fine.
  • No soldering, no bare wires. Plug and play only!!!
After some thinking, I searched through AliExpress for low-cost solutions (I would need to be buying very many connectors to power a grand total of 48 ports!), I came up with this sketch of the parts I wanted to use for each port:

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On the backside of the bookcase, each USB-C port was connected using the following parts:
(prices include shipping)

USB-C (female) to PH 2.0 (male) connector with cap and locking nut - $0.75 each (x48) = $29
PH 2.0 (female) connector to standard USB (male) - $2.00 each (x48) = $96
Standard USB (female) to standard USB (male) 1.5-meter extension cable - $1.40 each (x48) = $68

All of the 1.5-meter cables would be plugged in to a pair of 20-port 100-watt hubs:

Multi Port USB Charger 20 Ports HUB 100W - $21 each (x2) = $42

That only accounts for 40 ports, but I had a couple smaller hubs lying around the house.

In the shelf itself, I picked up a dozen (to start) of these white right-angle USB-to-USB-C adapters.

15cm USB3.1 Type-c OTG cable 90 Degree Right angle USB C to USB2.0 Female - $1.75 (x12) = $21

The lower profile right-angle shape should make it easier to hide cords from view.

TOTAL COST: about $260, or $5.35 per port.

This is my wiring diagram chickenscratch:

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This would give me the ability power 2-3 items per shelf with a port just a few inches away!

Next post is the how-to.

Bill
 
To get started, I needed to make the 20-port hubs safely "mountable" on the side of the shelves. Knowing that the shelfes would be at a 45-degree angle to each other, I was left with plenty of space to follow the above diagram.

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The feet were stick-on rubber pads. I removed them and filled the four recesses with 5-minute epoxy:

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And then, after scuffing the cured epoxy, I covered the feet with a very strong double-sided tape.

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And then I mounted the hubs on either side of the central shelf (as indicated in the above diagram), along with a couple extra hubs I also had available:

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Everything was plugged into a power strip, and then a Wyze light timer.

Next up, I measured and drilled holes for each of the USB-C ports, and attached them by hand-tightening the nut on the back.

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And then I attached the PH 2.0 to USB cable:

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The rest of the "plug and play" operation followed my diagram:

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Notice how, for each shelf, I "braided" the three cables before plugging them into the hug, to reduce tangles. Not full cable management, but much better than full loose wires!

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It was important to test the connections every few minutes, so I had a light handy every step of the way!

As I began to push the shelves together, the wire groups can be clearly seen. Again, braiding each shelf made a difference!

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And in the shelf, here's one of the adapters attached:

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And the shelves, finally moved in to place. With their silicon caps on, you can barely see the ports!

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A final test, and all 48 ports are working! And they're good for MORE THAN JUST LIGHT-UP EFFECTS!


I picked up a couple of these cheap turntables from Amazon to add some motion to the overall display:
2-3 turntables is enough; don't want to overdo it!

And so this is the current state, still very much a work in progress. I'm up to over 180 items, and still lots of space!

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Considering I'd like to go higher density of items in each shelf, I estimate I'm about 50% full.
I will follow up with shelf-by-shelf photos soon.

Thanks for reading,
Bill
 

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