Trying to light up the kitchen for less.
I managed to make some progress the past few days: 70% is done. There are three cabinets left that need to be fitted in part or entirely. Saved those for last, since these are already built for test fitting and need to be taken apart again.
In the mean time, I made good use of some of the strips that will be left after the drawers are fitted and put those on top of the top cabinets. Since those strips will be easily accessible after all is set and done, I soldered the wires directly to the strip connection. The result is 10W of LED strip, taking care of the ambient lighting.
In order to make sure the microswitches are mounted at the right spot, without having to mount the drawers first, I went to my local FabLab, and made good use of their laser cutter to make small acrylic plates with holes in the right place. This way, I can just mount the plate with one big screw (IKEA screw 100344, can be had for free at the Service Area of your local store) in one of the holes meant for mounting the rails for the drawers.
Next, I add two 5mm nylon spacers and put the microswitch on top of those, fastening the whole contraption with two 2.2mm * 25mm screws.
To mount the LED-strips, I need two tiny plates with holes in the right place, so I can mount them right beneath the rail for the drawer above. Still designing those, since my first attempt on making them left me with a pile of 4mm acrylic spacers with some very specific holes. ;)
The LED-strip for the top drawer will be stuck to the metal rail on top of the cabinet.
As this project picks up steam, new insights emerge. Since the useable width of the 80cm cabinets is actually 76cm, three strips of 25cm will not fit, lest we eschew the power connection, but that would render the strips useless, so we need even less strips!
I also had to figure out how to hook it all up and make it flexible, in order to switch to optics later on, in case the switches give out too soon. I'd rather go that route in the first place, but a lack of time made me put that idea on the back burner.
The first few cabinets have been fitted with wiring: I routed a slot on the side of the cabinet to guide the wires through, so that nothing is visible, apart from a short bit of wire to the strips. Everything is ultra low voltage and draws next to nothing, so there's no chance of heating up.
So, here we are. The IKEA OMLOPP-lighting system looks great and is tailored to IKEA's kitchen system. It's also quite expensive, with €25~€35 for each drawer, so I was set on making something myself.
I already gathered I would use a microswitch to detect an open drawer: those things are cheap, quite reliable and tiny. I also considered using reed switches, but those are quite hard to come by in a NC-configuration at a decent price level. Spending the same amount of money on one switch as the cost of one LEDBERG strip kit is kind of defeating the purpose of doing it on the cheap, so that was right out.
Getting rid of the wiring is a simple case of routing a small slot on the outside of the cabinet: those slots won't be visible once the kitchen is assembled, which makes for an aestehic finish.
Now to figure out how to mount the strips and the switches.