June 2023 update:

The Monstrosity Gets an Appendage

I spend 8 hours a day, 5 days a week in The Monstrosity still to this day.  And right behind me as I work was a very sad hobby bench comprised of little more than a plastic folding table.

A new ham radio and power supply required something more, so The Appendage was born.  Following the same concept as The Monstrosity, The Appendage is a minimalist, industrial design that provides everything I need in terms of shelving and support without drilling EVEN ONE hole in the wall, floor or ceiling.

Here's how it turned out:

Rather than rebuilding the post here, you can see more at the link above.

Here is the original Monstrosity . . .

As you can see, there are 3 computers and six displays.  Five of the displays are all connected to the computer on the right.  The top left display is for my Ubuntu machine which runs Zoneminder and keeps me aware of what's happening outside.  The third machine runs headless (except for a pair of KVM switches which allow me to look in on it if I need more than an SSH terminal.

This third machine is named Brilliant, and is the hub for my PiNet.  Ubuntu, MySQL, nginx, Python, Gunicorn and Flask all run on this little i3 leftover 24/7.  It is a faithful little guy who never complains.


The Monstrosity is constructed out of 4x4 pine with 1x8 pine used on the corner bracing.   8" x 1/2" lag bolts hold the 4x4's together.

Smaller lag bolts are used on the 1x8 braces.  In this pic you can see the pull-up bar I made from 1" black iron pipe.  This is great for stretching out achy shoulders after a long day of mousing.

Both big computers sit on simple plywood shelves that are screwed to 2x4 bracing on the back edge, and suspended with 1/16" aircraft cable on the front.  In the above pic you can see the cable passes through the shelf via 1/8" holes, then wraps around a sheet metal screw with a fender washer.  This secures the cable so no swaging of loops was required.

The smaller displays are suspended from the upper 2x4 crossbeam on the pipe part of a dual display desk mount I was already using.  I unscrewed the base, drilled a hole, and hung them from the 2x4.

BTW . . . that is a 10MB MFM hard drive there.  Back when rust drives were really rust.  LOL.

The two larger displays are really just 43" TV's.  One is a TCL Roku TV, and the other is a Samsung SmartTV I got on sale at Best Buy.  Both are 4K @60hz, and both work great each and every day.  Each of them was about $250.00.  You don't have to spend vast sums of money for a decent display.

In my daily work, I spec a ton of high quality display mounts for clients.  For myself, I drive a couple of miles down to Harbor Freight and spend thirty bucks on their display mount.  You know what? It works just fine.  I mean, a display mount doesn't have a complicated job.  It just has to sit there, hold the display still, and don't let it fall down.  ¯\_(ツ)_/¯

One major design requirement in my mind was to keep stuff off the floor.  A second design requirement was to be able to walk around all four sides of my 'skeleton cubical'.  Both of these design imperatives are met perfectly by this setup.

Everything is powered through this UPS, which reports 455 watts drawn by the whole shebang. 

My wife is impressed, even though she calls it 'that monstrosity in your office'.  I really like it too.