Watch on YouTube: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Gyf0tFgReLs
I Built A Vintage Computer Exhibition
4 years into running this channel I’ve finally got my hands on my very own studio space! Here’s the latest update on the new studio build.
Office Studio Playlist: https://www.youtube.com/playlist?list=PLLJ-Nv_tKpJlZhfI5Rf84qYGp1Mzh3Ncl
Welcome to Rees’s Museum of Computing, or for short:
OK, I’m gonna have to think of a different name.
But anyway, while we’re here I may as well tell you all about how this hairbrained scheme came to be, and my plans for the future of the space now this bit’s done. So, let’s go back a short couple of weeks to moving in time.
In the last video I announced that I’d managed to get my hands on a whole office - all to myself - and that I’m turning it into a secondary storage / workshop / studio space for the channel.
And in that video I said this…
“I’d also like to look at some privacy type things - maybe UV film on the windows, reflective film, maybe some kind of blackout curtains or something like that for acoustic purposes as well…”
And I also said this:
“So the next video I’m going to be going through those boxes, that’s probably going to be a longer one, I’ll get the proper camera and everything out for that…”
Yeah, well, the long and the short of it is that things changed a bit.
So I thought I’d get some racking to help to organise all of this stuff. It’s the same style as the blue and orange racking I have at home and I bought it from the same place - Rapid Racking - who haven’t sponsored this video, but someone’s bound to ask and I can recommend it so there you go.
As you can see, I went for the rather classier dark grey version this time, and it just so happens that it matches all of the metalwork for the windows and stuff, which ties the space all in together rather nicely.
I was only really free in the evenings thanks to my pesky day job so over the course of a few evenings I cobbled it all together and came up with this concept of splitting the office into two separate areas with a dividing shelf in the middle - this side will be my studio space and at the other end will be the permanent workbench area that I’ve always sorely needed.
As for the window display - well, I must admit this place really felt like a goldfish bowl or even a zoo exhibit and I didn’t really want to start filming in here without something in place to stop people gawking at me. So I decided to give them something on-brand to gawk at instead - also handily helping to solve my storage problem.
Of course, the shelves had to be illuminated and I went with RGBW LED strips at first thinking that that would look cool, but they were a bit too bulky and the wiring would have been a bit more complicated, so I returned those and got some warm white instead just like at home. I mean, RGB isn’t very retro now, is it?
The very first project for my new workbench involved soldering up some custom wiring, and just like at home I’ve wired each level in parallel to prevent any voltage drops which can lead to flickering or even sections not working, and a quick test confirms that it’s going to work very well indeed.
So with one side wired up, the next phase of my plan arrived. If you think back to the first video, I’d been using some spare office divider panels to try to preserve my YouTuber modesty a bit, as well as keep the place looking at least somewhat tidy from the outside.
They really got me thinking, and after some hunting I managed to find some black panels in just the right size. These are 1.8m tall and 1.2m wide, and lock together with a plastic locking strip. They’re also on wheels so I can very quickly and easily move them out of the way to access the shelves.
Oh, and one more bonus - due to the way they’re constructed, they’re also excellent at sound deadening, pretty much completely killing off the echo issue I was having before. I have to say, I am very pleased indeed with them, and again, while they didn’t sponsor the video someone’s bound to ask, so I’ll just mention that these came from Panel Warehouse, and there are links to all the various bits I’ve used here down in the description if by some bizarre chance you’re looking to build your own office retro computer display.
I mean, it’s a perfectly normal thing to do.
I mentioned before that I’d only wired up the shelf lighting on one side and the reason for that is basically there isn’t a plug socket in this corner of the office. So rather than run an extension across the floor, I decided to wire up my own and run it through the suspended ceiling, and I’ll come up with a way to tidy up these wire drops later on once I’m happy that it’s all working.
As you can probably see, the door and the tops of the windows are still open to the elements, so I decided to tackle this next. I mentioned reflective privacy film in my first video, but after some research it seems that it wouldn’t really work as I expected. Basically at night with the lights on, it would work backwards so I’d just be looking at a huge mirror, and anyone outside would be able to see inside quite easily - so I’m glad I did my homework on that.
Instead I bought this 100% blackout film from a company called Tintfit - yeah, you know the drill, spent all my own money on it yada yada, and fitting it to the door is just a case of cutting roughly to size leaving some extra for trimming, cleaning and thoroughly spraying the window with a soap solution, and very carefully applying and trimming to size with a sharp knife, being careful to work the air bubbles out as you go. This actually came out way better than expected and looks great, particularly at night as you’ll see very shortly.
Now, I’ve shared a few pictures of this display on social media as well as sharing regular video updates with my supporters on Patreon and Ko-Fi, and my YouTube channel members, and one thing that kept coming up was this issue of UV or ultraviolet radiation. It’s suspected that this is what causes old computers to go yellow, as well as fading boxes, so sticking all of this stuff in a window without any kind of UV protection is a bit of a silly thing to do.
I have to say the exposure here isn’t as bad as it seems - this window is west facing and I’ve mainly been recording those updates in the evenings as the sun goes down, and of course at this time of year it’s low in the sky to begin with, which makes it all look like a bigger problem on camera than it actually is in reality. Also, modern window glass is generally UV treated anyway.
All that said, of course I don’t want to risk any sun damage to any of this stuff, so I also ordered this museum grade clear UV film from Tintfit, and will be fitting that in the coming days.
I’ve had some of the cheaper ebay stuff on my windows at home for a few years now and never had any problems with fading, but I thought it would be better to be safe than sorry.
Another concern that I had was security, and I did kind of touch on this in the first video but I just wanted to assure everyone that there’s no public access to this site, no passing traffic, and it’s absolutely covered in CCTV as well as being alarmed and all locked up behind a coded security gate, so my stuff’s probably safer here than it is at home.
So you might ask why I’d bother putting so much work into a window display that’s only going to be seen by the few people that work on this site - well the fact of the matter is that thousands of people on the internet also get to see it - yourself included - and I had to store these machines anyway, so why not have some fun with it?
The final piece of the puzzle was the top shelf - where all the best stuff can always be found - so I used some leftover LED strip to illuminate that and built a bit of a display of all of the boxes which also helps to cut down on any light leakage in or out of the office.
So here it is - the big reveal.
I must admit there isn’t any real rhyme or reason to the machines I have here, they just went onto the shelves pretty randomly as I found them, but I quite like the way they’re laid out. Maybe I’ll put them in chronological order of release date or something.
Oh, and here’s a throwback to the early days of my channel - the Oric Atmos that was actually used in Channel 4’s The IT Crowd. How far I’ve come.
There’s the IBM 5150 and 5162 as featured in previous series, as well as the IBM NetVista and Acorn Archimedes. Of course, the original Atari 520ST is represented here as well.
The window display will be changing over time as I work on these machines and get them moved on, and potential new projects take their place.
In other news, my wonderful assistant Sam has connected up my internet, and while I don’t really want to get into a willy waving contest, videos that took me 4 hours to upload at home on my glorious rural broadband take about 15 minutes here, if that. 2 minutes down the road.
Anyway, that opens up the possibility of doing some glorious 4K livestreaming here too.
But for now the next step is going to be sorting out this studio space. I’ve already put some blinds up for a bit more privacy and to help control the lighting for filming. I need to get the LEDs set up on these shelves, come up with something to go behind them to block off the light from the office next door, and - well, probably a load of stuff that I haven’t even thought of yet.
…and then, there’s the workbench area to tackle.
…and maybe then, I can start making some proper videos in here!
So as always massive thanks to my supporters who are helping to fund all of this, in return I’ve been feeding them with regular video updates in addition to the usual exclusive content and early access stuff, thanks to you for watching and don’t forget to subscribe if you want to keep up with future instalments in this series as well as the usual retro tech and gaming content.
Support the channel!
Become a Member: https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCe7aGwKsc40TYqDJfjggeKg/join
Rapid Racking: https://www.rapidracking.com/en/rra/rapid-3-pro-shelving-buy-2-bays-get-1-free-1800h-with-5-shelves-a906345
LED Strips: https://geni.us/aX0BBnC
LED Power Supplies: https://geni.us/ONDTKl
LED Wiring Kits: https://geni.us/BzSZAPh
Panel Warehouse: https://www.panelwarehouse.com/office-screens-c11/economy-office-screens-c142/economy-office-screen-1200mm-w-x-1800mm-h-nyloop-fabric-p621
Tintfit Blackout Film: https://www.tintfit.com/shop/blackout-window-film
Tintfit UV Film: https://www.tintfit.com/shop/clear-uv-window-film
Blackout Blinds: https://geni.us/804TB
Acrylic Display Stands: https://geni.us/GfBlP
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