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Dragon's Den
This is the computer room, known as The Dragon's Den. It is the heart of the Park Place network.
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The Dragon's Den

    The Dragon's Den was my room and home to the Dragon server array.  It's not your typical bedroom and it's customized arrangement has interested a good number of visitors.
    The Dragon's Den is located on the second floor of our Park Place residence.  Myself and 4 roommates live together in a house we refer to as Park Place-- so named for being on Park Ave.  Although I typically refer to the Dragon's Den as "my room" when I speak to people, I refer to it as the Dragon's Den when associating it with the network.  This is because the Dragon's Den is the heart (and most of the body) of the Park Place network.  
Park Place
Park Place, October, 2004
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Dragon's Den
Dragon's Den, July 2005
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Under bench pantry
Under bench pantry
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Close up of bookshelf
Close up of our bookshelf
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    Due to the fact Park Place is a rented house, I could not modify the Dragon's Den in any manner that caused major change to the original room.  However, the unmodified room was painted a glossy white.  In fact, the paint covered everything.. window frames, light sockets and even light bulbs (someone went nuts with the sprayer).  The outlets had intermittent connections due to the amount of paint sprayed into them and the white look just didn't function for an area I was going to spend a lot of time working.
    First, I setup sub-walls using 2x4 running floor to ceiling with plywood on top.  Hanging off the sub-walls are a system of black crates and plywood benches.  The main bench also serves as my sleeping quarters (I have a special page just of this).  The crates make a system of storage bins, where everything one might have in a room can be neatly kept.  The benches provide work space for all the computers and equipment I use regularly.
    The sub walls, crates and benches are all painted jet black.  The windows of the room are covered in aluminum foil backed foam isolation.  Duct tape seals the seams so no light or outside air leaking though the window frames enters the room.  To keep the outside appearance up, drawn blinds were placed inside the window frame before covered-- so the windows always appears the blinds are closed. The ceiling of the room has been mostly covered by tacking up black bed sheets.  The primary light located in the center of the room was removed for this.  Now, the room is lit from the sides using a circle of red rope light.  This is combined with some low wattage under shelf lights on a dimmer.  With this setup, the mood changes drastically to a much more calm environment better suited for spending long hours in front of a computer screen.  Several calm lights are located around the room with higher wattage bulbs when a lot of light is needed, such as when working inside a computer, needing to solder, or cleaning.
    After setting up the room to be a functional work area, there was the issue of power.  The 2nd floor of Park Place runs from two circuit breakers.  There are 4 rooms and a bathroom that share these circlets.  Each of us living at Park Place have a small refrigerator and an air conditioner in the summer.  Along with that, there are TVs, microwaves and computers.  This created a power issue.  So, I ran a 30 amp feed from the breaker box to a sub-panel in the Dragon's Den.  There, two 15 amp feeds power everything in the room.  One circuit is reserved for things such as the air conditioner, refrigerator, coffee pot and lights.  The other runs the UPS's and power strips that feed the Dragon server array.  None of the regular outlets in the room are used, leaving that power available to my room mates.
    Cooling for the Dragon's Den in the summer time is provided by a window unit air conditioner.  The original 5,000 BTU air conditioner didn't do a very good job, especially after the duel processor Red-Dragon came to the network.  It simply could not compete with summer heat and several computers running at one time.  So, it was replaced with a 11,000 BTU unit, which does a much better job.  In the winter, we hardly need to heat the room.  The Dragon array keeps things very comfortable.  In spring, fall and sometimes on warmer winter days, the Dragon's Den can be cooled by opening the attic door.  The cool air drops down the stairs and the hot air exits the room.  In a matter of minutes, one can change the temperature in the room 10 degrees just by opening the attic door-- it's very effective.
    One of the design criteria high on the priority list was making efferent use of space.  I am not claustrophobic in the least, and actually prefer small spaces.  So, one goal was to make use of all space possible.  Above each of the benches is an array of crates, which provide storage.  Under some of the benches are more shelves.  One such shelf makes up my little pantry, consisting of my little refrigerator, coffee maker, dishes and dishpan full of water as well as food.  My refrigerator is always stocked with milk, orange juice and coffee beans.  I've found a steady supply of liquid helps me stay concentrated on work for very long periods of time.  So, I have arranged my refrigerator within arms each of my console.  My food supply primarily consists of things that can be prepared without leaving my room, such as bread, peanut butter, jelly, cheese, sandwich meat, cereal, crackers and cookies.  I also keep other food for full meals that require food preparation outside my room.
    My primary bench/box is divided to an upper and lower level.  The lower level consists of the many computers of the Dragon server array.  Running along the back wall, above the bench, are two large bookshelves.  My collection of books are primarily work related-- computer how-to's, part references, math books, manuals and the like.  It is also where I place some parts bins and my all important soldering iron.
    Placed all over the room are little knickknacks, making use of space otherwise left empty.  Pictures, sculptures, art pieces, posters, wall hangings and anything else I find that captures my interests. 
    In all, the Dragon's Den is like few other rooms you will find.  Most people find it a very interesting place.  I feel it does a fine job of displaying me and my interests, as well as provide an excellent location for my server array.

Detailed floor plan for the Dragon's Den

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