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'Thinking of building my own computer desk' or 'A novice needs help.'

DissociaterDissociater Registered User regular
edited August 2009 in Help / Advice Forum
It all started with this photo:

dale_mathisExecutiveDesk.jpg

Now, I'm of the opinion that this is the coolest desk ever. Much more interesting than my $100 Ikea desk.

Problem is, I'm not able, nor willing, to shell out the $21000 for this desk.

I'm a handy guy, I figure I possess the fine motor skills to build something that will obviously not be as nice, but still be kind of cool.

Problem two: I don't even know where to begin. I have access to some nice tools and powertools (my Father's), but I really don't know what I'm doing. I've done some minor woodwork in the past, but nothing this major, and have never worked with glass, so I don't even know what that would require. Does anyone have any experience with this sort of thing? Or could at least point me in the right direction?

If I do decide to build such a thing, it will be well documented.

Dissociater on

Posts

  • Casually HardcoreCasually Hardcore Once an Asshole. Trying to be better. Registered User regular
    edited August 2009
    Not entirely on topic, but please post a link on where one can get such a desk so I can add it to my "Reasons to finish my Engineering major" list?

    Casually Hardcore on
  • DissociaterDissociater Registered User regular
    edited August 2009
  • UsagiUsagi Nah Registered User regular
    edited August 2009
    judging from the picture, the gear base and much of the structure seems to be metal, not wood

    but motor driven gear desk, hell yes

    Usagi on
  • DissociaterDissociater Registered User regular
    edited August 2009
    I'm thinking instead of a motor, having a hand crank protruding from the desk. So it's not always in motion.

    Dissociater on
  • matt has a problemmatt has a problem Points to 'off' Points to 'on'Registered User regular
    edited August 2009
    There's a reason this desk is $21k, the amount of metal fabrication skill needed to build it isn't exactly small. "Power tools" most likely aren't going to be enough, you're going to need access to a metalworking shop. Plus, I'm guessing the frame is aluminum as making it from steel would cause it to be prohibitively heavy, and aluminum isn't exactly easy to weld.

    matt has a problem on
    nibXTE7.png
  • matt has a problemmatt has a problem Points to 'off' Points to 'on'Registered User regular
    edited August 2009
    Instead of building it from metal, have you thought about building it out of wood? Not the gears, just the frame and legs. Mount the gears to axles that are attached to the bottom of a hollow wooden box that's topped with a nice thick sheet of glass. It would give you the look without having to go through all the years of learning how to work with metal.

    matt has a problem on
    nibXTE7.png
  • DissociaterDissociater Registered User regular
    edited August 2009
    I haven't thought of that yet, that's why I'm here. I really don't know where to start. Basically you're saying, instead of making the top and bottom glass, just make the top glass and the bottom wood? that makes sense.

    How would I go about getting a piece of glass to fit an odd shape like this? I mean, if I were to make my design something other than a standard rectangle, how would I get the glass in there?

    Dissociater on
  • ChanusChanus Harbinger of the Spicy Rooster Apocalypse The Flames of a Thousand Collapsed StarsRegistered User regular
    edited August 2009
    I dunno whatever happened to the old, unfinished door on top of two short file cabinets.

    The cables go through the doorknob hole... it's brilliant design!

    Chanus on
    Allegedly a voice of reason.
  • matt has a problemmatt has a problem Points to 'off' Points to 'on'Registered User regular
    edited August 2009
    I haven't thought of that yet, that's why I'm here. I really don't know where to start. Basically you're saying, instead of making the top and bottom glass, just make the top glass and the bottom wood? that makes sense.

    How would I go about getting a piece of glass to fit an odd shape like this? I mean, if I were to make my design something other than a standard rectangle, how would I get the glass in there?
    Just search for a local glass shop online. They'll be able to recommend a good thickness too when you tell them what size you need and how you're going to use it, and they'll cut it to shape for you.

    matt has a problem on
    nibXTE7.png
  • DissociaterDissociater Registered User regular
    edited August 2009
    Where would I get the gears and that kind of stuff?

    Dissociater on
  • UsagiUsagi Nah Registered User regular
    edited August 2009
    Actually, if you have some decent fine motor control and are handy with some woodworking tools, you can make gears out of wood. They mesh and work just like metal gears, though they won't be as strong. Bonus points if you stain them in all sorts of complimentary shades.

    assembledgearsrn0.jpg

    Usagi on
  • matt has a problemmatt has a problem Points to 'off' Points to 'on'Registered User regular
    edited August 2009
    Where would I get the gears and that kind of stuff?
    The cheapest place would be a junkyard. You'd have to get creative of course, pulling them off engines and stuff. Bike shops too, although they'd be a bit thinner than what you see in that desk. Other than that, googling for gear manufacturers or sellers would be your best bet.

    matt has a problem on
    nibXTE7.png
  • DissociaterDissociater Registered User regular
    edited August 2009
    And the axels and whatever would mount them to wood? Would something like a Rona/home depot carry that kind of stuff?

    I'm getting rather excited about this possibility. What's a good kind of wood to use?

    Dissociater on
  • SideAffectsSideAffects Registered User regular
    edited August 2009
    Old machinery from the 30's to the 70's will get you gears. Think of things like old printing presses, or type writers.

    I would recommend going to a woodcrafting site. There was a fairly recent post on these forums about what kinds of wood to use for projects...basically soft wood is easier to work with, but might not stain well or have a nice grain to it

    As for how to start...I suggest you start making some drawings. I'd bet those woodcraft sites have forums where you can post them up and get some feedback. I'd probably make the bottom clear layer out of some sort of plexiglass, because it doesn't have to be pretty, won't be as heavy, and will support those gears better. You can get pretty much any glass place to custom make that top for you. Simply calling around and describing the size/shape will get you a price quote.

    Heck, you could probably generate basic drawings, take them to a carpenter (the artsy kind, not the house-building time), and ask them if they can make the design "work" and how much it'd cost. Then get the gears yourself, and have the glass top made by some company. Probably would cost you WAY under the price of the OP one, look nice, be custom, take less time, and be plenty cool. If you are dedicated to making it yourself, you might be unsatisfied with the final product. The board-feet you'd need to carve that custom shape can really add up in $$

    SideAffects on
  • DissociaterDissociater Registered User regular
    edited August 2009
    If you are dedicated to making it yourself, you might be unsatisfied with the final product. The board-feet you'd need to carve that custom shape can really add up in $$

    I think you're right about this, so I think the first thing I would do is make a miniature version to scale to work the kinks out. It'll save money and still be fun to do.

    Start small. I'll check out a Rona tomorrow and pick up a book on DIY woodworking.

    Dissociater on
  • DekuStickDekuStick Registered User regular
    edited August 2009
    While glass might be your ideal thing I've done work in a plastics fabcrication shop and they can bang that shape out for you no problem in something like plexiglass and do it in an hour. It'll be clear, strong and won't shatter to shit when you're trying to make this thing. I'd look into that. Glass like that I'm thinking will be way too expensive for what you want to accomplish.

    You can always build the desk so that you can put in real glass if it all works out for you but I really recommend doing a plexiglass run on your first try as its cheaper and easier to work with than actual glass.

    DekuStick on
  • ImprovoloneImprovolone Registered User regular
    edited August 2009
    I thought you were talking about this
    monster-table-470-hed-0609.jpg
    http://www.popularmechanics.com/technology/how_to/4318067.html
    It's a liquid cooled computer built into a desk.

    Bonus: The article goes into fabrication and might give you some ideas

    Improvolone on
    Voice actor for hire. My time is free if your project is!
  • Liquid HellzLiquid Hellz Registered User regular
    edited August 2009
    Defiantly need to post in this thread again with pics when ever you are finished with this project please.

    Liquid Hellz on
    What I do for a living:
    Home Inspection and Wind Mitigation
    http://www.FairWindInspections.com/
  • TL DRTL DR Not at all confident in his reflexive opinions of thingsRegistered User regular
    edited August 2009
    Improv, that's the first thing I thought of as well.

    TL DR on
  • DissociaterDissociater Registered User regular
    edited August 2009
    DekuStick wrote: »
    While glass might be your ideal thing I've done work in a plastics fabcrication shop and they can bang that shape out for you no problem in something like plexiglass and do it in an hour. It'll be clear, strong and won't shatter to shit when you're trying to make this thing. I'd look into that. Glass like that I'm thinking will be way too expensive for what you want to accomplish.

    You can always build the desk so that you can put in real glass if it all works out for you but I really recommend doing a plexiglass run on your first try as its cheaper and easier to work with than actual glass.

    I'll definitely look into it. Thanks.

    I bookmarked that link too Improvolone.

    Dissociater on
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