Scratch Build: The Ultimate Computer Desk

Discussion in 'Computer Cases, Power Supplies and Cooling' started by ultimatedesk, Dec 29, 2010.

  1. danthrax

    danthrax New Member

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    597
    What the hell are you sad for??
     
  2. npuesey

    npuesey New Member

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    Is the build finished yet?
     
  3. ultimatedesk

    ultimatedesk New Member

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    Some More Hardware

    Aww c'mon, no need to be sad!

    Thanks for the info Benny - I checked out the site. I had read a bit about dye stains, but I could not find anywhere locally to go and check them out in person. Calling a local millwork company is a fantastic idea. I have, unfortunately, already stained a few of the actual pieces, so this is what I will be sticking with for the entirety of the project, but I will certainly check out the Mohawk products in the future.

    Seriously!

    I wish!!


    Sorry about the lack of updates everyone, it's not that I haven't been working on the desk much, but it's more that I've been using the camera a lot (You know.. kittens) and I haven't had time to sit down and sort through all the photos, re-size, crop, etc for some real proper updates.

    I've had this update sitting on the back burner for a little while now and I've been meaning to squeeze in it somewhere. I had been talking with some folks at Danger Den because I was looking at their motherboard trays and I/O panels, and they've decided to sponsor me!

    Big thanks go out to Danger Den, as these are critical components required for a professional end result - you've all seen the mangled results of the cases I tore up earlier in the project.

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    http://www.dangerden.com

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    Everything came very nicely packed - not much loose play, and plenty of foam to absorb any shipping issues.

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    I had these PSU support brackets custom made:

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    I sent them a higher resolution image of this, that I threw together in Sketchup:

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    Also included in this little shipment were some momentary switches for power and reset. (These are really popular these days, aren't they?)

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    And some real nifty motherboard trays:

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    All the acrylic is 1/2" clear - I will leave them wrapped up until the project is close to completion. With these parts -finally- settled, I can cut some holes in the cabinets and actually put them together -for real- !!

    Stay tuned, I'll sit down this weekend and sort through the next round of updates ;)
     
  4. linkin

    linkin VIP Member

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    13,521
    Looks like it's all coming together nicely :D

    I can't wait to see the finished product.
     
  5. ultimatedesk

    ultimatedesk New Member

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    IO Slot Cutting

    Slowly, but surely! It's taken a while to get here, but I can finally see the light on the horizon lol


    So - it's been sometime since I've posted an update - apologies, things have been very busy lately.

    With the parts from Danger Den having arrived, I could now move on to some more specific details with both of the cabinets that will contain the computers.

    Once again, I started with a test fitting, this time, it was a very accurate fitting, requiring quite a bit of sanding and fiddling around to get as close to the final product as possible.

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    I then placed some test parts for fitting, and traced some outlines on the wood. The motherboard tray was placed on some thin strips of packing foam that I cut up, to help isolate any vibration from the CPU Heatsink.

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    Installed some new blades on the jigsaw, put my biggest drill bit in the drill, and went to town!

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    After doing the rough cut with the jigsaw, I took out the router and free-handed with a straight bit to smooth out the edges.

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    The semi-finished air intake for the left-hand cabinet:

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    The power supply rough cut:

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    I decided that the PSU bolts will need a little more clearance around the screw holes.

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    The I/O Shield cut out was a bit tricky to measure, but I think I did a pretty decent job:

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    And a final shot from above and below:

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    Next update, I'll have pics of actual assembly of the left hand cabinet, and then more cutting, and biscuit joining on the right-hand cabinet.
     
  6. emac227

    emac227 New Member

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    ahh i need more updates. i check everyday to see if you posted more pictures! :)
     
  7. ultimatedesk

    ultimatedesk New Member

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    Left Cabinet Assembly

    lol, thanks for the support emac227, sorry things have been a little slow lately! ;)

    It's been a while, but I can assure you, progress is still moving forward with the Ultimate Computer Desk!

    I finally got around to assembling the left-hand cabinet - here it is, all glued and clamped together. It's a really solid unit - the dado cuts lined up really well, and the structure is rock solid.

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    Here I am doing a mock-up of the right-hand cabinet. This one was a little trickier to put together. There is a pretty specific order of assembly, otherwise, you're left with a piece that just doesn't want to fit properly.

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    Some outlines for the motherboard I/O and power supply

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    I remember mentioning that I free-handed the holes with the router for the left-hand cabinet. I decided to play a safer route for the right-hand cabinet.

    I took a piece of wood, lined it up with my straight edge, and ran my router on top of the wood with a straight bit - this game me a perfect "stencil". What I can do then, is take the stencil, line up the edge with a line that I've drawn on the target piece, place a straight edge behind the stencil, clamp down the straight edge, remove the stencil, and run my router across the straight edge for a straight, accurate line.

    Wow, that was a mouthful.

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    And the end product:

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    And then I made a pretty huge mistake...

    Here is the suspect:

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    Bam. Can you guess why this was a bad idea?

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  8. Benny Boy

    Benny Boy Active Member

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    2,861
    Drilled thru to the piece underneath?
     
  9. FuryRosewood

    FuryRosewood Active Member

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    2,964
    its not a mistake, its a feature! just make it work c.c
     
  10. NyxCharon

    NyxCharon Active Member

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    1,433
    That would be my guess too.
     
  11. Iceyn1pples

    Iceyn1pples New Member

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    107
    I wish i had the skills and resources to do this project...Kudos to you!

    If i might add my 2 cents, i would suggest that you turn your gaming computer compartment, into a removable compartment. Example, make it a drawer underneath the glass. that way, at least the PC can be moved around if need be, and prolly be much easier for upgrades.

    Love your file server compartment tho, pretty sleek. The only problem i see is that the keyboard compartment is kinda pointless...if its a server, might as well just Remote Desktop into it, saves hardware, and all you need is the power cable and an ethernet, Hopefully you plan on getting a GIGABIT router and use the LAN insteand of wireless.

    Awesome work tho!
     
  12. ultimatedesk

    ultimatedesk New Member

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    62
    Lol, not a mistake, a feature!

    Hmm.. little bit late for the drawer idea, but it is certainly a good one I'll have to keep in mind for the next big project. As for remoting in - occasionally there will be a second user for some multiplayer gaming, or I'll want to fire up a movie on the second computer without quitting any full screen apps I might be running on the primary.

    Holy moly, I'm really sorry for the lack of updates folks - I've been sick for quite a while and the weather has been miserable so I haven't had much time to work on the desk. Apparently I had cedar poisoning! Wonderful!

    Anyways - back on track!

    Those of you who guessed it right - yes, I shouldn't have made the hole in the first place. I don't know what I was thinking. This is the right-hand cabinet.

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    Whoops!

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    Here's the biscuit joiner I was using. It worked pretty well for what it is. The tricky part was determining the order of which pieces/faces/sides to glue first and how to keep it all from falling apart before completion.

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    Here's the left-hand cabinet all dried and ready for some trim

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    And voila, my erm.. elegant clamping solution (I need to grab some cauls!)

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    Hope you enjoy! Rest assured, this project WILL BE FINISHED! Just.. mm, I don't really know when. I'm moving in a month and a half, so all the staining/sanding will have to be done, at a minimum.

    Take care!
     
  13. linkin

    linkin VIP Member

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    13,521
    Coming together nicely, quite literally :)
     
  14. ultimatedesk

    ultimatedesk New Member

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    Staining the Desk Surface

    Hehe, I see what you did there ;)

    This part of the project took a better part of a month. There was a lot of sanding, waiting, and sweating as I put on each thin layer of polyurethane on the desk surface.

    Here it is at the start of the phase - what a mess!

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    You can see there was still sanding to do from when I put in the wood filler back in... November!

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    All cleaned up, ready to rock the stain. It was starting to get nice as well so it was time to lube up the 'ol bike chain as well!

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    Part way through the first coat

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    Note that this is the bottom of the desk surface. I did this intially without any kind of pre-stain or wood treatment to see if I could get away with it.

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    I actually noticed a significant amount of dark spots and uneveness, so for the top of the desk, and for all future staining, I went with a pre-stain, and two coats of Old Masters Gel Stain. Here is the desk surface approximately a month later with around 8 coats of polyurethane on top. It will be getting a good ol fashion rubbing out in another month from now once it has fully cured.

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    Have a good weekend everyone!
     
  15. Aastii

    Aastii VIP Member

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    13,291
    omg that looks beautiful :eek:

    That is something I didn't think I would end up saying...about a desk :p
     
  16. NyxCharon

    NyxCharon Active Member

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    1,433
    Looks great man! :)
     
  17. Perkomate

    Perkomate Active Member

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    1,751
    i really like the shine and that the grain in the timber shows too. what kinda wood are you using?
     
  18. linkin

    linkin VIP Member

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    13,521
    I want one! :D
     
  19. ultimatedesk

    ultimatedesk New Member

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    62
    Prepping the Upper Desk

    lol, never thought I'd hear it either!

    Thanks!

    It's maple-veneered plywood, with Old Masters Deep Red Mahogany Gel Stain (2 coats + gloss poly)

    Hehe, same here! ;)

    So, with the main desk surface out of the way, it was time to start focusing on the top shelf portion, which, at this point, hadn't been sanded, cut perfectly, or assembled. Here were all the pieces required.

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    A quick mock up:

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    A few tests with the biscuit joiner to make sure I was aligned properly:

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    I couldn't get it exactly in the center - the bottom of the joiner is a bit concave and it made lining it up a little difficult. The tool is generally used to join boards end to end, so there wasn't really any facility for on-face joining like this.

    Assembly and glue up time:

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    Enjoy! You can never have too many clamps you know? I couldn't continue on doing the side pods until this stuff dried up first.
     
  20. linkin

    linkin VIP Member

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    13,521
    So many clamps :eek:

    I can't wait to see this thing finished :D
     

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