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Thread: The Ultimate Computer Desk - 2 Integrated Computers

  1. #1

    The Ultimate Computer Desk - 2 Integrated Computers

    Hello all, I've been a long time browser, but have never posted. I love crawling through the project logs!

    I've started a new project of my own, a scratch-build of, in my mind, the ultimate computer desk.

    First off, I would like to thank Crucial, Kingston and Danger Den for sponsoring this project and helping to make this a reality!



    Danger Den

    It will house two desktop systems, 1 for high-powered gaming, and 1 24/7 file server and media player.

    1. Fan Control
    2. Dust Control
    3. Noise isolation
    4. 2 Computers
    5. Multiple Monitors

    I've already progressed into the mod several weeks, so this first update will be a doozy. I get to go into the shop about twice a week, so you can expect some regular updates over the next month or so.

    Stay tuned! Commends and criticism always welcomed and appreciated!!

  2. #2

    The Ultimate Computer Desk - 2 Integrated Computers

    Here's the 1st draft of the project. I created it using Google Sketchup.

    The material of choice is 3/4" Plywood. I started off by making sketches of how I would like the components to be laid out, and went from there! Enjoy the pics!

    Adding in the components.. Thanks to the authors at Google Sketchup Warehouse for saving me a ton of time!

    You can see in the above images, there is a hole in the "floor-pan" of the motherboard area, this is where the air intake will be - I will cover it with a piece of high quality furnace air filter for dust reduction.

    I went ahead and applied the same measurements to the other side of the desk, where the other computer and drawers will reside.

    And the end of the 1st draft. The boxes on the back of the desk will contain all of the cables. I'll seal off the tops with foam bits to keep dust out of them.

    Stay tuned! There were some things wrong with the 1st draft, which I will cover in the next post

  3. #3

    The Ultimate Computer Desk - 2 Integrated Computers

    Some things were wrong with the 1st draft, which would have made it problematic if I had gone out and started constructing it:

    1. All the joints are butt joints, so I would have a lot of screw holes to fill. Too many for my taste, in fact.
    2. The drawers are just drawer faces, they were missing their "bodies"
    3. Plywood has ugly edges, and I forgot to accommodate for having to put hard-wood trim on all visible edges
    4. 2 Monitors is so year 2000, I need to accommodate for someday having 3, of course!

    Here is the 2nd sketch, briefly:

    And, the final view of the final draft:

    With the draft thoroughly examined, I went ahead and made some cut sheets (Thank you Google Sketchup!):

    Ahh, 4 sheets of plywood. Time to go shopping!

    Stay tuned!

  4. #4

    The Ultimate Computer Desk - 2 Integrated Computers

    In case you were wondering, the two "cubby holes" on each side of the desk, in the top section, will house the DVD-Drives, custom fan control and power buttons, reset, led's, etc...

    So, I went off and purchased some 3/4" 2-sided maple-veneered plywood. Mmmm, nothing like FRESH WOOD (lol).

    The shop I have access to:

    The bad boy that will be the hero of today:

    Had a helper to do the initial lengthwise-cuts. Got her covered in sawdust before she left the shop to go inside

    Started on the smaller cuts..

    And.. made a big mess

    All in all, a good start to the project. Stay tuned, I'm cutting a hole next update! There was one 8' piece that I could not manage with the table saw, as I needed 28" lengths, so I'll cover that next time too!

  5. #5

    The Ultimate Computer Desk - 2 Integrated Computers

    So with the help of the shop owner, we rigged up a jig to do 28" cuts on the table saw: All the cuts are done!

    Next up was to put a hole in the desk surface area. I started with the bottom piece (It will be two pieces one on top of each other), since if I make a mistake, it will be easier to cover up. This hole needs to be .5" smaller all the way around - this is where the sheet of glass will rest on.

    I wish I had taken more photos of this process, but basically I measured it all out with a carpenters square, jigsawed a rough square, and then clamped a straight-edge down to finish off with a router. I'll take more pics for the second hole hopefully!

    Made a mistake here, router went a bit too far. I'll be able to cover this with the rubber gasket, however.

    And, the hero of the day

    Stay tuned! That's it for the initial update - I've got some photos of doing the drawers up, but I haven't had time to upload / organize them / photoshop out my cut-off appendages, etc...

  6. #6
    The Main Man Dewayne's Avatar
    Join Date
    Mar 2006

    The Ultimate Computer Desk - 2 Integrated Computers

    Hey thanks for posting this up! That idea looks rather awesome and should work out well. It looks like you have thought about making stuff so that you can do upgrades later and such. It also looks like someone has spent a little time with sketchup.

  7. #7

    The Ultimate Computer Desk - 2 Integrated Computers

    Hey thanks for posting this up! That idea looks rather awesome and should work out well. It looks like you have thought about making stuff so that you can do upgrades later and such. It also looks like someone has spent a little time with sketchup.
    Hi there, thanks Americanfreak, the encouragement is always welcome! I certainly have my fingers crossed for it working out well - I've never embarked on such a big, detailed project like this before. Yes, it will be as upgradeable as a standard ATX case, except, possibly, with even more room and customization capacity. I will be putting in a standard ATX motherboard tray.

    As far as the Sketchup stuff - I've made a half dozen aquarium stands / setups before, and I don't know what I would do without Sketchup! It's a really great tool!

    I was able to spend some time in the shop this weekend, and didn't get as much done as I would have liked to.

    One of the main things holding me back right now is the fact that I have not selected the motherboard tray, and template for the motherboard input and outputs, as well as PCI slots. This prevents me from cutting the holes accurately in the back of both of the modules, which prevents me from assembling the actual modules.

    I have some "spare" desktop chassis lying around, and will be working to find a solution to that soon.

    In the meantime, I started working on the drawers for the right-hand module.

    I first took them through the table saw again, trimming off the last 16th or two from some of the boards.

    Then went to work sanding all of the pieces down with 150 grit. I will likely go up to a 180 grit before the final stain goes on. I clamped a straight-edge on to the table saw so that it was easier to sand with the grain (Thanks Mike)

    Slowly, but surely, I went through all the pieces for the drawers, except for the faces. Yes, bad things happen when I don't have my sketchup drawings. I start drawing with markers.

    Mike was doing some work in the shop at the same time as me that day, so there was quite the mess.

    I put together my tools of the trade

    And here are the gluing steps I went through

    A few somewhat artistic clamp shots

    Everything looks pretty straight

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    Glued and clamped together the largest of the drawers, I will likely place some hanging folders in here.

    Then I screwed everything together with #8 1.5" screws, all holes pre-drilled and countersunk. Most of the holes will be covered by the actual drawer sliding mechanisms, but the exposed ones will get some wood putty.

    It's funny being in someone else's wood shop - I couldn't find the countersink bit anywhere - I tried looking through all the drill bit boxes (There were several) and nothing, so I had been using a small bit, then switching to the big bit to countersink, and then switching to the screw bit to screw in the holes.

    Mike walks in half-way through the holes and you could tell he was rather amused - he goes to the back of the shop, pulls out a box, pulls out a box from the box, and then a small medicine container out from the box in a box - "Geez, didn't I tell ya to just look around? Oh. Wait. I guess this one was sorta hard to find eh?".

    At that point, he also points out that there are several drills in the shop - silly me. So one drill with the countersink bit, one drill with the screw bit. It's been very interesting working in a shop dedicated to this type of work - very, very different from working in the basement with just basic hand tools.

    I haven't attached the faces of the drawers yet as I haven't determined how I would like to attach them. I would also like to attach the trim to the outer edges of the faces before attaching them to the drawers, since it'll be much easier to clamp all the faces together at once.

    And that's it for todays update - a bit short, yes, a lot of pictures of clamps, sorry, I got carried away

    I'm spending some time in the shop tonight, so hopefully I'll have another update for all of you tomorrow or the day after!

  8. #8

    The Ultimate Computer Desk - 2 Integrated Computers

    I finally got around to putting the second hole in the desk surface area (Since the desk is composed of two sheets of plywood, there are two holes needed, with the "top surface" needing a hole that is .5" larger all the way around, so the "bottom surface" supports the piece of glass which covers the gaming computer).

    I took a few more detailed pictures compared to last time.

    As with before, I started by cutting out a rough shape with the jigsaw. I was able to get within .5" comfortably of my marked lines. Sometimes if you rush the jigsaw, your cuts can get a little squirrely, so I was playing it safe. This is the top surface, so no screwing up here!!

    I then took an extra dose of patience, and went in straight to the corners with the jigsaw. This is a step I did not take last time, and I made a mistake with the router because of this.

    I then took the router and pressed the bit right into the corner, and clamped a straight-edge on behind it. This is how I set the distance from the bit to the straight-edge. I repeated the same for the other side.

    All it took was a good solid pass from right-to-left and I had a very clean straight edge without having to go all the way into the corners, where mistakes can be made, since it is quite difficult to see where the actual router bit is when the tool is running.

    Unclamp, reset router, reset clamps and straight edge, lather, rinse, and repeat:

    This hole had a very small margin of error overall, and I am very pleased with the result. The jigsaw is an incredible versatile tool and can be very accurate, as long as you have patience. This one corner is the only one that will need a touch-up with a file and/or sandpaper, and you can see, it's only going to need less than a 16th of material removal!

    And that's all I had time for in the shop that day Enjoy some of my mess!

    Until next time - I have some images in the queue, but I haven't quite gotten around to resizing them just yet

  9. #9

    The Ultimate Computer Desk - 2 Integrated Computers

    Hey everyone, it's been a little while since my last update, so here are a few snapshots. As some of you might know, I've been a little held back in the project due to not having selected my motherboard I/O plates and motherboard trays. Without having the actual items, I couldn't make the appropriate measurements to make cut-outs in the back of the cabinets, and therefore, was unable to make the dado cuts due to worry about everything not fitting properly.

    So I scrounged through some old desktop systems I had lying around, emptied their components into my bins, and decided to take apart their chassis in search of some good motherboard tray and I/O parts.

    So - off to the spooky basement with a pair of chassis, my trusty drill and dremel.

    Having never drilled rivets out of a case before, I wasn't entirely sure what to expect. At first, I started with a bit that was a little bit small, so the rivets came up onto the drill bit itself and got stuck on there pretty good. Eventually, I moved to a bigger bit, and all it took was one good squeeze of the trigger and the rivet would come right out nice and cleanly.

    Starting to rack up some parts here

    You can see in the image above that the I/O and PCI Plate is built right into the back of the desktop chassis - this is unfortunate, as you'll see in some future photos, my other case actually had a modular I/O plate. I'll have to take the dremel to that part to get what I need.

    Time to grab the pliers...

    Here is the shot of the back plate of the other desktop chassis - see how the I/O plate was actually riveted in, and not pressed as a whole back sheet like the other one? Soo much easier to deal with.

    That was a pretty fun experience taking apart the cases. I've got a bunch of scrap sheet metal now too - wonder what interesting projects I can come up with to use them...

    I need to dremel out the section that I need, as well as the power supply brackets.

    Huh.. that actually didn't work out too well, at least, not the way I would like. I'm going to take these parts to the shop to see if there are any better tools for getting nice clean lines.

    Until next time!

  10. #10

    The Ultimate Computer Desk - 2 Integrated Computers

    Try using a file to clean up the edges a bit.

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