Modder Alias: Ultimatedesk
Real name: Adam Derome
Live: Ottawa, Ontario
Occupation: Computer Technician / Technical Trainer
Years in Computers: 18 years
Length of time Modding: 1 year
Modded cases: This is my first
I want to thank you for agreeing to our interview and congratulation on winning the Featured Rig of the Month here at Modders-Inc.
Everyone has a story of what got them into Modding. What or whom got you into Modding?
Adam-This is my first true computer mod, and what got me started was this crazy small desk that housed my existing system. I had to cut out a back panel to make my case fit properly in the tower area, the cables always got caught in spaghetti in the back, the whole desk shook when I pulled out the keyboard tray, and with two monitors, there was no room for anything greater than a small stack of papers on the desk surface. I had had enough and decided hey – it was time for a custom desk for custom computers.
Where do you get your inspiration for your mods?
I’ve always been a fan of woodworking, so I already had an idea of how the finished product would look, what materials I would use, and how it would be constructed, but after doing a few Google searches, there were a few outstanding desks out there including the famous L3p D3sk, and others, that gave me some great layout ideas.
What were the thoughts behind the winning mod?
Adam-If I was going to invest the time and money into making a really good computer desk, it had better be the best, hence the name, The Ultimate Computer Desk. I wanted it to have some class, like it could fit in at a nice office, and it wouldn’t scream out visually, but whenever someone took a closer look, they would say something like “Wow. That is a really nice desk. Holy moly, two computers built in? How cool is that! What? You built that!!?”
Why did you do it the way you did?
Adam-A big portion of the project was careful planning. When designing furniture, and any other object, I find it helpful to think like an Ikea instruction manual. It’s one thing to design the overall dimensions and look, but it’s another thing entirely to take it step by step how it will be assembled, taking into consideration the strength and functionality.
I wanted it to be strong enough to deal with the day to day abuse, have enough space to allow for future upgrades, look good, have good air ventilation, dust filtration, and have the cables as concealed as possible.
I ended up going with Maple veneered plywood not only because of the strength and cost, but also because a nice hand-made piece of wooden furniture is something special these days.
What do you think was the hardest part about the mod.
Adam-The hardest part was the staining, and applying of the gloss Polyurethane. When I started the first coats, it was in the middle of the winter, and I was in a cold basement, so it would take close to 12 hours for the Polyurethane to dry. What that meant was, the Polyurethane had 12 hours to pick up every single speck of dust floating in the air, which meant hours and hours of sanding, re-applying, sanding, re-applying, on and on. It tested my already strong patience to the limit. How was I going to get that perfect finish after all these hours of cutting, sanding and assembly!!
Did it turn out how you thought it would?
Adam-The moment of elation came when I finally assembled all 4 pieces as one (The two cabinets, the desk surface, and the top shelf), pulled up a chair, and sat down at the rough product for the first time. Yes, it certainly did come out as I had hoped. The feeling of satisfaction and relief washed over like a tidal wave. The measurements were correct! The desk surface was at the right height! The monitors would rest at eye level! Eureka!
Is there anything you might have wanted to do different?
Adam-The cutouts for the motherboard I/O ports were a little sloppy, some of the joinery could have used more advanced techniques, a different product for the final finish could have been chosen to prevent all the issues with the dust previously mentioned, different materials could have been used for different portions of the project in the name of weight savings, the way the cabinets line up with the desk surface could have been thought through better, some of my cuts could have been straighter… Should I go on? The fun is in the making, and you can bet I’m already thinking of Version 2!! It’s a constant learning process!
How much time and money do you think you spent on the mod?
Adam-This can be divided into two costs – the cost for the materials alone, and the cost for the materials, plus all the new tools I purchased in order to do this project. The cost for the materials alone I’m estimating cost around 600, which all in all, is a pretty good bargain compared to what kind of run-of-the-mill desk you can get at your local retailer. Now, if you take into consideration all the new tools I bought myself… Well, maybe I spent a bit more than I planned, but at least the tools will be around for future projects!
Do you have another project in the shop or in the planning?
Adam-Aside from finishing up all the details on the current project (Cable, dust and airflow management, brackets for various components, etc…), I think this summer I’ll build myself a dresser! After that, maybe I’ll think about building my brother The Ultimate Computer Desk Version 2!