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Scratch Build – In Progress The Ultimate Computer Desk - 2 Integrated Desktops (September 1)

Discussion in 'Project Logs' started by ultimatedesk, 29 Nov 2010.

  1. ultimatedesk

    ultimatedesk New Member

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    My Place

    Thanks Evolutionsic, I'm using a Canon Rebel XTi with a "stock" 55mm lens

    Glad you're enjoying, DeadP1xels. As an aside, I think I've spent around 100 hours on the desk so far (I have a handful of updates that haven't been posted yet) and I was actually working on stain samples this weekend. It is FRUSTRATING!

    I mean, here I am, with this sweet desk, and I could so easily mess the whole thing up in 1 hour if I don't the finish right ;) Hopefully everything turns out!

    Thanks Marcos_Viegas, stick around, there's plenty more to come!

    Thanks sc0ontz, nice name ;)

    Same here!

    Thanks k.3nny - planning and patience my friend!

    Thanks coolamasta - you'll see in todays update how sorely I've been wanting a new desk for a while... ;)


    Hey everyone, sorry for the lack of updates recently, I've been quite busy.

    I'll put up some new shots of my progress sometime this weekend, but here's some food for thought in the meantime.

    This is the upstairs of the place I moved into a few months ago, and where the desk will eventually go. It'll fit nicely in the space, about 6 or 7 inches wider than the current desk you see there, and it will occupy most of the length of the hallway.

    My current desk is a real pain in the butt. I purchased it used last year, and needed the smallest desk possible since I was living in a little bachelor on my own, in fact, my computer desk was beside the kitchen table and it was the only way I could get any work done! My knees always get jammed underneath the keyboard tray, so this new desk will resolve that issue as well! ;)

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    There she is. Yes, it's a Guild Wars mousepad that I got for free with the game so many years ago. Yes, that's a BMW M5, the sweetest kind there is / ever was. Yes, it's a crappy desk.

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    And here's my current system, an old Pentium 4 3.2Ghz. The Coolermaster CM690 was upgraded to only a year ago or so (Thanks sis).

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    You can see I had to cut away a portion of the desk in the back to make the tower fit. Hilarious, I know.

    Take care, I'll get you guys a nice big update posted on the weekend ;)
     
  2. ultimatedesk

    ultimatedesk New Member

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    Trimming the Drawer Faces

    Had another really busy weekend and unfortunately, wasn't able to post the update on the weekend like I originally wanted to...

    BUT! Made a new friend - meet Mr.Air Nailer.

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    Nice and fast, no need to clamp everything down, and I can get a lot more trim done a lot quicker.

    I really did a better job of being picky with the trim, and selected cuts that matched the colour a lot better:

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    Compared to the first drawer face that I tried:

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    That had to change, so I took my most subtle and elegant tools:

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    And, replaced the two mis-coloured pieces with nicer ones.

    Anyways - this is what my trim production line looked like for the day:

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    First, I would mark off the lengths on an appropriately coloured piece of trim just using a pencil and holding the trim against the piece:

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    Take it over to the miter saw and trim it to within a sixteenth of an inch or so on both ends:

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    See that cedar log in the bottom right? Remember it being longer? Mike was in the shop today turning them into table legs, which partially explains the big mess!

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    I then took the piece that is being trimmed, as well as the trim, to the little sander. I would sand to a good 90 degree angle, and get the length just right.

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    Glue down, and nail down!

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    Occasionally, I'll crack the trim with the nailer... which means it has to be removed, and re-done with a new piece of trim:

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    After some sanding:

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    I finished all 3 drawer faces and then got started on the actual drawers. They look pretty decent. Not perfect, but they look nice.

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  3. Fedmas

    Fedmas Leader of the casemod watchers :D

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    Nice place ! nice update :)
     
  4. SinnerG

    SinnerG New Member

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    This is looking awesome! Will be watching to see the final product.

    I've been wanting to build a desk for myself for ages. I just don't have all the tools for it.

    I want a desk where, when I cross my legs, it doesn't use my knee as another support. :p And a desk where I can stretch my legs out underneath without moving away and out of reach of the keyboard. Do they make standard and office desks for small people these days? I mean, I'm only 6ft ... how do taller people fit "regular" desks? :eyebrow:
     
  5. masterchief9615

    masterchief9615 PC builder / Modder

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    So excited to see this finished! Looking good!
     
  6. ultimatedesk

    ultimatedesk New Member

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    Some Drawer Work

    Thanks Fedmas

    I know what you mean, I'm a little over 6ft myself, and I always find myself hitting my knees and feet under the desk - which I guess - is why I decided to build my own! ;)

    Thanks masterchief9615!

    I used a fairly similar process as the drawer faces, I started out by cutting myself some fresh trim strips from this piece of maple:

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    Hit the miter saw and sander, and lay down some glue:

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    Then with the nailer. Whoops, one more split.

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    Here's a before and after shot from the sanding. You'll notice the maple strips got burnt pretty badly when I put them through the table saw (The blade is getting a bit old). After a bit of sanding, they look as fresh as ever:

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  7. ultimatedesk

    ultimatedesk New Member

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    After trimming all of the drawers and faces, I had to get some wood filler to fill in all of the screw and nail holes, as well as the small voids between the plywood and solid wood. All in all, this process went OK - not as nice as I would have liked.

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    For the mostpart, I used Elmers Natural Colour Wood Filler. While it did the job, the colour matching wasn't exactly... inconspicious, to say the least. I also tried mixing some sawdust from the random-orbit sander with some wood glue, with not so great results.

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    You can clearly see, in the end result, that the sawdust/glue filler looks more like glue. It has an almost transparent look to it. I guess I should have used more sawdust?

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    Anyways, I finished up the rest of the voids and holes with the regular Elmers stuff:

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    And then sanded it it all up:

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    Anyone have any tips on how I can further hide the holes? I will have to go over them again with some more wood filler just to smooth them out completely, but even so, I have a feeling that the stain will accentuate all of my filling, which is not the desired effect, to say the least!!

    I have ALMOST determined the stain / technique I will be using. I'm getting some very nice, richly coloured red mahogany / cherry right now on my test boards. With that in mind, has anyone used darker wood filler than the natural wood, when staining dark with good effect?
     
  8. DeadP1xels

    DeadP1xels Music Enthusiast

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    There is some wood putty you can get that they make to match the tones of the wood if you got some of that and went just over the remaining surface you should'nt see it at all

    May i say i've always wondered how to deal with plywood edges mine was always use putty along the edges and sand flat but the trim pieces look great! +rep
     
  9. ultimatedesk

    ultimatedesk New Member

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    Thanks DeadP1xels, I'll have to pay a little more attention at the local hardware store the next time I'm there and pick up a few different shades of the wood putty. The trim pieces on the drawers, I think, look pretty sharp. I think the next time I do that, I could go with almost half of the thickness though.
     
  10. ultimatedesk

    ultimatedesk New Member

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    New Sponsor - Crucial!

    Received a nice package in the mail a couple weeks ago that I've been meaning to show off...

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    What could it be?

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    Woohoo!!!

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    That's:
    4 x 2 GB of 1600Mhz CL7 Ballistix RAM from Crucial and
    2 x 2 GB of 1333Mhz ECC, Registered RDIMM RAM from Crucial!

    So it looks like for the main system I will have some options. Currently I'm thinking either a socket 1156 Core i5/i7 or a newer Sandy Bridge socket 1155. The only issue that may occur with the Sandy Bridge is that those Crucial Ballistix are rated for 1.65 Volts, which I understand is a bit over the recommended voltage for RAM for the 1155 boards. There is a possibility of looking at an AMD AM3 system as well with a Phenom x4 or x6 - I have not made up my mind entirely yet.

    For the server system, I am almost definetely going with a Xeon processor - which motherboard is still in the air.

    Aren't they so nice? ;)

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    Can't wait to open them up and test them out! It'll have to wait for now, however.

    So here's a distraction - my cat! She's going to have some kittens soon!

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    Big thanks go out to Crucial, who are officially the first sponsor for The Ultimate Computer Desk

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    Stay tuned, lots of updates in the pipeline!
     
  11. ultimatedesk

    ultimatedesk New Member

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    Last time I left off, with regards to the table surface, I had just finished gluing and screwing it together. I put it on the backburner for about a week to dry while I worked on the drawers, and now I'm going to take it down in preparation for putting the outer trim on it.

    Here it is:

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    All 4 sides were a bit off, with regards to the flushness. This was expected, as the initial sizing cuts were pretty rough, and it's better to have extra material than not enough.

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    Took out a straight-cut flush bit for the router, and some 60-grit sandpaper for the random orbital sander, and got to work. I did two passes with the router, because since the bit is not 1 1/2" tall, I couldn't trim the whole side of the table with just one pass.

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    And, after a bit of work, the final result:

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    The next step is to take a long strip of maple and turn it into trim for the table surface.
     
  12. The_Beast

    The_Beast I like wood ಠ_ಠ

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    Very nice, a lot of desk with built in computer are showing up lately



    :thumb:
     
  13. ultimatedesk

    ultimatedesk New Member

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    Thanks

    Thanks, The_Beast :)

    Isn't it weird? When I first started designing this desk, I had done quite a bit of searching online for other projects and plans, and turned up with surprisingly little.

    I guess a lot of other people were thinking the exact same thing at the same time!

    Personally, I wouldn't be surprised if in the future we see more specialized desks like this. I'd like to see a desk designed for a laptop, with a little cooling station built into the desk surface ;)
     
  14. M7ck

    M7ck Ⓜod Ⓜaster

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    Why don't you stick 8 120mm fans into the desk (slightly recessed) with a drilled piece of plexi over it flush to the desk. You could add a toggle switch so that those fans only come on when you want them to (ie when you have a laptop sitting on top).
     
  15. ultimatedesk

    ultimatedesk New Member

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    Adding Trim to the Desk Surface

    That's pretty much what I'm thinking - it would be like a sweet air hockey table ;) Hover laptops!

    The last time I left off, I had just finished flushing the sides of the table in preparation to add some trim. I found a nice piece of long maple that was just a little over 8 feet long, a little wider than 1.5 inches, and thick enough to cut some 1/4 inch strips from.

    I layed it out, setup the table saw and cut myself a test piece.

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    Looks good!

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    Here's a pic of the cutting process. I'm afraid I had some difficulty with this. Actually, let me rephrase - the saw had some difficulty with this. I was still using the same blade I've been using the whole project - which needs replacement pretty badly. Asking it to cut through 1.5 inches of maple, for a length of 8 feet was asking a lot of it.

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    I made it through eventually, but the whole process left quite a few burn marks on the wood.

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    I glued and nailed the trim around the perimeter of the desk, which was a pretty straightforward process.

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    And then took out a hand plane to get rid of most of the excess material and bring the trim down flush with the desk surface. Some neat pictures here.

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    After some sanding with some 60-grit on the random orbit sander to get everything smooth, I went nuts with the wood filler.

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    At that point I stood the surface up in the back of the shop and called it a night.

    Next update in the loop, I setup some dado blades in the table saw, mmm mmmm, that was fun!

    Have a good weekend everyone!
     
  16. ultimatedesk

    ultimatedesk New Member

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    Dado Cutting

    It's been a while since the last update, but basically, I got around to installing the dado blade on the table saw to make some important cuts for the two cabinets, and was able to do a bit of test fitting.

    For those of you not really in the know, a dado blade has two regular saw blades (One for the left, one for the right) and some irregular shaped blades of varying thickness that you put in between, until you get the right width. I'll let the pictures do the talking.

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    The beauty of using dado blades in the table saw (At least I think) is that you can set it up at the right height and width, and then set the fence to the proper width and do all 3 of your supporting boards one after another so they will be lined up perfectly when it comes time for assembly.

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    I put 3 cuts in each of the 3 supporting walls of the left-hand cabinet. There was a bit of chipping, I should have probably put down some masking tape, but it's nothing major and will be on the inside anyways.

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    I threw on a bit of wood filler to patch up the chipped parts, and then let these 3 dry while I worked on the right-hand cabinet cuts.

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    I then had some time to put together a quick test fitting! Not bad! Some of the wood was just a bit crooked, so I'll have to spend some time with the sander to loosen up some of the dado joints.

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    This pretty much completes the first phase of the project - I won't have any use for any of the big, messy tools anymore.

    All that's really left are a few small detail cuts, some holes need to be cut out, the whole thing needs to be sanded to pre-stain state, and then assembly and staining!

    I'll be bringing all of the materials back to my place where I'll be doing just that.
     
  17. ultimatedesk

    ultimatedesk New Member

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    Basement Move

    And, through the miracle of internet technology, I'm bringing you the next update right away!

    There wasn't much work done in this update - just thought I'd show everyone where the progress is going to be taking place from now on. The spooky basement in my building!

    It's a really old house, at least over a hundred years old, in fact, there's a 12" x 12" solid beam of wood running as the main support member along the entire length of the house, it must be at least 30 feet long. Can't get those any more!!!

    My main complaint with the basement is that I am constantly bashing my head on the low ceiling beams, and it's quite cold! Getting motivated to go work down there is not nearly as easy as working in the nice, heated wood shop.

    Time to let the pictures do the talking:

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    I purchased a new shop vac at Canadian Tire along with a bunch of other stuff during the Boxing Week sales after Christmas. Sweet.

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    I also setup a plastic wall to help prevent sawdust from going all over the basement, as well as to help keep any breezes contained when it comes time to stain.

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    Some of my personal tools:

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    And there we have it! Until next time, have a good weekend!
     
  18. Yaka

    Yaka Well-Known Member

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    was gonna say get a vacum for the saw dust when i saw the first cellar/basement pic, makes a massive differance both for your self and your tools an work space.

    keeps those pics coming:p
     
  19. Overheated

    Overheated New Member

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    Love the concept and it seems to be coming together well :)
     
  20. PureSilver

    PureSilver E-tailer Tailor

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    Looking good!
     

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