Scratch Build: The Ultimate Computer Desk (56k Warning!!)

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Re: Scratch Build: The Ultimate Computer Desk (56k Warning!!

Postby Major_A » Thu Mar 24, 2011 5:25 pm

Congrats on the SSD. I hope they aren't compromising your product to somehow incorporate their logo into it.

That gel stain in the last picture is looking good. I like the color and the gloss/shine it has to it. Reminds me of some highend hardwood flooring.

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Some More Hardware

Postby ultimatedesk » Thu Mar 31, 2011 3:34 pm

Major_A wrote:Congrats on the SSD. I hope they aren't compromising your product to somehow incorporate their logo into it.

That gel stain in the last picture is looking good. I like the color and the gloss/shine it has to it. Reminds me of some highend hardwood flooring.
Thanks Major_A - they made me tattoo the Kingston logo on my forehead. I figure, hey, it's a sweet SSD, this is totally worth it..

Heh, naw, Kingston is very cool - they get a good honorable mention, and they get to help me make this a truly fantastic project ;)

And yes, thanks for the comments on the stain, I'm particularly fond of it as well. I hope I can replicated it easily on the actual finished piece!


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 ;)

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Re: Scratch Build: The Ultimate Computer Desk (56k Warning!!

Postby Major_A » Thu Mar 31, 2011 6:08 pm

I like the power and reset buttons.

Who cut the acrylic for you?

What are you planning on installing in this beast? Or are you waiting until it's done to order the parts? I've seen projects where they order the parts and a year later their done. So they have a sweet case/desk with outdated hardware.

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IO Slot Cutting

Postby ultimatedesk » Tue Apr 12, 2011 10:46 am

Major_A wrote:I like the power and reset buttons.

Who cut the acrylic for you?

What are you planning on installing in this beast? Or are you waiting until it's done to order the parts? I've seen projects where they order the parts and a year later their done. So they have a sweet case/desk with outdated hardware.
Danger Den cut the acrylic for me. I know what you mean about outdating hardware. I've been working on this project for 6 months already! I will likely wait until the desk portion is actually done before I order / save up any money for the hardware.

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.

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Re: Scratch Build: The Ultimate Computer Desk (56k Warning!!

Postby Major_A » Tue Apr 12, 2011 12:24 pm

Man you are making some nice cuts with your router. Kudos. Wish I had the money and someone to teach me proper woodworking. I once tried to build a speaker stand out of spare wood and it was a giant disaster. No personal injuries though, thank God.

See that old Socket A board you kept was for a reason. I can't manage to throw out old working motherboards and processors myself.

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Re: Scratch Build: The Ultimate Computer Desk (56k Warning!!

Postby Darkstar » Tue Apr 12, 2011 12:55 pm

Nice job!

that router bit cabinet is a nice touch, looks like it came right out of a vendor display! :)

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Left Cabinet Assembly

Postby ultimatedesk » Wed Apr 20, 2011 3:40 pm

Major_A wrote:Man you are making some nice cuts with your router. Kudos. Wish I had the money and someone to teach me proper woodworking. I once tried to build a speaker stand out of spare wood and it was a giant disaster. No personal injuries though, thank God.

See that old Socket A board you kept was for a reason. I can't manage to throw out old working motherboards and processors myself.
Thanks Major_A - it's all about patience! (At least for me!) - and that's a Socket 478 if I'm not mistaken ;) ;) I've got a pile of old motherboards as well - never know when a friend or family member will need a basic machine to browse around!
Darkstar wrote:Nice job!

that router bit cabinet is a nice touch, looks like it came right out of a vendor display! :)

:drinkers:
Thanks Darkstar - the bit cabinet is pretty sweet eh? I got the router and bits used from a retired vet who was losing his eyesight, gave me a really great deal!


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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Right Cabinet Assembly

Postby ultimatedesk » Tue May 17, 2011 2:50 pm

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!

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Staining the Desk Surface

Postby ultimatedesk » Fri May 20, 2011 1:37 pm

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!

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Re: Scratch Build: The Ultimate Computer Desk (56k Warning!!

Postby Major_A » Fri May 20, 2011 2:40 pm

Looking good, really like the finish on it. Keep up the good work!

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Prepping the Upper Desk

Postby ultimatedesk » Wed May 25, 2011 3:30 pm

Major_A wrote:Looking good, really like the finish on it. Keep up the good work!
Thanks Major_A!

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.

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Re: Scratch Build: The Ultimate Computer Desk (56k Warning!!

Postby FZ1 » Wed May 25, 2011 5:34 pm

Wow...very nice so far!
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Re: Scratch Build: The Ultimate Computer Desk (56k Warning!!

Postby camaroguy1998 » Thu May 26, 2011 12:11 am

FZ1 wrote:Wow...very nice so far!


+1
Looking forward to the finished product!
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Top Shelf Assembly

Postby ultimatedesk » Fri May 27, 2011 2:12 pm

FZ1 wrote:Wow...very nice so far!

camaroguy1998 wrote:
FZ1 wrote:Wow...very nice so far!


+1
Looking forward to the finished product!
Thanks guys, I really appreciate the comments!

With the first phase of the top shelf all solid and dried, I could continue on to the two side pods. Here's the initial mockup.

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Notice the pencil lines for the biscuits I'll be installing.

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Those biscuits are so dark and moody... lol!

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Aaand, some gratuitous clamping shots. Like that extra-long setup? Yeah, that worked this time, but I don't recommend it. It wasn't too stable, but there wasn't really anything else I could clamp on to for that end-pressure required.

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Mmmm glue.

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So that's it for this update, I know it's a pretty simple one, but hey, it's one more phase done. Just needs to have some trim stuck on and then staining!

Have a good weekend!

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Re: Scratch Build: The Ultimate Computer Desk (56k Warning!!

Postby kappage » Tue May 31, 2011 7:36 am

Not to criticise your work, done a fair bit of wood working, aswell as my brother. Why didnt you use a biscuit cutter, and put biscuits into all of the joints to make them stronger?

But other than that Looks Sweet!

***Edt***
Saw some biscuits in the later photos. Did you use them on every joint?
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Re: Scratch Build: The Ultimate Computer Desk (56k Warning!!

Postby Darkstar » Tue May 31, 2011 7:46 am

Looking good!

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Re: Scratch Build: The Ultimate Computer Desk (56k Warning!!

Postby DJ Tucker » Thu Jun 09, 2011 10:55 am

fantastic job and loving the systems going into it. so now all i need is for you to give me your address and all will be good :lol: but seriously you got one smart mind as that must of took so time to come up with the idea and now the time put it all together. again congrats. can't wait for finished product and some benchmarks :)
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Re: Scratch Build: The Ultimate Computer Desk (56k Warning!!

Postby skier » Fri Jun 10, 2011 9:47 am

Coming along great by the looks 8)
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Re: Scratch Build: The Ultimate Computer Desk (56k Warning!!

Postby ultimatedesk » Mon Jun 20, 2011 2:54 pm

kappage wrote:Not to criticise your work, done a fair bit of wood working, aswell as my brother. Why didnt you use a biscuit cutter, and put biscuits into all of the joints to make them stronger?

But other than that Looks Sweet!

***Edt***
Saw some biscuits in the later photos. Did you use them on every joint?
Heh, thanks kappage, and yes, I used biscuit joints for the two cabinets as well as the top shelf. I did use screws and glue for the drawers, however.

Darkstar wrote:Looking good!

:drinkers:
Thanks Darkstar!

DJ Tucker wrote:fantastic job and loving the systems going into it. so now all i need is for you to give me your address and all will be good :lol: but seriously you got one smart mind as that must of took so time to come up with the idea and now the time put it all together. again congrats. can't wait for finished product and some benchmarks :)
Hehee, thanks DJ Tucker, I live at 52913abcdefg Alaska lane, you can't miss it ;)

Ok, so it's been a little while since an update eh?

I've been busy, sorry folks, life seems to speed up in the summertime!

As a peace offering, here are the kiddo's, at about 4 months old now!

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And, back to the desk!

I had a bunch of solid maple cut into more 1/4" strips so I could finish doing the trim on the top shelf and the cabinets.

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My trusty compound mitre saw - got it reconditioned at a bargain place for like 60 dollars, and it's been pretty reliable for a number of years now. It's loud as all heck though!

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And, my favorite part - clamping up!

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And, since there was nowhere to place clamps in between this area, I had to improvise with a small block of wood!

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Staining Stuff

Postby ultimatedesk » Mon Jun 20, 2011 2:55 pm

After the trim was glued on and then sanded flush, I proceeded with the staining and poly

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Looks good, eh?

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I also finally decided to buckle down and build myself a quick rig to store all my clamps. Since I'm moving soon, it'll also make it easier to move them to the new place! Nice lap joints eh!!

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I proceeded to the cabinet drawers, where I finally sanded off the wood filler that's been attached for weeks (months?)

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Lined up the drawer faces, glued them on (Was going to screw them on after, from behind. Lol)

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And put a bit of weight on top..

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Walked away for a bit, and realized... maybe it was a bad idea to glue them on first! Uh oh!

I decided that it might actually be a lot easier to line up the drawer faces if I attached them AFTER I had attached the drawers to the drawer slides, to I ripped em off.

So, next on the list - staining the actual drawers!

Pre-stain on!

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Mmm, they look so good

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And, poly of course

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Done!

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And just so ya know, it really did basically take a month just to finish the top shelf and the drawers... more to come soon!


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