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ultimatedesk

Project: Ultimate Ultra Super Awesome Overclocked Computer Desk - 2 In

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Hello all - I've been a long time browser of this community forum and recently I decided to embark on a huge project, to create my ultimate computer desk.

 

I'd like to firstly thank Crucial, Kingston and Danger Den for sponsoring this project and for helping to make this project a reality!

 

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So this is my first time posting! Woohoo!

 

Stay tuned, because I'm going to be working on this thing non-stop for the next couple months (Or, until completion, of course).

 

I'm making a super wicked computer desk that is going to have 2 computers built right in - 1 that is an overclocked gaming maniac machine, and the other, a 24/7 file server / media player! I'll be building the whole thing from 3/4" Plywood.

 

The requirements in my mind when I started were:

1. Fan Control

2. Noise Isolation

3. Dust Control

4. Multiple Monitors

5. Two Computers

 

This is what I started with:

3/4" Plywood

Measurements of ATX Motherboard, and other computer components

Piece of paper and sketching like crazy

 

With what I started with, I jumped into Google Sketchup to create the 1st draft: Here it is!

 

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I then decided that the air intake will be on the same board that the motherboard will lie, air will come from the bottom. It will be covered with a furnace air filter material that should eliminate most of the dust, and also provide good air circulation. Like. Wind tunnel, air circulation on command.

 

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Next up was to add some to-scale components. A big thanks to [email protected], who created the model for the Noctua NH-U12P CPU Heatsink, as well as the Noctua fans, Alexander who created the model for the Asus Ares video card, Nightsoul who created the model of the Western Digital Hard-Drives, and Fubar East for the very nice power supply model. Your talent saved me a lot of time when it came to placing the items to scale.

 

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Another view, from the back

 

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I then took the same requirements and applied them to the right-hand module. This will be the "server-type" system. I also wanted to add drawers to this particular module, so this is what I came up with. It has the same air-intake system, which will be covered by a furnace air filter.

 

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And, finally, putting it all together, I figured 2 monitors is a reasonable thing these days. In the upper left, there will be the DVD drive, plus power and fan controls for the gaming rig. There is a glass cover over the gaming rig that can be removed to perform upgrades and maintenance.

 

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And a picture of the back - the boxes aren't exactly what they'll turn out as - they are for cable management, ideally I will setup little boxes so you will see almost NO cables in the back. They will have some foam stuffed in the top to keep dust out of the boxes as well.

 

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And that's it for this post! The 1st draft! I'll have to ponder on it for a little while to make sure everything is A-OK for building, and determine how much lumber I'll need.

 

As always, comments, feedback and ideas are ALWAYS WELCOME! This is going to be a long build, I figure it'll take me a couple months at least, and that's not including some of the custom electronic trickery I'm going to have to learn

Edited by ultimatedesk
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You know what? I screwed up the 1st draft.

 

1. All my joints are butt joints! This is going to result in a lot of screw holes on the visible surfaces that I will have to cover up, and it will not be as strong as it could be.

 

2. The edges of plywood are nasty - I did not account for using 1/4" solid wood trim on all of the visible edges of the plywood. This will seriously throw off all my measurements.

 

3. The right-hand module, with the so called drawers, don't actually have drawers sketched in - just drawer faces!

 

4. 2 Monitors are so passe, like year 2000 old. So I had to accommodate for 3 monitors of course! ;)

 

So, it was time start from scratch (Sorta). Here's the end result, and ultimately, the final plan. The dark coloured wood is the solid trim, and the light coloured wood are 1x1's so that I can screw the panels together from the inside, avoiding any screw holes on the outside. I also added a few dado joints that I believe will be ultra strong with just a generous application of wood glue.

 

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So, while I was redoing all of this, I figured: this desk is going to be a beast. A big, heavy, super-duty truck kind of beast. This means I will likely be able to keep it for quite some time, and with technology going the way it is....

 

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The dvd / fan / power / reset / led / controls will be in the cubby holes you see in the upper left and right-hand sides of the desk.

 

It'll be able to be disassembled into 4 pieces - the desk surface, the desk shelf, and the left and right modules.

 

Much better. I think from here I can make my cut sheets and actually get to work!

 

Yes, I love Google Sketchup, I am not ashamed of it either, it is so incredibly useful and it's so incredibly free.

 

I've used it for a few years now, mostly for planning aquarium setups and building aquarium stands. Here is the most awesome part of Sketchup - pulling dimensions, and creating your cut sheets (Someone needs to automate this).

 

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And that's it! 4 Sheets!

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Purely coincidentally, while talking over the idea with a few pints at the local pub, a good girlfriend of mine piped up stating:

 

"Oh, didn't you know? My dad has a full wood shop in his backyard, he'd love to help I'm sure!"

 

Sweet!

 

It's a free standing building in his backyard with an attic for wood storage, lots of tools - stationary and portable, and yeah, lots of tools - did I mention that? :) :) Table saw, band saw, drill press, planar, horizontal planar, belt sander, jointer, grinders, air compressor, just about everything a guy could ask for.

 

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So we set about to pick up the initial bits of lumber. 4 Sheets of 3/4" Plywood, 2-sided Maple Veneer - was a steal too.

 

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Time to hit up the table saw to do the initial lengthwise cuts

 

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Thankfully I had a helper - she was eventually covered in sawdust and abandoned me in the shop after the big cuts were done. It still left me with several 8' long sheets to manage on my own, as you can see in the left hand side of the shop in the back.

 

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So I set about my merry way, and thankfully, did not lose any of my fingers (This time).

 

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All of the initial cuts were done, except for one particular strip of 8' that needed to be cut into 3 28" lengths - beyond what the table saw was capable of doing. I decided that it was enough for the day.

 

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Made quite a nice little mess!!

 

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All in all a good start to a long project

 

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Stay tuned! Lots of work still to go

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Had time to cut that last 8' sheet into the 28" sections, and cut a hole in the surface portion of the desk. The surface portion, fyi, will be composed of two 8' pieces of 3/4" plywood, so its total thickness will be 1.5" thick.

 

The upper plywood will have a hole that is .5" wider all around than the board beneath it.

 

Only had time to do one hole tonight - the lower portion, thankfully, because I made a few small mistakes!

 

Sorry about the photos folks, I had already uploaded these to imageshack and forgot to resize them, so here are the thumbnails since I don't have the original stock photos on me right now. From now on, they'll be properly sized at 800x600, which I feel is a fair compromise for detail and bandwidth.

 

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I started off with a carpenters angle, measured off my lines with a pencil and then made a rough cut with a jigsaw. I then clamped a straight-edge lined up with the edges (measured) and ran a router across it to create the smooth finish.

 

I messed up a bit, going a bit too far with the router on one end, and then not far enough on the other end - I'll have to sand and file to square it off.

 

Sorry I didn't take too many pictures - the next hole will have more!

 

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Thankfully the shop is heated, here's one of the heaters - it went down to -8*C that evening!

 

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Here's the mess for the night!

 

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And, the hero of the night! Mastercraft Plunge Router!!

 

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Sweet! Looks like my set-up, but without the towers embedded inside of cabinets. :P

 

You might want another open cabinet area for when you want to open your Optical Drive tray, and if you want to use your case's front panel USB or eSATA.

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That looks seriously sweet. I would love to try something like that but i would probably get it confused and misplanned.

Good luck. :cheers:

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I'm very intrigued to see how this turns out, and really like the design mock-ups :)

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Sweet! Looks like my set-up, but without the towers embedded inside of cabinets. :P

 

You might want another open cabinet area for when you want to open your Optical Drive tray, and if you want to use your case's front panel USB or eSATA.

Thanks El_Capitan - the "cubby holes" in the top left and top right will house the optical drives, plus USB, eSATA, Power and Reset switches, Fan controls, and all the fancy LED's that tell me the computer is on, etc... The cubby holes are a bit bigger than a 4 x 5.25" bay area from a standard desktop case, so hopefully that will be enough room. There will be quite a bit of custom wiring to get it all working though, I believe.

 

 

That looks seriously sweet. I would love to try something like that but i would probably get it confused and misplanned.

Good luck. :cheers:

Thanks SpeedCrazy - believe me, there have already been a few moments of confusion for me as well! Do I sand and stain everything before assembly? After assembly? Do I wait until I order the components before I do anything? How am I going to screw everything together? There are lots and lots of things to get confused about, but with some patience it will hopefully all pay off ;)

 

 

Interesting concept, I'll keep tabs on this!

Thanks IVIYTH0S!

 

 

I'm very intrigued to see how this turns out, and really like the design mock-ups :)

Thanks hardnrg! I love Google Sketchup! So crisp and accurate :)

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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)

 

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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.

 

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

 

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I put together my tools of the trade

 

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And here are the gluing steps I went through

 

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A few somewhat artistic clamp shots ;)

 

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Everything looks pretty straight

 

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Glued and clamped together the largest of the drawers, will likely put some hanging folders in there.

 

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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.

 

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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.

 

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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!

 

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Can't wait to see the finish product...

 

Thanks BluePanda! I can't wait as well! The current desk I'm using is a sorry excuse for one ;) ;)

 

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!!

 

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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.

 

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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.

 

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

 

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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!

 

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

 

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

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