Final Product


About

Why

My first computer was a laptop, and until I built a desktop computer for myself in 2014, that was all I used. Shortly after setting up my new desktop, I decided I might as well do it right and get a second monitor. For a long time that was my setup: two monitors on my cheap IKEA computer desk.

My old setup is pictured below.

It worked, but I knew it could be better. I got to work and started drawing a shape that would better use the limited space in my room. Since my room is so small and awkwardly shaped, I quickly realized I'd need to make my own desk if I wanted it to use the space well.

Documentation

Below is the initial shape I decided on. I designed it using Google SketchUp. I didn't have any particular plan for the legs.

My dad has a workshop with lots of woodworking tools so I visited him for a weekend to cut everything and get it together.

Pictured below is the wood I used. This wood was going to be thrown out by a company near my dad and he asked them if he could take it home instead.

Since the wood wasn't quite wide enough, I had to make the main desk surface in two parts.

In order to cut the curves in the wood, I used a bicycle wheel to draw the lines, a jigsaw to cut them out, and a belt sander to clean them up.

Pictured below are the two pieces of the main desk surface, along with the small curve that goes between them (and one of the backing pieces that holds the top and bottom layers together).

Luckily the top layer could be cut in one piece. I decided to deviate from the design and cut the top layer shorter on the left side, to leave room for my laptop to sit on the bottom layer.

Below was my first glimpse at how the finished product would look.

All that remained was fastening the bottom pieces together and attaching the backing to the top and bottom layers.

For the bottom layer I screwed a little bracket into each side and then used a nut and a bolt to tighten them. For the small curve at the front, I used wood glue.

Pictured below is one of the brackets holding together the two main pieces of the bottom layer.

For the desk's legs, I ended up attaching a flange to the bottom of the desk and using PVC pipes as the legs. I painted them white to match the colour of the desk.

Initially, I fastened the flanges to the bottom of the desk with small screws, but they didn't hold very well, so instead I bolted them all the way through the desk on the top. One day I'll probably add a thin layer of some nice material to the bottom layer.

A few months after I made the desk, I painted my room, bought a third monitor, and added a wall mount.

The wall mount was designed for a TV, so the holes on the mount are wider apart than they are on the monitor I bought, so I had to buy an adapter plate to fasten them together.

Once I had the third monitor installed and set up, I focused on cable management. The monitor's power and signal cables looked unsightly dangling over my desk, so I cut two small holes into the wall (one behind the monitor and one under the desk) and fed the cables through the wall.

To manage the rest of the cables, I bought some small sticky cable holders and stuck them along the bottom of the desk to acccomodate all of the cables.

I also mounted two power bars to the bottom of the desk, so that all of the power cables for the monitors, desktop, speakers, lightstrip and peripherals were easier to plug in and organize.

Since I spend so much time at my desk, I've thought of a lot of small improvements I can make. For example: I made and added a small paper and pencil holder under the top layer, and a phone holder and charging cradle on the bottom.

I'll add more changes as I think of them (and get around to implementing them), but for now I'm quite happy with my revamped workstation.