My goal to build the ulitimate computer desk/office..

Discussion in 'Modding Worklogs' started by hoopstar, Mar 21, 2008.

  1. hoopstar

    hoopstar Member

    Joined:
    Jun 28, 2001
    Messages:
    2,278
    Location:
    Adelaide..
    Update 18/6: My goal to build the ulitimate computer desk/office..

    This is basically going to be a bit of a work-log of my desire to construct the worlds best looking, fully functioning, modern, ergonomic work place on the entire planet... :Paranoid:

    My desk and to that end, the study is far more than just another room for a computer as I actually work from home and so spend a fair amount of my day in front of the computer, so the new desk/office has to address some of the issues of the old one.

    Our house renovations have started coming to the end and all the "hard" (read:big) jobs have been completed, so the next thing on the list is to start the long awaited renovation of my study/office - it's a small room at around 3.0m x 3.5m..

    The old study had very daggy carpet along with 2 yellow walls, two with bare brick and the lot was all nicely illuminated with a set of "retro" triple spots lights - the room screamed 1980's and looked very dated.

    The first step was to plaster the bare brick walls, patch the ceiling and then fit larger 90mm cornice for a more modern feel. I did this myself and it came out brilliantly if I do say so myself - I am a bit of a fussy bugger and it probably takes me twice as long as the professionals, but the end result is worth the wait and I saved a few bucks along the way..:thumbup:

    The walls were then painted with a light beige color called Ecru by Dulux which the rest of our house has been painted in. It's a very calming color and looks crisp and modern whilst not detracting from the character of the house. I then fitted three brushed stainless down lights - two over the area that the desk would eventually be built in and one in the middle of the room. For floor coverings, we went with polished, solid timber Jarra floor boards. A much better look and a lot easier to keep clean than carpet..


    At this point, I sat back and thought about some of the areas that the old desk and office fell down in and how I could improve on it:

    1. More draw space (and they had to actually slide in and out unlike a couple on the old desk)
    2. A place for my PC. I don't want it cluttering up my desktop or sitting under the desk gathering large amounts of dust and getting kicked every time I sit down.
    3. A place for my electronic equipment (ie. soldering iron, power supply, test gear etc)
    4. Usable sized desk space. My old desk was a corner unit - the main area was over 900mm deep (way too deep) and the return was only 400mm (way to shallow).
    5. A clever place for my multi-function printer that doesn't take up valuable real-estate.
    6. Somewhere for my laptop - I use this out in the field on a nearly daily basis so it needs to be accessible.
    7. Correct height for my office chair - the old desk was way too high.
    8. When I finish for the day, it needs to look clean, neat and tidy - this comes more as a directive from "she that must be obeyed" than my own personal desire to be anally retentive. :)

    Based on all of this, I came up with a bit of a design of what I wanted:

    [​IMG]

    One of my good mates is a cabinet maker and so I called him over and we started going over what we had to work with and my rough 3D design. One thing that I didn't like was that my electronic gear would still be out on the desk, which would clearly void rule No. 8.

    We had a bit of a brain storming session and after a few beers, we actually stumbled onto something - the back wall that the desk sits on actually had an old doorway that had been blocked up many years ago by the previous owners. We came up with this crazy idea to open this up and utilise the void for somewhere to put the computer and electronics gear..

    A couple of hours and 3 more beers each later and behold:

    [​IMG]

    The raw measurements of the void are around 820mm(w) x 905mm (h) x 290mm(d)..


    So back to the 3D plan and a small addition was made:

    [​IMG]

    The plan is for the desk top itself to go back into the void and then have a door that will lift up and slide back in towards the wall, out of the way. The door itself will be painted the same color as the wall and will hopefully be hidden - this area will house my electronics gear.

    The area under the desk will be lined out with MDF and will house my computer and router/modem. I am going to make a MDF door to cover this that will hinge outwards like any standard door. I am thinking that I will cut out the center of the door, then route a pencil round into this and fit tinted glass so you can see the computer, or specifically the lights and 4 x 20 character LCD etc. I still need to work out the cooling side of things - any ideas?

    Here is how I want the void to look when it's finished:

    [​IMG]

    The panel on the left hand side will cover all of the cables from the back of the computer (the PC will sit in there side on) and the hole at the top will allow them to pass out and towards the corner of the room/desk - as a bonus there already was a power point in the void area. The middle shelf will be for the modem/router and the top shelf is level with the desk top itself - this will be made from the same 36mm laminate as the rest of the desk top.

    Anyway, that's about it for today.. Tomorrow I will hopefully line out and build the shelves etc inside the void..


    Hoops
     
    Last edited: Jan 4, 2011
  2. saiphon

    saiphon Member

    Joined:
    Feb 5, 2008
    Messages:
    40
    This looks very promising. I am going to be following this thread closely.

    Good luck!
     
  3. alvarez

    alvarez Member

    Joined:
    Jun 25, 2006
    Messages:
    2,621
    Location:
    Geelong 3218
    Interesting, Wouldn't mind some measurements of your design as I'm doing a similar project myself.

    You will definitely need active cooling in the cupboard if you put a door on it, Had a PC at work inside a cupboard and it would be lucky to last a few hours without the fan on, This was in an air conditioned shop front too.
     
  4. OP
    OP
    hoopstar

    hoopstar Member

    Joined:
    Jun 28, 2001
    Messages:
    2,278
    Location:
    Adelaide..
    No problems on the measurements, although the desk is very much built around the room itself so you would probably want/need to change it..

    Basic measurements are:

    Right side: 1850mm x 700mm
    Left Side: 2000mm x 700mm
    Height: 720mm - this is to the bench TOP which is 36mm thick.
    Right drawers: 400mm wide (draw front)
    Left Drawers: 550mm wide (draw front)

    The reason for the extra wide drawers on the LHS is that the bottom drawer will actually be quite deep to house my printer, allowing me to hide it away when not in use but still be connected. Above that will be my laptop drawer which will have a docking station and KVM to my main keyboard/LCD etc..

    Let me know if you need any other specific measurements - only too happy to help.. :thumbup:

    As for cooling, the plan at this stage is to add a couple of fans to the rear "cable management panel" and then add a slot under the glass in the PC cabinet door with some kind of filter material in there.

    Not 100% sure what sort of fans, but thinking either 2 x 120mm units or 1 axial unit - either way, I'll make up a small PIC temperature control circuit to switch on/off the fan(s) and adjust their speed etc. There are a lot better cooling experts out there than me, so any suggestions in this area would be VERY welcome..!!
     
  5. SgtCaboose

    SgtCaboose Member

    Joined:
    Dec 8, 2007
    Messages:
    2,789
    Location:
    The Capital
    Looks similar to my setup....except mine was from Ikea XD
     
  6. alvarez

    alvarez Member

    Joined:
    Jun 25, 2006
    Messages:
    2,621
    Location:
    Geelong 3218
    thanks for that, just wanted to know how high and deep, Mines 750 high including top and about 600 deep, although that may not be enough.
     
  7. Meddish

    Meddish Member

    Joined:
    Dec 5, 2006
    Messages:
    803
    Location:
    Newcastle
    looks good i love desk builds!
     
  8. OP
    OP
    hoopstar

    hoopstar Member

    Joined:
    Jun 28, 2001
    Messages:
    2,278
    Location:
    Adelaide..
    Today was booked out to visiting my in-laws so didn't get started until LATE this afternoon :(

    That said, I still managed to cut the MDF up to line the void including the "cable managment return panel (tm)". It doesn't really look overly impressive considering the amount of time it ended up taking, but there were quite a few little issues to overcome all complicated further by the fact that the void was less than square - thankfully that is all fixed which will make fitting the benchtops just that little easier..

    Another job was extending and re-routing the 240v wiring from the bottom right side of the void, up and over to the left upper side. The upper "electronics" cabinet area will have two, double, non-switched power points for my dual rail power supply, soldering iron, PIC burner and a spare for maybe a small digital LCD CRO one day.. These power points are kinda cool in that they are spaced a little further apart (136mm centres) than standard points (104mm centres) which is great for things like those bulky step down transformers everything seems to have these days.
    The computer cabinet area will have another three, double, non-switched power points for PC stuff - from there it will loop out onto the wall and under the bench top to a 4 way switched power board to power my monitors, home phone and again another spare.

    Tomorrow, I will start flushing in the cabinet to the wall and when painted, you'd be hard pressed to tell it was even added.

    Well, on to the photo of the day:

    [​IMG]


    And just an old case sitting in there showing how the cables at the rear of the PC will be nicely hidden by the "cable managment return panel (tm)" :D

    [​IMG]


    Hoops
     
    Last edited: Jan 4, 2011
  9. zfind

    zfind Member

    Joined:
    Sep 5, 2006
    Messages:
    3,560
    Location:
    Helsinki
    Good idea, well documented and very interesting! As a bonus you could conceal a minor hydro setup in there should you quit your dayjob :D You'll certainly have enough power points to feed it!
     
  10. AussieTemplar

    AussieTemplar Member

    Joined:
    Apr 8, 2007
    Messages:
    2,435
    Location:
    Eastern Suburbs Sydney
    Looking forward to this. Subscribed. :thumbup:
     
  11. BlackTigerTech

    BlackTigerTech (Banned or Deleted)

    Joined:
    Jan 27, 2008
    Messages:
    61
    Location:
    2040 Sydney
    Very good start! Can't wait to see the end result!:thumbup:
     
  12. OP
    OP
    hoopstar

    hoopstar Member

    Joined:
    Jun 28, 2001
    Messages:
    2,278
    Location:
    Adelaide..
    I was obviously quite tired yesterday when typing this (or maybe I had be smoking some of that funny tobacco you talk about) :tired:. I am actually only fitting in two double points in the electronic area and three doubles into the computer area. The plan had always been to fit two doubles in each area, but thinking about it now, there is good reason to add an extra to the computer cabinet area..

    On a side note, does anyone know where to get a "reasonably" priced USB wall plate from? There are some on Ebay, but I am not about to pay $67 for one..:eek:


    Hoops
     
  13. karl_eller

    karl_eller Member

    Joined:
    Feb 10, 2008
    Messages:
    396
    Location:
    Newcastle, NSW
    You could always try making your own using a Blank wall plate and a couple of USB sockets like this or this. Not too sure how easy it'd be to get the USB sockets mounted, though...

    Eller
     
  14. Pugs

    Pugs Member

    Joined:
    Jan 20, 2008
    Messages:
    9,225
    Location:
    Redwood Park, SA
    maybe get blank plate do some modding to it...... other then that seams like a winner to me
     
  15. BilboBoggles

    BilboBoggles Member

    Joined:
    Jul 20, 2006
    Messages:
    112
    One thought - for the section of the desk top in front of the embedded cabinet - I'd make that section hinge upwards like the entrance to behind a bar. To make it easier to get to the hidden server area...
     
  16. OP
    OP
    hoopstar

    hoopstar Member

    Joined:
    Jun 28, 2001
    Messages:
    2,278
    Location:
    Adelaide..
    Hmm.. that might just work - I'll have to throw it at my cabinet maker mate for the technical aspect.

    Can anyone recommend any cooling ideas for the computer cabinet area. I have thought about using a Cooler Master cross flow fan in the cabinet door..

    [​IMG]


    Hoops
     
  17. OP
    OP
    hoopstar

    hoopstar Member

    Joined:
    Jun 28, 2001
    Messages:
    2,278
    Location:
    Adelaide..
    Well the progress has been slower than I would of liked.. right on cue, work decided to send me to Malaysia and then Germany for some training..

    Anyway, I am back on board and got stuck into the "void"..

    First job was to run the steel strip edging and mesh tape - the latter being a little hard to see in this photo, but it is there. It just helps the flushing compound hold and stops cracking down the track..

    [​IMG]


    Then flush out everything..

    [​IMG]


    After a bit of sanding, re-flushing and more sanding, things were starting to look pretty good. The wiring is all run at this point with the extra run being for the 4-way power points for the monitors. This will also loop on to another power point for my laptop and printer power supplies.

    [​IMG]


    And then a couple of coats of wall color and we're looking a million bucks. I must say, it looks even better than it does in the photos - you literally can not detect where the joins are..

    [​IMG]


    Here is an underside shot of the boxed section that will be next to the "electronics bay" - there are two, twin standard power points inside there. I decided to scrap the two way, non-switched power points when they priced out at $40 bucks a piece.. :shock: The three screw holes that can be seen will be covered by the 32mm bench tops..

    [​IMG]

    There is also one double power point in the computer cabinet area which will supply power to an eight way, surge protected power board.

    Also over the weekend, my cabinet maker mate came over and we made up a cutting list for all the cabinets along with templates for the bench tops. It'll be about two weeks until I get the carcasses and bench tops at which point I can do the final install. Hopefully this week I can get some time to go and order my new computer, screens etc..

    Anyway.. until then..


    Hoops

    EDIT: The skirting board WILL be replaced with new ones - I am certainly NOT that dodgy :)
     
    Last edited: Jan 4, 2011
  18. DiGiTaL MoNkEY

    DiGiTaL MoNkEY Inverted Monkey

    Joined:
    Jun 28, 2005
    Messages:
    26,896
    Location:
    Melbourne, Victoria
    That looks sweet so far, keep up the good work :thumbup::thumbup:
     
  19. jamesl33t

    jamesl33t Member

    Joined:
    Oct 7, 2007
    Messages:
    636
    Location:
    sydney
    Yep, looking very pro.
    Keep it up!
     
  20. zfind

    zfind Member

    Joined:
    Sep 5, 2006
    Messages:
    3,560
    Location:
    Helsinki
    I must say the work you did on the wall is as good if not better than you'd get if you paid someone to do it! You must be very proud of yourself :D

    Great project, thanks for updating.
     

Share This Page

Advertisement: