Introduction: A Simple 3D Printer Table
3d printers, like every specialized tool, need space for supplies and tools. My printer was located in the garage, but due to the heat it was miserable to spend much time working with it. The problem I faced was that I didn't have an adequate workspace inside.
Here is a simple table made from 2x4s and scrap plywood that will hold the printer, some tools, and several spools of plastic. This table is 34" wide, 24" deep, and 50" tall, and takes about 2 hours to build. The tabletop is 26" high.
* 96" studs, four
* 1" electrical conduit, 34-36" long. Use a metal pipe or a larger diameter PVC pipe.
* 3" deck screws - for frame assembly
* 1-5/8" screws - to attach table top to frame
* 34" x 24" plywood, 1/2" to 3/4" thickness
* power saw
* jigsaw with a fine blade
* 1/8" drill bit for pilot holes
* cordless or corded drill
* philips-head driver bit for screws (depends on your screws' heads)
* large C clamps
I had everything on hand as scrap except for the 2x4's, which cost a total of $12.
Step 1: Cut the Parts
There are four sizes that need to be cut from the 2x4's. For the 24x34" table, the sizes listed here produce little waste.
A - 2 front legs - 25.5" long
B - 2 frame sides - 21" long
C - 2 rear legs - 50" long
D - 3 cross members - 31" long
Make these cuts, minding the kerf so that your pieces are the correct length.
Stud 1 - A A B B
Stud 2 - C D
Stud 3 - C D
Stud 4 - D
In the end you should have the nine pieces shown here, and all ten fingers.
Step 2: Assemble the Front Legs
Some tables are built as a rectangular frame first, with the legs attached separately. This table is small enough that it's equally easy to build it by assembling the legs first, and joining the front and rear legs frames together to form the table.
The front leg subframe is assembled from a D piece and two A pieces. Join them as shown with D flush with the top and narrow edge of the legs, using two deck screws in each side. Drilling 1/8" pilot holes first make the screws easier to screw in without sacrificing holding strength.
Step 3: Assemble the Rear Legs
Similar to the front legs, assemble the rear leg subframe by using the last two D cross members and the two C pieces. The lower cross member (on the right in this picture) should NOT be flush with the leg ends so that the table can be placed on carpet and sit on the legs proper. This one is 1" from the leg end.
The upper cross member's upper edge should be 25.5" from the bottom of the legs. It should be at the same height as the cross member of the front leg subframe.
Use 3" deck screws with pilot holes to assemble this subframe.
Step 4: Join the Subframes
At this point, the front and rear subframes are assembled, and they must be joined to complete the table frame. The final 2x4 pieces, two B parts, are used to tie the front and rear subframes together. I suggest doing one side first, then the other.
If you are working alone, two C-clamps will help hold pieces in alignment while you drive the deck screws in.
Each B part abuts the D cross members, and sits just inside the legs. Drive two deck screws into each end of B, through D. To stiffen the frame, drive one more deck screw laterally through a leg and into B.
Step 5: Cut and Place the Tabletop
Now for the table top. I had scrap 1/2" Baltic Birch on hand which will make a nice table top.
Paying attention to the grain (or not), draw the cut lines for 34" width, and 24" depth, and make the cuts. Measure out the two 1.5" x 3.5" rectangles in the rear corners, and use a jigsaw or vertical bandsaw to cut those notches. These notches wrap around the rear legs. For a nice finish, make sure the jigsaw (or bandsaw) and power saw all cut through the board the same direction.
Place the tabletop so that the rough edges of the cuts are on the bottom, and square the tabletop along the back edge. Depending on how the notches came out, you may have to trim those to fit better around the rear legs.
Bust out that drill, make some pilot holes along the back edge, and use the 1-5/8" screws to attach the edge. Not many are needed, use 3-4 equally spaced.
If you build things like I do, the front corners of the tabletop are probably not aligned with the corners of the front legs. With the drill at the ready, force the front corners into alignment, then drill and screw one corner to hold it. Then do the other corner. Complete the attachment with a few more screws along the front and sides to make sure the top is flush with the frame all the way around.
Step 6: Final Touches
The tops of the rear legs support spools of plastic filament. While I used and recommend others use metal pipe, larger diameter PVC pipe can be used; the larger diameter is necessary to prevent sagging, but it all depends on how many spools are hung.
The electrical conduit I used was 1" in diameter, so I used a 1-1/8" hole saw to bore two holes in the tops of the rear legs. Whatever diameter of the pipe you select, bore or cut the hole a little larger to make it easy to move.
I further opened these holes into U-channels with the jigsaw to make it easier to manipulate (not pictured).
To finish the table, give it a good sanding, bevel all the edges, and stain or paint to taste.
Step 7: Modifications
This simple table is easy to tweak. Here are some ideas:
Stiffen the Table
The table built as it is here is not designed for a lot of weight. It is plenty strong to hold 50lbs of printer and plastic, but it is not a workbench. However, it would be trivial to strengthen by adding diagonal leg braces and cross members between the front and rear legs. Two diagonals could probably be cut from the stud #4's remnant.
Change the Size
The depth of the table can be easily changed by lengthening the B side pieces, and increasing the tabletop's 24" dimension by the same amount. Another inch can be had for free in the A-A-B-B stud.
The height of the table can similarly be changed by making just the A pieces longer, and raising the position of the rear upper crossmember to match.
Add a Clamping Edge
The front of the tabletop is flush with the frame. By extending just the tabletop 1-2" you can create an edge to hold a clamp, such as for a shop light, or a small fan.