I've been playing around with the idea of getting myself a small drafting table, as I find the adjustable angle quite comfortable for a number of different things: drawing, reading, writing, working with the keyboard/mouse, etc. At first, I tested it out by just putting a shelf on my lap and adjusting my knees to get the angle I want. It was a fully functional prototype, but perhaps not that comfortable. :) After doing some browsing, I couldn't really find any drafting table that I liked, mostly because the drawing surface was much larger than what I was looking for. And so I thought "Fine, I'll make one myself then!", picked up a sheet of paper and started making some designs. After drawing a bunch of different versions, I finally ended up with something that I liked:
- You can adjust the angle quickly and easily. The angled surface is held in place in the middle by a simple metal rod, so you only need to move that one rod to change the angle. (Have a look at the third picture to see how that works.)
- The angled surface is plenty sturdy (.. for regular use; I'm not going to try standing on it though.)
- It looks nice, as you can't see any screws on the outside. I also used a piece of left-over laminate flooring to make the angled surface, so I know it matches my floor at least. :) (Plus, it can take the same beating as my floor, e.g. spills and such.)
- As I only used left-over materials laying around the house, it didn't cost me a dime. There's nothing fancy in there though: just some pieces of wood, wood glue, screws and a pair of hinges.
- I only used basic tools to build the table: You essentially need some things to measure, saw, hammer, screw and chisel with.
- It's a no-frills drafting table; the only feature I wanted was the adjustable angle and that's the only feature it has. However, you can fairly easily alter the design to add additional features like top drawers, a gutter in the angled surface or an adjustable table height.
Step 1: Overview, materials and tools
- First build a table frame, just like a regular table.
- Make a large rectangular hole in the surface that goes on top of the table frame.
- Attach this top surface to the table frame and add some hinges.
- Create the angle adjustment mechanism and attach it to the angled surface.
- Attach the angled surface to the top surface using the hinges.
- All done!
Just a few notes before I continue with the materials and tools:
I won't be bothering you with any measurements and let the pictures do most of the talking. (You probably weren't going to use the exact same measurements anyway. Plus, *gasp* we use the metric system down here. :) )
None the less, if you do want some exact measurements, I attached a Sketchup model of the drafting table. (Look for it at the bottom of this page.) All the different parts of the table are modelled separately, so you can easily take it apart and use Sketchup's tape measuring tool.
This instructable's title says that I use "basic tools". However, I'm sure you can gain a lot of time and precision if you have slightly more advanced tools like a drill press and a table saw. The materials as well are very basic things that you can find in just about any hardware store. In my case, I just used whatever scrap materials I had laying around. (I'm sure there are better choices out there, but I'm quite happy with the result.)
- Wood for the square table legs
- Some Feet to stick onto the table legs
- Wood for the sides, the top surface and some small blocks for strengthening
(I used MDF for these parts.)
- Wood for the angled surface
(I used two pieces of laminate flooring glued together. You can of course choose
whatever wood you like, but definitely make sure that it's sturdy enough, as you'll
constantly rest your arms on this surface.)
- A small, but thick piece of wood for the angle adjustment mechanism
(I used a thickness of 1.8cm, or about 0.7".)
- 2 hinges
- Some screws of various lengths (I needed 31 of them.)
- Wood glue
- Sander (optional; you could also use sanding paper or a wood file)
- Chisel and mallet
- Measuring tools: pencil, chalk (optional), a long ruler and a set square