Introduction: Aluminium Computer Desk for $30

A slick computer desk made for compact living made of recycled material. I got some offset boards from the local newspaper printer. Total cost under $30

Step 1: Material

The material I used was:

1 Wooden board in the same dimension I wanted my desk in.

2 Offset boards. Usually 93 x 56 cm. These you can get for free. Just call the printer of newspapers in your town and ask for Offset boards they can't use because of misprint.

2 Brackets to fasten the desk to the wall. I didnt have any good material to make mine of so I bought mine at ikea. Therefore the cost of $24.

1 Pair of scissors, Old ones that you can dedicate to cutting metal.

1 Box of glue to fasten the aluminium boards to the wood. $5, It has to be a bit elastic because wood is a living material that expandes and shrinks with temperature and moisture in the air.

1 Saw to cut the wood

Some screws to fasten it to the wall and the desk to the consoles.

A ruler and a pencil.

Step 2: The Desktop

I don't have so much pictures from this step but the essentials is. Take the wooden board. Cut it to a rectangular piece of the size you want the desk.

Then put the wooden board on the backside of the aluuminium (offset) board and trace the sides of the wooden with a pencil. Now remove the wooden board.

Take your scissors and cut of in the corners so you can fold the aluminium around the wooden board.
Apply glue and replace the wooden board within the traced lines.

Then fold the parts of aluminium around the wooden board to cover the sides.

Now your finished with the desktop. Let the glue dry.

Step 3: The Drawer

The Drawer is made by folding the aluminium. You can make it almost as big as you want the only limitation is the size of the offset board and to get it sturdy you need to fold the sides two times.

You can see how I cut out mine drawer. I wanted it 630 mm long 300 mm wide and 50 mm high.

After cutting of the excess aluminium you cut out the corners so that they lock the fold. On one side both should be on the shorter side and on the other they should be on each of the longer sides. Fold the corner parts up 90 degrees.

Now you can start folding. Begin with the short side were the corners are and fold it two times. One all the way and the other 90 degrees. Then you take the long sides and fold them and no the corner piece should be locked within the fold.

When your done with the longer side you have to lock them with the last short side.

The drawer is now very sturdy because of the folds and it is no need for other support inside the drawer.

Step 4: Mounting and Installing

To mount the desk.screw the brackets to the wall. And then screw the desktop to the brackets. The drawer I havent fastened it's only resting on the brackets.

My setup has a external harddrive an usb hub in the drawer and the computer and connectors to camera, Ipod and harddisk comiung up from behind the desk.

Hope you get some inspiration. It is good to recycle and I spent maybe three hours making this desk.

Now I'm going to make a stool out of an old excersice bicycle I found to match the desk.

Comments

author
SantaB (author)2011-02-20

I'm at this part... I am doing it with a big, heavy, solid wood door. I am having issues getting the nice rolled look you have going on here for the edges. Any advice?

author
stolzerpa (author)2010-03-26

I'm going to find a local newpaper and ask them for any offset board or plate...
do we still have a local paper???

 

author
boldinvest (author)2008-01-05

I like it. I'd flip the hinges so they aren't in the open like that.

author
n0ukf (author)boldinvest2008-03-20

What are you talking about? There was nothing at all about hinges in this Instructable (or in comments).

author
snowpenguin (author)n0ukf2009-03-04

I believe he/she means the wall brackets.

author
John Culbertson (author)2007-03-22

I work on our schools offset printing presses only the offset boards, "plates" as we call them are not big enough. The largest size we have is 17x22 in. I need to think of a way to put them together than it would work.

author

dude just combine a few of them and even if they werent perfectly in line that would still look pretty cool

author
mafiasam (author)2007-10-28

if you're looking to BUY some sheet metal try Online Metals. they also sell their sheets on amazon.

author
Darkshot (author)2007-10-15

where in california can i get aluminum sheet metal? home depot? ikea? i would just rather buy some new stuff rather than buy it off somone that doesnt usually sell metal :/

author
Darkshot (author)2007-10-14

cool!!! thanks ive been wondering how to repace the top of my homemade computer desk for a while and this is the perfect solution! since im a inventor and luv to make beetlebots! ive burned, scratched, put holes in my desk, and even yes...put a huge gouge in it by accident thats right accident! (maybe :] ) and enway this is perfect cuz it would be hard to scratch and not look nice plus ez clean up :] THANKS MAN!!

author
wperry1 (author)2006-07-11

Verry Cool. I was wondering though if the print from the offset boards is visible in the finished product. It would make an interesting conversation piece if it contained some relevant news even.

author
Crash2108 (author)wperry12006-07-13

It would be backwards news, though..

author
shadow1100mfp (author)Crash21082007-08-26

that might be a good thing though, instead of seeing "car crash:3 dead" or something similar you'd see "carcrash: 3 not dead". sounds good to me =]

author
sharkilepsy (author)Crash21082006-07-20

offset presses don't print in reverse

author
phrakture (author)2007-07-11

Ok ok, I know everyone is all excited about this, but I need to ask. If we assume offset plates can't be gotten, does anyone know of a good place to actually buy the same quality of aluminum sheet? Is there an online retailer where i can just order a sheet or so?

author
spinach_dip (author)2007-05-30

this works out great because i am the local paperboy, so i might be able to score a couple of these! how does the drawer slide out, it looks like its locked in place?? would it work well to cut out a hole in this and fold it over to run cables through?? how could you fold over a round area?? i don't want my cable getting sliced and diced.

author
atomic16 (author)2006-12-23

How did you locate a printer in your town?

author
MattBurch1579 (author)2006-11-25

I did the same thing to my computer work desk. I ran a grounding wire from it to my cold water pipe and, voila!! Grounded workstation! I have since been able to get rid of the anti static mat my wife always complained about and no longer have to wear a grounding bracelet.

author
drummerbooker14 (author)2006-07-28

Very cool, now i am thiinking about upgrading my desk to aluminum. alas wishful thinking

author
meddler (author)2006-07-21

Offset litho plates, like the ones your talking about come in set sizes, i'm almost finished with the printing program my school offers. We don't run news paper but print anything smaller that that. My instructor gets mad cause i'm always taking home used plates they are just to damn usefull. Not only do they cut well, they fold well, i make gift boxes out of some, i also made a solar oven out of some of the bigger ones. Never thought of using them as a canvas for oil paint will have to try that.

author
cpurser (author)2006-07-18

A side benefit may be that it will help dissipate some of that Macbook heat!

author
sharkilepsy (author)cpurser2006-07-20

that's true, looks like a powerbook though (power connector is round) macbook has a rectangular power connector. : ]

author
sharkilepsy (author)cpurser2006-07-20

yeah, i was thinking you could easily build a heat dissipation system into this, add some fans, and you could even mount some old heatinks to the underside of the table. the table would be a massive external heatsink. cool project

author
Jack of Most Trades (author)2006-07-15

Nice project! One could use this method and the offset plates (the local term for them) to cover almost any tabletop/shelf that's either crying to go Aluminium or has too many scars and burn marks. It occured to me that you could use contact cement to fasten the plates to the wood. It's flexible, and holds tight, so tight in fact that you get ONE shot at lining up the pieces before it's stuck forever. Did you round-off the edges of the board? it's hard to tell from the pix, but looks like you might have done that.

author
jeffroward (author)2006-07-12

Might i suggest you help the offset material "wrap" the edges by using a little trick known as "burnishing"? Burnishing involves using a block of something dense (a nice palm-sized scrap of hardwood, like cherry or oak) with no sharp or scratchy edges, and rubbing the hell out of the material. You start about an inch or so behind the edge and, running long point to long point, rub back and forth and go over the top corner, along the edges, and then over the bottom corner, pushing like mad. This will help the aluminum conform to the edges of the wood underneath. It will also help the glue adhere, and make your edges look pro. Of course, practice first to see what you're getting in to. Awesome project, also. Thanks.

author
austin (author)2006-07-10

hmm whats this about the offset boards/ what are they?

author
rubing (author)austin2006-07-11

The offset board or plate is a thin aluminium plate that you can cut with scissors and fold by hand- They are used for printing large amounts of cmyk prints, for example newspapers. One side is plain aluminium and on the other side it is a negative print for one of the cmyk colors. They can't be re-used by the printer so when they misprint and an notices it before it goes to print they have brand new aluminium plates that they can't use. Therefore, by my experience it is very easy to get a hold of them (from your local newspaper printer). They work very well as canvases for oil painting aswell.

author
firedancer (author)2006-07-10

awesome...nice computer too

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