Picture of Aluminum Plate Desk with LED Illumination
Are you interested in building your own desk? This guide provides detailed instructions of the structure and assembly of a metal-plate desk, with schematics you can modify to fit your needs. No gimmick design, but a practical, full-size, easy to transport desk you will be comfortable with using for years. For a more unique addition, this guide will include the installation of LED-based ambient lighting to the underside of the desk.

Purpose and Design Choices
This construction seeks to create a practical, metal home-office / gaming desk. In designing everything, I found it very difficult to find well-written instructions for DIY desks that weren't gimmicks, such as "Cinder-Blocks and a Door", or "Hang a Desk From Your Ceiling." This guide is meant to be educational, easy to understand, and highly-detailed.

Large desks are heavy and difficult to transport, this desk is designed to be light-weight, sturdy, and easy to assemble. Kee-Klamp joints are the basis of the construction, and require only a Hex-Wrench to attach or remove. Aluminum is the plate material, for the reasons of A) Rigidity, less flexible than steel; B) Weight, lighter than steel or hardwood; C) Soft metal, easier to polish, cut, and drill; D) Resistance to corrosion or discoloration.

This is a costly project, the total for the two desks, with parts, shipping, and tax, was around $420. This price is assuming that all plates are obtained used, not new. There is also a large investment in time, I designed and assembled everything during the weekends over two months. This does not include the cost of power-tools, which are listed on Step 1. The cost can be lowered by not using flanges for feet, and buying only one large plate. Despite being over $400 for two desks, it is easy to spend more than that on a low-quality, particle-board pedestal desk; the burden of cost for this project is time, not money.

Every day I use this desk, and I am extremely satisfied with the results. I hope you enjoy and learn from this instructable, and encourage you to adapt and modify this knowledge to suit your needs. Good luck, and enjoy!
anjel jasso2 years ago
Hey just wanna say i love your intstructables and always incorporating the lighting stuff, super cool!!
Are you using one monitor for your pc and xbox? If so, how?

EDIT: bad phrasing Do you have to unplug and replug any time you want to switch? Multiple inputs? Or some special rig?
QuackMasterDan (author)  CrushBot 20003 years ago
There are three Xbox 360s in the room. One for the 42" TV (HDMI), one for the 36" CRT TV (Component), one for the 24" computer monitor (HDMI). For the computer it sits next to, we just switch the HDMI cable, takes about 20 seconds honestly. If you want multiple input, I'm pretty sure you can buy a VGA cable for the 360 online, they used to make them a long time ago, but they're no longer manufactured new.
Thanks! Love the 'ible by the way. I'll look into finding one of those cables.
I love overengineered stuff. Are you worried about the plate corners at all? They look pretty pointy.,,
That was a consideration, they could easily have been rounded during initial cutting. In the end, I smoothed them out a bit with the angle-grinder, but yes, don't bonk your head on one.
Hey Dan, when preparing the surface for bonding LEDs, you should clean the surface with a rag and solvent before applying the adhesive, as just blowing on it might not get all the aluminum dust off the surface. Because it is not structural it is not a big deal, but just good practice.
QuackMasterDan (author)  John Culbertson3 years ago
Thanks, good to know, I will add that into the guide.