Step 4: Base: Materials
To make the frame, you will need to acquire some materials. I was able to get almost everything from the trash.
*. You need an 8' 2x4 or the equivalent in smaller pieces. You need at least one piece that is about 4' long. You can make almost the entire base from this single board. I was able to find one 8' piece in the dumpster of a construction site near my house (See: Material Acquisition Recommendations). Later, I found a few more short scraps of much nicer stuff.
*. You need 4 bolts (at least 4 inches long), 4 nuts and a handful of woodscrews. I was able to find bolts in the trash (during Fargo's famous Spring Cleaning Week), but all the screws I found were too short. My friend Wolfgang loaned me some deck screws because he had a lot of them left over from building his workshop.
*. You need large-ish piece (20x22 or larger) of either countertop material, coated MDF, melamine, or plastic. I chose countertop material because I was able to find it in a local dumpster. Often you can get such cutoff pieces at no cost simply by asking. Additionally, if you wait until the end of the month when people are moving from apartment to apartment, there will be pieces of furniture like desks, coffeetables, and bookshelves that have the right finish. The important thing is that the surface be a little slippery.
*. You need a power strip. This will be the control center for your lighting. You can get away without it if they are hard to come by or expensive. I found mine in the trash on moving day.