Introduction: Edge of Desk Organizer
Every day I take the same things out of my pockets and place them on an empty area of my desk. The main issue with this was clutter, but it also led to forgetting things and coins being scattered all over the place. Finally, I had had enough. I decided to make an organizer that would slide onto my desk where I could put everything I was carrying in my pockets at night and find it easily again in the morning.
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Step 1: Design
Whether you are going to hand route or CNC, you should still design it first. Measure the thickness of the desk or table you are going to attach it to. This will tell you how many pieces of plywood will be layered. Then measure all the of the things you want the organizer to hold. Some things like coins will be hard to measure so you will have to estimate. If you do have to estimate something make sure to estimate bigger than actual. Now you can start the actual design. I designed in Fusion 360, but any CAD program should work. Draw out the rectangles for the pockets. Put 5mm clearance around the object in the pocket and 20mm around the pocket. This 20mm will overlap for pockets next to each other. Fillet all the inside corners to at least the diameter of your bit. I recommend filleting all of the exposed corners in case you walk into it. Make holes for the bars that will go through. Extrude the top board so that the pockets go all the way through. Create another that is identical except has no pockets. This will be the board that you will remove height from, but for now design it to be ¾ inches thick because it will be planed after the first is cut out. You can try to cut pockets into the lower ones if you want, but fixing interior areas not lining up will be much harder than repairing outer areas. Next design the clips that will slide onto the desk. They should reach the pockets but not extend into them. If you want to see what it looks like assembled, design the pins, but otherwise, you are done with this portion.
Step 2: Cut It Out
Cut out the pieces with a CNC machine or hand router. The large pieces are made of ¾ inch plywood and the clips are made of ¼ inch. Before you plane the bottom piece, measure the thickness of the top piece. This is because the thickness of plywood differs slightly. Plane the bottom piece so that the top and bottom pieces stacked will be as thick as the desk or table.
Step 3: Assemble
Before gluing the pieces, get the pins ready. Grind one end of the steel bar that you will be using for the pins to a point. Cut it so it is about three times as long as the total thickness of the organizer. Make two more of the pins. Glue all the pieces together lining up the holes as best you can. Hammer in the pins until they have gone through evenly on both sides. Clamp it and wait for the glue to dry.
Step 4: Grinding and Sanding Pins
Cut the pins off as close to the board as you can without damaging the wood. I did this with an angle grinder, but a hacksaw will also work. After removing as much as possible sand with any kind of electric sander with the thickest grit you have. I used 80 grit, but 40 would have taken much less time. Once the sander is very close to the wood switch to a finer grit. Sand until the pins are flush with the clips.
Step 5: Sanding
Sand the edges of the body with an electric sander to remove any disparities between pieces. Then do the same thing to the clips. The rest of the sanding should be done by hand. Use an Exacto knife to cut off any glue that leaked through. Vacuum to remove maximum dust.
Step 6: Wood Filler
Coat the edges with wood filler and get it in the space between the two pieces of wood and in any holes. Line the lower edge of the pockets with wood filler. Fill in any dents in the wood. Wait for the wood filler to dry then sand. Vacuum again.
Step 7: Paint
Paint the entire organizer with a base color. I used three coats of spray paint, but doing it with a brush should require fewer coats. Wait for the front to dry then paint the back. Once it is completely dry, cover everything except for the clips in painters tape. Paint the clips with an accent color with the same number of coats as the rest. Wait for it to dry then remove the tape piece by piece to not peel the paint.
Step 8: Finish and Install
Scrape the paint off the top of the pins. Be careful only to remove the paint from the pins. Finally, you can slide it onto your desk. Hopefully, it will be a very snug fit and won't move around. If it is too tight to push on, tap it with a rubber mallet and it should slide on with some assistance. Stand back and enjoy your life being a little bit easier.