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Fancy and functional desk with an in-built PC

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Desk1.jpg
This was, as of now, the most challenging of my projects. Work on this one requires some precision and a fair bit of time. Having some more fancy tools would be really useful here - I didn't have some and although I managed, I spent way more time than I could have.

OK, first the concept. As always, I was dissatisfied with the desks you can buy - I think that most of those available on the market are either ugly or unfunctional. What irritates me especially is the waste of perfectly usable space, or using that space in a quite thoughtless way (like really deep and narrow drawers). Additionally, being a student I need lots of space for photocopies of articles I read for the course and not many desks have large enough drawers to accomodate them. Conclusion - build your own desk.
Most importantly, however, I never understood why most desks nowadays are so computer-unfriendly. Especially those that claim to devote space specifically for a PC case (mostly by providing a tray on a side) are absolutely hopeless - whenever you want to do something with the pc you need to crawl under the desk, and to take the case out you need to disconnect all the cables. Generally, they try to make your PC as unaccessible as possible. Now I like to play with mine, take a hard drive out every now and then, plug another monitor in, use external sound cards, etc., so I needed the thing to be always at hand. Conclusion - build the computer into the desk. Further conclusion - if you're going into all this pain, make it look cool and fancy ;)

Now a quick overview of the final efect.

Size: 125x62cm, 81cm high

Drawers:
- 2x small W32xD30xH10/8cm
- 1 large W32x55Dx34H

Shelves:
- 1 large for a printer/stereo
- 1 hidden tray for printer paper
- 1 hidden shelf for documents
- 4 small shelves for CDs (takes 2x 50CD spools each)

Built-in containers:
- 1 for handy a4 papers
- 1 for smaller papers (letters etc.)
- 1 for pens
- 1 for block notes
- 1 for small office stuff (paperclips, batteries, etc.)

Keyboard & mouse tray

Small box for an surge-protect extension cable, to keep the leads clean.

The PC case hanging on the back of the desk is accessible from uder the desk (the case just opens to the front which gives access to the motherboard and PSU) and through valve on the top of the desk (access to hard drives and the back panel). The optical drive, USB and audio ports are placed just under the desktop, and the power button is hidden. Oh, and they are no LEDs, I hate them, they just look silly and so unprofessional ;)

The whole design is slightly green as well - it reuses a lot of old materials (old PC case, old tabletop, etc.) and is very space efficient - it's many functions can be achieved without using too much materials. Also the good airflow in the PC case makes it very energy-efficient.
 
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papagood4 years ago
This instructable was fantastic! It's good to see the ingenuity you thought up in a physical form! If you would like some more ideas, go to the Popular Mechanics or Popular Science website; and look up "pc desk", what they did some time ago is the same concept except they made the desk out of glass to show off the computer components. Since then I've been looking at many differerent fabrications like this because I'm lookin' to do the same. I have even found some built in pc mod into an old piano. Anyhow, I really appreciate the work, especially since some of us have no other choice but to either create completely from scratch or severely take apart and reuse things we find to make something that is completely functional for us. Keep up the good work!!
inverse-ion4 years ago
very nice, one thing to mention is to have the fan that is on the underside pulling air in, and out for the fan on the upper left. with heat rising, it's best to suck the cooler air in from the bottom. I had a similar idea once, only I had the computer mounted on the underside of the desk's surface. It didn't work out too well, the vibrations from the fans were distracting and eventually the motherboard tray attempted to free itself from it's wooden oppressor. Having it mounted on the back side in a vertical position is a MUCH better idea! did you drill out any holes over the CPU fan or PSU, or did you leave those covered and let the 2 case fans handle it all?
Natasz (author)  inverse-ion4 years ago
The bottom fan is taking the air out, the top in. The rationale for that was that the difference in hight between them isn't much, so the air won't be *that* much cooler at the bottom one, while the advantage of having them that way was placing the in-fan in a rather small and hidden place where there won't be too much dust for it to suck in, while the out-fan is places so that ... it can warm my feet when it's cold :P But to be honest, this plan was introduced when I still thought this will be a working station only. Since then it became more of a gaming place as well, which means I added a graphics card, which sadly blocks the airflow a bit. For the same reason I didn't put any case fans over the CPU - didn't expect it to be needed. Quite frankly, I'm thinking now of re-making the case with the next upgrade of the computer, will post it here if I do it.
tahirhh5 years ago
What software did you use?
Natasz (author)  tahirhh5 years ago
Software? As in whether I use windows or linux?
I think tahirhh was asking what software you used to plan all the dimensions for the desk?
Natasz (author)  GeekyAdam5 years ago
Right, sorry, stupid me. Corel Draw.
SketchUp also works for awesome 3D drawings, and it's free.
I'm a CATIA guy myself, but then again, I guess, I do teach it so... Nothing like having the most powerful CAD package at my fingertips. MUHAAHAAHAA.
boltfox205 years ago
You should build another one, with the changes to make it better, and make a YouTube video of it being built. It would be a lot easier to explain, you'd get the better desk, and might even be able to sell the old one on eBay or something. Whatever you do with it, it'd be nice to have a video reference.
Natasz (author)  boltfox205 years ago
Yes, I should. I don't really have time for that, unfortunately, and you know how it is - it's not perfect, but it's usable, so it's ok as it is. I might do something like that when I move home. And besides - it's always a lot of fun to do it when you do it for the first time and it's just not that interesting when you do it again.
dandaman9195 years ago
this is so awsome i want to make one
Randy Lahey5 years ago
I did the same thing in a desk with one vertical drawer. I made 2 platforms to put the computer one, and put them on drawer slides.
DSC00098.JPG
Nice, I like this idea. I'm guessing you have some nice ventilation/filters to prevent dust build up though. But yeah, nice with the drawer slides...easy access to anything/everything.
jamwaffles5 years ago
wow. nice job. i wish i had a desk like this one
=SMART=5 years ago
This is really cool !, Good Work !
gmjhowe5 years ago
Excellent work! I think the only change i would make, is to have a slot loading dvd drive that popped up along side where your post it notes and pens are!
Natasz (author)  gmjhowe5 years ago
Thanks! I'm not sure whether you mean 'along the side' as popping to the right of the desk (i.e. still being horizontal) or 'popping up' vertically, along the side. If it's the first - I just couldn't do it because the desk stands in the corner and it was designed to stand in the corner. If the latter - I thought about something similar, but I was a bit afraid that I will spill something on the desk or that there will simply be too much dust around to keep the optical drive (or the USB and audio ports) clean on the desktop, or any other horizontal surface. You might come up with e cover for them, though.
gmjhowe Natasz5 years ago
Yes, i mean popping up vertically! You could easily add a little flap that the disc pushed open. But, most slot loading drives have a couple of brushes running across the top and bottom edges as to keep dust out. As for the liquid spilling, i guess thats the main problem.. This kinda reminds me of the desk from fifth element.