Low Cost Computer Desk

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Introduction: Low Cost Computer Desk

Over the summer I decided I needed a new desk. After looking online at many different desks costing hundreds dollars I figured I could make one for much less. In fact the total cost I estimate to be around $50. This price could go up very quick if you have to buy some power tools or end up going to the hospital because you misuse the tools. On that note I thought I should add in here that I am not responsible for the structural integrity of the desk design nor your proper or improper use of the tools needed. Any way I hope you enjoy this instructable.

Step 1: Materials and Tools

Materials
-Two 2x4' MDF sheets ~$11(each)
-Two 20 hole steel tie plates ~1(each)
-One Quart of paint ~$8
-Six legs~$3.50(each)
-Box of 3/4in Screws~$6
-Polyurethane(Optional, Helps protect against water)
-Test bottle of accent paint (Optional) 
-Tape(Optional)
Tools
-Drill/Driver
-Router
-Round over router bit
-Jig Saw
-Coffee tube Cap
-1/8in drill bit 
-Sand Paper 
-Brush
-Jig saw
-Power Sander



Step 2: Design

The design of the desk was made to fit into the corner of my office just right so anyone can edit the design to fit best into their space. The only problem with the design is the need for a keyboard tray if you put your monitor in the middle. For the corners as said before I used a coffee tube cap to get the right corner shape.

Step 3: Cutting/Routing

To cut out the rough shape I used a jig saw. I might help to use a circular saw to cut out the long straight sides or use a guide for the jig saw because I had a hard time keeping perfectly straight on the sides. Once cut use a sander to fix any mistakes made while cutting. Finally, to finish off the table route the edges that are not exterior or any you don't plan to have against a wall. 

Step 4: Painting

Now for the most personalized part of the project PAINTING. For my desk I chose to paint it black because it matched my office. As far how to paint find a nice clean place and paint it. (No, I will not give instruction on how to paint a piece of wood :) ).I also played around with cool paint designs but ended up deciding to do a geometric accent in one of the corners. (If you make the table please feel free to leave a picture of your table in the comments. I would love to see what other designs people could come up with).  

Step 5: Accent

This part while easy took the longest because of the drying times. The design works by first marking out equal distances from a set point on two sides of a right angle then connecting 1 to 1, 2-2, and so on. The only real hard part is getting the tape on straight which I used a long piece of scrap wood to do.  

Step 6: Finishing

The last step before assembling the desk was to cover the whole thing in a protective polyurethane coat.(Note: I will take at least 2 coats). Of all the steps this was the most frustrating because you have to first apply the urethane all over the piece and then go over the whole thing slowly with the paint brush to get out all the bubbles.  

(I know that is not polyurethane but both have the same affect) 

Step 7: Assembly

Almost done, now the last thing to do is pre-drill the holes for the legs and tie. Then screw all the pieces together.  

Step 8: Enjoy

Now that you have finished your desk you can use it as a computer desk or just put some fun junk on it like I do. In the end your desk should look like the one above. If you liked this instructable please vote for it.

Thanks

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  • westbrook.jason made it!

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47 Comments

Can anyone who has made this comment on how well the MDF has held up to warping?

I haven't made this on in particular, I made another (similar) design with an MDF tabletop and it holds up pretty well, but my desk has a leg/post towards the middle to prevent bowing just in case I have something heavy on it. If your desk is longer than about 3 to 3.5 feet long I'd suggest making a support running across the bottom attached to the legs with brackets (preferably steel) just to be sure that you won't have to make a hospital trip if your table decides to snap in half. Hope this helps! :)

An add on to my earlier comment as stated by someone else these legs are the "adils" from ikea. 4$ a piece as of 2/27/16.

Instead of the notches I drilled holes for the cables on the backside of the desk using those drill bits made for cutting door knob holes. Also due to my extremely long legs the 4x8ft mdf sheet I simple cut in half to make it 2x8 then cut to size lengthwise to fit the walls.

Adils are fantastic and super easy to use. Didn't have a chance to polyurethane it which I really need to do and didn't have a router but after moving the center leg forward about 3 inches behind midway and adding on the steel plates this thing is sturdy. Thanks for the instructable!

Unfortunately mdf where I am is 31$ a sheet

what size router bit did you use on the 3/4" MDF?

ausum work,ive few questions,

1.
ideal length of legs ? for adults for better placement of neck to screen
angle, and hands angle using keyboard on table so we can avoid tray for
keyboard.

2. width seems bit less, dont u feel it may be few more inches for comfortable hand placement for keyboard long use.?

3. how to identify position of legs for uniform weight distribution ??

thank you,,.

ausum work,ive few questions,

1.
ideal length of legs ? for adults for better placement of neck to screen
angle, and hands angle using keyboard on table so we can avoid tray for
keyboard.

2. width seems bit less, dont u feel it may be few more inches for comfortable hand placement for keyboard long use.?

3. how to identify position of legs for uniform weight distribution ??

thank you,,.

I've been needing to see something like this for my basement jam spot. When I saw this. And read through it I was able to come up with something. Thanks for posting this good sir.

Also wanted to say thanks for this =). Using your design as a base and wIth the help of my father we also modified the design a bit to fit around a room. We added cutouts for the chairs, as well as a smaller ones for cables and then at the rear to accomodate the window sill. My Dad, being an engineer of 37 years decided to use 18 of those legs.

Also, for those who are wondering what legs specifically were used they're from Ikea and they're called "ADILS". Right now they're around $3.74/leg but they're all metal and attach to a metal mounting plate which is also included. They have a few other styles too and they're all really well built imo.