Introduction: Mini Mobile D.A.W./Computer Desk
If you are like me, you like to watch t.v., browse the net and text your friends all at the same time from the comfort of your couch.
I have limited space. I have a computer desk but I don't want to sit in the corner to produce music.
I'm going to show you how to build a Mobile Computer desk/workstation.
FOR UNDER $150!!!!!! CAD
LOOK AT THAT SECOND PICTURE..... IT SUCKS! This is what gave me the motivation to come up with a better solution.
Step 1: Tools
I will give you a list of the tools I used. You don't necessarily need all of them, a great deal of the work could be done with hand tools although it will take a lot longer to build.
All of my tools are very inexpensive and of low quality. Most of them are Mastercraft brand purchased at Canadian Tire.
Tape measure, Meter/Yard Stick, Square, Pencil, Olfa knife, Power Drill, Spade Drill bits, Regular Drill Bits, Robertson (Square Drive) bits.
Skil saw, Miter Saw, Jig saw, Table saw, Palm sander, Work bench and some bar clamps.
Step 2: Materials
My Design technique involves an idea, a rough sketch and the rest is trial and error.
You will have the benefit of foregoing the Trial and error bit...... well maybe.
I went to a few Stores to browse with the idea that I might find something ready made that I could modify.
I found a rough pine un assembled 3 tier shelf unit at Jysk for $20. I figured it would be a good start.
It measures 30"h x 32"w x 13 1/2"d
Jysk pine shelf unit $20
3- 1"x4"x8' pine boards $12
Brushes 3 for $10
3- 1"x10"x8' pine boards $30
Sanding sheets $7 PKG
#6x3/4", #8x3/4", #8x1",#8x1 1/2 wood screws. I bought packs of 100 for $4.30 each
Paint thinner $5
2 small L brackets as shown $1.50
14" Heavy Duty ball bearing Drawer Slides $10 at Princess Auto
4- swivel casters $12 total at Princess Auto I already had them lying around.
extension cord $3 at the Dollar Store
Hook and loop tape (Velcro)
USB hub with 4 inputs $7 at Princess Auto
Zip Ties (Zap Straps)
Princess Auto is like Harbor Freight in the US.
Step 3: Assemble the Shelf
I am by no means a skilled Craftsman. I am Handy. If you are Handy this project should be easy.
Because I built this on the fly, snapping pictures as I progressed, there are going to be Steps you can omit. You could just follow my measurements, but I would recommend building this to suit you.
When I sit on the Couch or a Chair, my knees are at approx. 22" from the floor. I built the shelf unit the way it was to start, following the Directions included. I attached the Casters to the bottom temporarily to get an Idea of where the height would end up. The 4 uprights were too long making the overall height more than I wanted. If you follow my measurements cut the uprights @ 24 3/4" before assembly. I would also leave the middle shelf out unless you want to put it together loosely, make sure it is Square and Tighten it up. I did not do this and it gave me trouble later on. lesson learned.
Step 4: Mount the Casters
I noticed that the unit was a bit wobbly. I intended on adding a Shelf that would extend out 14" from the unit.
In order to give it a bit more stability fore and aft, I cut two sections 16 3/4" long from the 1x4" pine boards.
I pre drilled and attached the boards as seen in the photographs. On the front side the boards overhang 2" and 1" on the back side. I used the #8x1 1/1" screws. I then marked and attached the Casters far enough away from the ends to avoid splitting the wood. I used the #6x3/4" screws. This really made the unit less likely to tip.
Step 5: Attach the Drawer Slides Pt.1
Decide where you want the extendable shelf (Drawer)
I wanted the shelf to be as low as possible while still clearing my knees. This was roughly 22 1/2" from the floor for me. You also want the Drawer low enough that anything you put in it will clear the top shelf. You will see what I mean in later Steps.
From the bottom of the unit (not the bottom of the Boards I attached.) I measured 20" up and placed a mark on all 4 uprights. This is where the Center of the Drawer Slides will be. 1st Picture
The Drawer Slides measure 14" long closed. They are 26" long extended. I cut 2 sections 14" long from the 1x4" boards. They are 1" longer than the depth of the unit. The only reason I did this is because 12" drawer slides were $10 each and the 14" ones were $10 for both. I'm cheap.
It works out because the finished Drawer protrudes 2" which is in line with the boards I attached the Casters to. It doesn't affect storing the unit up against a wall when not in use.
Step 6: Attach the Drawer Slides Pt.2
In the first pic. I show you how to separate the two halves of the drawer slides. There is a little black lever that you push on to unlock the part that mounts to the drawer. This also makes it easy to remove the Drawer once mounted.
The Drawer Slides are identical, this means when mounted the Lever will have to be pushed up on one side and down on the other. (just a hint)
Take the 2 14" long boards you cut and find center. Draw a line down the center of the board lengthwise. This will be the line you match up with the marks you made on the uprights in the last step. It will also be the center of the drawer slides.
Start by attaching these boards to the assembled shelf unit as shown in Pic. 2 I pre drilled and counter sunk the holes so that the screw heads don't protrude. You see 4 screws but the wood split so I added more later. You can buy a special counter sink drill bit to do this. I didn't have one so I took a regular drill bit slightly larger than the head of the screw. I wrapped tape around the end of it at the depth I wanted the countersunk hole to be. This works but you have to be careful. Pine is very soft and I drilled a few much deeper than intended to as the drill bit pulled itself into the wood.
The last step is to mount the Heavy part of the Drawer slide to the boards as seen in the last pic. You can mount them when they are together by extending the Slides all the way to expose all 3 mounting holes. I used the #6x3/4" screws.
Step 7: Build the Drawer Pt.1
Here you will complete attaching the Drawer slides and build the sides of the Drawer.
Cut another 2 1x4" boards at 14" length. Mark the Center and Draw a line just like you did in the last step. Flip the board over and draw a center line on the opposite side the same way.
This next step is only possible if you have a table saw or a router. In the 2nd pic. I gauged the thickness of the board because as we know a 1x4" is actually 3/4"x 3 3/4". Saying 3/4"x3 3/4" doesn't roll off the tongue correctly so they made wood construction infinitely more difficult by rounding up. (as if fractional measurements weren't confusing enough) Rant finished.
Ok. You don't need to cut a groove to fit the drawers together. I did it because I wanted to see if I could. I don't have a DADO saw blade on my table saw. I did this by setting the depth of the saw roughly 3/16". I set the guide to rip a single grove down the center line. I then moved the guide over the width of the saw blade in increments and made multiple cuts until it was the width of the board. Make sense?
pic.3 shows the result. Flip the boards over and attach the other half of the Drawer slides as in Pic.1.
Step 8: Build the Drawer Pt.2
You can also build the drawer without cutting grooves. It will be slightly more difficult to get everything straight. You can butt the boards together, clamp them in place and screw them together. I won't offer my measurements for the drawer as they will be different depending on how you build it. You also might not find the same shelving unit I did.
I put the two drawer slides together and closed them Pic. 1 This allows you to take a measurement to determine how long to cut the Drawer bottom. I used the 1x10" pine boards to build the bottom. I cut a section and test fitted it in the groove of the drawer sides. Pic.2 With the board in place you can test the Drawer Slide action. I used my Palm sander with 60 grit paper to shape the board until the Drawer slides moved smoothly. I then cut another section of 2x10" It was too wide for the bottom so I ripped it to the proper width. Pic.3
Pic.4 and 5 also show the Drawer back. I cut it to the proper length and ripped a groove in it the same way as I did the sides.
Pic.6 and 7 show how I put the back and sides together. You will have to remove the drawer slide to do this. Make sure to pre drill and countersink all of the screws.
Step 9: Build the Drawer Pt.28
I cut another 1x4" longer than the width of the Drawer so it will cover the Drawer slides Pic.6
I attached it temporarily Pic.1 and drew a line on the bottom Pic.2 I then removed it and drew the bottom contour as shown in Pic.3 I drilled a hole in the corner to be able to insert my jigsaw blade. You could draw an arc and cut it with the jigsaw without drilling a hole. I did it the scaredy cat way. I then sanded it with 60 grit to round the edges and attached it to the Drawer Pic.5. I then attached the drawer slides and test fit it. Pic. 6
You will also see a block attached to the bottom of the Drawer. This is to put my MPC up at an angle (music workstation, remember?)
The Drawer is now done and it's the hardest part of the build. the rest should be a cakewalk (not by Sonar, sorry Roland)
#8x1" screws were used for Drawer assy.
Step 10: Build the Top
I cut the 2x10"s to overlap the sides I will show in the next steps Pic.1 Like the Drawer bottom the second board will be a bit too wide so I ripped it to the correct width. I cut the length with the skill saw. I pre- drilled and countersunk all screws. #8x1" are used from here out.
Step 11: Build the Back
The Back will overlap the boards to be mounted to the sides in the next step. assembly is the same as the top. I used the Bar clamps (seen in step7) to hold the boards while I pre-drilled and countersunk the screws.
Step 12: Build the Sides
The only difference is I cut the sides flush with the front and I could use my Table saw.
Step 13: We're Getting There
I test fit my MPC (midi controller) and Laptop. This isn't my final layout. I will drill holes with the Spade drill bits to accommodate cables.
I'm not going to show steps of how I finished the wood but I'll explain it.
I removed the drawer and used my Palm sander to round all of the edges and rough sand the entire unit.
I wouldn't recommend using 60 grit on the whole unit. some of the scratches it left on the flat surfaces weren't removed when I went to 120 grit and then 200 grit.
I have a shop vac which is really helpful. I can attach the hose to the back of the Vac and use it as a blower. I removed all of the dust with clean rags and the shop vac.
I then pre treated the wood with Minwax wood conditioner. I believe it's the same as Linseed oil.
I used Minwax Polyshades stain and polyurethane in one. I picked Ebony Satin. I brushed the stain on and I wasn't happy with the result. It covered too much of the wood grain so I wiped it down with a clean rag. I was really happy with the result. The wood looks like Antique reclaimed stock. It only needed one coat, but pick whatever color and coat it as many times as you like.
Step 14: Done.... Almost
Empty front and rear view. I changed my final layout to include my mini Studio monitors. I regret drilling the large hole in the middle Pic.1 it gets in the way of the drawer if cables are run through. It doesn't matter because my Laptop covers it.
Step 15: Wiring
You may just want to use this as a computer desk. If you remove the middle shelf you could fit a regular PC tower and a printer. The Drawer can fit your keyboard and a mouse I'll talk about that later.
I wanted a USB hub mounted below so I can hide the wires for my Midi controller and my USB Audio interface.
Most of the Wires will stay with the unit so I ran them neatly using Zip ties. There is a gap at the back of the inside of the unit where the cables will be neatly tucked. I held them in place with the L-brackets Pic. 4 The USB hub sticks nicely with the Velcro tape.
Step 16: DONE!!!! (really)
I can sit at any chair or on the couch. I moved the stuff on the lower center shelf and I put my feet in there. It's not enough to stretch out but it's comfy enough. You wouldn't be able to do this with a PC Tower and Printer down there.
The Laptop is too far away to type on. This isn't a problem as I have a Wireless Keyboard and Mouse connected.
The Keyboard sits nicely on top of my midi controller and the mouse is in the Drawer anyways.
I love this desk. It's functionality Surprised me and I built it! It tucks neatly into a corner only taking up 32"x16 3/4" of floorspace.
My ONLY Regret is missing the Deadline for "Small Spaces" and/or the Audio Contests. I didn't Know about them when I built this #@!$
Feel free to ask questions and I hope you like it! Now to make some SICK BEATS!