I built this at TechShop in Pittsburgh, which made it much easier to make them, but you can also make them in your home workshop if you don't have a TechShop in your area.
This project is dedicated to my Dad, who taught me how to make things in his basement workshop, and showed me that it's darn hard to get through a worthwhile project without cutting your fingers at least once. Happy birthday, Dad!
Step 1: Get Boards
A three-foot wide desk (better for a desktop computer with external keyboard and mouse) requires nine feet of 1"x8" and six feet of 1"x10".
In addition, each desk requires eight fender washers with 1/4" inner diameter, eight 1/4" wingnuts, and a length of 1/4" threaded rod.Be sure the wingnut and threaded rod are both either "coarse" or "fine" threaded, not one of each.
In terms of tools, you'll need a saw (a circular saw, chop saw, or ripsaw will work), a drill or drill press, a hole saw attachment at least 2" wide, and a 1/4" or 5/8" drillbit.
I made a bunch of desks at once, hence all the wood.
Step 2: Cut Boards
For a 2' wide desk, cut the 1"x8" into three 2' lengths, and the 1"x"10" into two 2' lengths.
For a three-foot wide desk, cut the 1"x8" into three 3' lengths, and the 1"x"10" into two 3' lengths.
Step 3: Drill Mounting Holes in the 1"x3"
On the 1' length, drill holes in the center of the face of the board, at 9", 10", and 11".
On the 2' length, drill holes in the center of the face of the board at 9", 10", and 11" and 21", 22", and 23".
If you do not have a 5/8" drill bit, a 1/4" bit will work, but assembling the desk will be more difficult (since the threaded rod will not pass through the holes as easily.
Step 4: Drill Cord Management Holes
Step 5: Cut Threaded Rod
This was worth the price of admission to TechShop right here. I've build this style of shelf and desks many times before, and the hardest part by far has been cutting the threaded rod. It either takes forever or I cut my fingers in the process...or both.
This time, I got to cut the rod using a sheet metal cutter, then used a disc grinder to round off the ends. Much easier! If you don't have access to these tools, you can use a hacksaw or a grinder to cut the rod and round off the ends - it'll just take a while.
Step 6: Assemble the Uprights
Thread the long length of rod through the holes at 9",10", or 11", in the 1' and 2' uprights, and the short length of rod through the holes at 21", 22", or 23" on the 2' uprights. Your choice of which hole will determine the height of your desk and monitor stand.
After threading the long rod through all three boards, and the short rod through two, put the fender washers on the ends of the threaded rod, and thread the wingnuts onto the ends of the rod. Tighten the wingnuts only until they are just secured on the rod. Separate the boards to form one of your uprights; repeat the process to form the second.
Step 7: Add Boards to the Top and Middle of the Desk
Tighten the wingnuts on the top and middle rod until tight. The 1' uprights may angle in slightly at the bottom - this is fine, and will be addressed in the next step.