Introduction: Compact DJ Table

About: I have a lot of projects going on at once.

Over time I realized that my existing DJ/Music table wasn't the best it could be. The existing table was based on the popular 4x2 Kallax, set on its side. I didn't like the existing speaker stands (they were wobbly and didn't look good). I felt like this was a good opportunity to make a project out of optimizing and stylizing a solution (because my old DJ corner was a mess). Ergonomically, this DJ table is perfect for someone between five and five and a half feet. While standing, the controller should be at arms' level, and the speakers are at about ear's level.

A quick aside - probably around 2014 I stopped used vinyl, even DVS completely and started only using my controller. You might question why I continued to use Kallax/Expedit when I don't need record-sized storage. Well if you have a family and lots of stuff like me, extra storage is always appreciated. I am familiar with Kallax and it looks nice; I can still store audio bits or board games, books, or blankets. In the quest for storage at home, more Kallax cubbies are always useful.

Before you start, I suggest you read the whole project start to finish. Some parts are out of order, and many steps explain mistakes. Also, read the annotations in the images, they are helpful. That said here is the actual suggested order, even though it contradicts the way that I numbered the steps in Instructables.

  1. Cut the Dolly sheet to size
  2. Using the remnants of the Dolly sheet, cut the speaker pedestals and wood anchors.
  3. Paint the dolly sheet and speaker pedestals
  4. Build the desktop
  5. Build the Kallax
  6. Build the dolly
  7. Play music

This project is based around a 2x2 Ikea Kallax, with integrated speaker mounts, and the table will then be set on wheels, just for fun. Think less of big table with electronics, and more like a gear cart on wheels.

This project presents three good challenges:

  1. How do you add integrated speaker stands that can support heavy (10 lb) speakers?
  2. How do you support the whole DJ table on the floor?
  3. Can you design the project to keep mess and cable sprawl to a minimum?

And the context is that Kallax is strong, but not that strong, certainly not like solid wood, but then again it's less than $50.

My projects on Instructables are heavy on the why and the reasoning behind each step. There's so much variation each of us can bring to these projects and by knowing why I did something, you might find a suitable substitute rather than hunt down and purchase the exact supplies I used.


DJ Table

  • A 2x2 Ikea Kallax
  • 2 x 18" black iron 3/4" width pipe
  • 4 x black iron 3/4" threaded floor flange
  • 4 x #10 , 1.25" or 1.5" screws
  • 4 x #8, 2" screws
  • 8 x #8, 1/2" screws
  • 2 x speaker pedestals made from dolly scraps
  • 2 x speaker anchors made from dolly scraps

Dolly for DJ Table

  • 4 x casters (you could use furniture feet)
  • 2' x 4' plywood sheet
  • 16 x screws
  • some washers depending on the plywood you use
  • paint

Step 1: Prepare the Kallax Desktop Board

This is the most complicated step because it attempts to solve the hardest challenge of the project; the speaker mounts...

As you may know Kallax (previously known as Expedit) is not solid wood. Within each panel is a fiberboard rail that marks the perimeter, the majority of the panel's empty area is filled with a cardboard honeycomb. This arrangement is covered in thin veneer over hardboard panel, probably only 1/16". It's basically furniture made of a hollow-core interior door material. But cheers to Ikea, Kallax looks great, goes together easily, is pretty environmentally friendly, and is relatively strong. This does present some challenges for us.

This DJ table supports the speakers through two black iron floor flanges connected by an 18" pipe. We're talking the weight of your speaker, plus about 5 pounds of iron, concentrated on 4 square inches of space. I thought through the problem for a few hours and settled on the following solution... The supporting floor flange should rest half on the fiberboard rail within the top Kallax panel so that 2 of the screws are secured into solid material.

I pinched around the outer edge of the top panel to see where the rail ended and where the hollow core began, also used some estimation based on where the pre-drilled hole was. Look at the image in this step to see where I estimate the solid fiberboard is. We want to maximize the floor flange placement over this solid part of the panel, to maximize strength and stress the Kallax the least.

Unfortunately, when I estimated with the above pinch-technique, I was wrong. I learned this when I drilled the pilot hole - the drill went through the hollow-core. So re-drilled my pilot hole 1/4" away from the edge, then marked the inner through holes from there.

I'm using a drill press to ensure completely vertical pilot holes. You can probably accomplish this with a hand drill, but a drill press is nice-to-have in this situation. Note: I'm doing this step BEFORE I assemble the Kallax

  1. Identify the top Kallax panel that will be the desktop, it has 4 visible pre-drilled holes that will countersink the screws.
  2. Set your flange so that
    1. The two long-side holes are 1/4" from the edge
    2. The two short side holes are about 1/2" inside from the vertical kallax wall
    3. The flange's 4 holes should be squared off with respect to the desk top
  3. Use an Awl (or just pencil) to mark the center-point of the 4 flange holes
  4. Drill a pilot hole for the two edge-side holes. With my #10 screws, I'll be using a 1/8" bit.
  5. Drill through the desktop with a 11/64" bit or something a touch bigger.
  6. [optional - I didn't do this] Drill all the way through the board for speaker-wire holes. This will go through the large inner hole of the flange.
  7. Repeat on the other side of the desktop panel.

Step 2: Attach the Speaker Stands to the Desktop Board

Usually, when you connect cast iron pipe into fittings, you use a pipe wrench, and really bare down with a lot of torque. These speaker stands don't need that kind of strength. Certainly, you don't want to screw the stands together once they are attached to the desktop because that will put undue stress on the desktop, or on the speaker platform.

There are 5 pieces to think about here:

  1. Desktop
  2. Lower flange
  3. 18" cast iron pipe
  4. Upper flange
  5. Speaker platform

One challenge is how to affix the flanges to their respective boards with a driver. Too large of a cordless drill (or any tool other than a hand screwdriver) might hit up against the pipe, if the pipe is assembled first - which I strongly recommend. Since we have IKEA on the mind, in a tight space, they would design the fastener with a hex-key head, so you would use an Allen wrench that has near-0 protrusion in the plane that's on the backside of the driver. But I'm making this project as a 1-off and I wasn't going to hunt down hex-key head screws, I'm just using Phillips head screws.

After a lot of thought, I remembered I have an old light-duty but small electric drill, here's my plan:

  1. Thread the desktop flanges on one side of the pipes (x2), secure them together with as much torque as you can apply without tools.
  2. Screw the flange+pipe assembly to the desktop board with two screws in the pilot holes you drilled with the 1/8" bit in the previous step. All I can say is that these 2 screws must be driven in the desktop board carefully and securely. As always, do not over tighten them.
  3. With a small scrap of plywood the squared off size of the flange (about 2" x 2"), place it on the underside of the desktop, and screw in 2, 2" x #10 screws. That is, the long screws go through the inner desktop holes, and secure into a piece of wood below. ENSURE that these anchor pieces of wood are far enough from the vertical Kallax.

In summary, for each speaker stand:

  1. Screw the lower flange+pipe to the desktop.
  2. Secure the speaker platform with a 4 short screws to the speaker platform, centered.
  3. Affix the speaker pedestal flange onto the pipe.

Step 3: Build Kallax

Now that the speaker stands are tightly affixed to the desktop board, you can build Kallax per the instructions.

Despite my best efforts, I didn't place the left-side speaker stand anchor correctly - you can see where it hits. To fix this I just removed and replaced. I was able to re-screw it together while on the Kallax, so it didn't take too long.

Step 4: Build the Speaker Pedestals

Initially I purchased some 1x8 common board, to make 2 x 7.25 x 7.25 speaker platforms. However I had an appropriate piece of plywood left over from the dolly sheet (see the dolly steps). I cut that remainder into two 7" x 7" squares. The speaker platforms will be hidden by the speaker, but since they are still eye-level or will be visible under smaller speakers, I suggest you paint them black.

  1. Draw a line from corner to corner on the pedestal.
  2. Set the flange over the lines so you can view the lines in the screw holes from above.
  3. mark the center of the screw holes with an awl
  4. Use four #8 x 1/2" screws to secure the flange to the pedestal.
  5. Holding the iron pipe, screw in each pedestal until it's inline with the desk. Now you're really done.

Step 5: Build the Dolly - I

This step is optional. I'm going to build a dolly for the desk to accomplish a few things:

  1. The dolly will raise the Kallax a few inches off the floor, and set the desktop at the perfect height
  2. Having visual "feet" under the Kallax looks nicer, in this case I'm using casters.
  3. I'll have the ability to move the DJ stand around the room.
  4. By adding a lip to the dolly board, i.e. making the dolly thoughtfully larger than the Kallax footprint, I can raise the power adapters and desktop computer off the floor, in fact this will give us flexibility to design really nice cable management

Let's dimension it... The Kallax footprint is 30 1/8" x 15 3/8", and we want to add a few inches in the back of the desk for power adapter, and power strips. The widest power adapter I have is 2 5/8". The dolly should also just out a few inches on the side to hold the desktop computer, mine is 7" x 15 5/8". You can see what I did in the attached diagram, to come up with a total size of 18" x 38". Remember to buy plywood thick enough to keep the computer lip steady. I use a table saw to cut down a 2' x 4', 1/2" plywood sheet to the correct dimensions.

Note 1: The red dots show where the casters will be.

Note 2: There is a 1" space between the computer and the Kallax, because ventilation is required if the CPU fan exhausts sideways.

I'm going to spray paint the plywood sheet black so it blends with the desk.

IMPORTANT: Refer to the diagram to see where to cut the speaker pedestals and speaker-stand-anchors. Briefly you will need two, 7"x7" and two, 3" x 3" pieces of 1/2"+ wood.

Step 6: Build the Dolly - II

  1. With your (optionally painted) and cut plywood, Attach the first caster at a corner.
  2. The second caster should be attached on the same short side, with its outer edge at 15 3/8" away, but this doesn't need to be precise.
  3. The third caster should be attached on the same long side as the first caster, with it's outer edge at 30 1/8" away, but again this doesn't need to be precise.
  4. Finally the last caster should be attached to square off all 4 casters. Precision isn't necessary, but make it as close as you can.

Ta-da, the dolly is done.

Step 7: Set DJ Table on Dolly and Neaten Up

Now that everything is built, this steps lists all the sub-steps in setting up the gear and making it look nice.

  1. Set the DJ table on the dolly.
  2. Place the computer on the dolly's overhang
  3. Place the monitor on the arm.
  4. Place 2 power supplies and one power strip on the back lip
  5. Plug everything together (computer, monitor, mouse, keyboard, power cables) and run the cables to their destinations.
  6. Place the speakers on the speaker stands. Try to make the speakers' center of mass set over the center of the speaker stands. Depending on how heavy your speakers are, you will need to be gentle with this whole set-up. Be extremely careful if you have small children or ham-fisted friends to worry about.
  7. Wire up the speakers.
  8. Use your best cable management practices to to make everything neat.

Step 8: Mount the Amplifier and Audio Switcher

I have a solution for organizing the amplifier and audio switcher, and keep them in close reach. The mechanical switcher is nice to have because I can use the internal audio card on the PC when watching youtube or other media when I don't want to turn on the controller. The Kallax comes with these 90 angle steel mounting brackets, and I used them as tiny shelves for the electronics.

  1. Hold the mounting bracket to position the amplifier to the underside of the desktop.
  2. Mark where the mounting bracket needs to be secured to the desk.
  3. Remove the amplifier and screw the mounting brackets into the middle divider with 2 screws and washer.
  4. Repeat this process for the switcher, or any other small audio boxes you have.

At this point I'm going to say the whole project is complete. 😄