Introduction: How to Make a Desk Tidy

This project aims to help organise the drawer space of a desk, more specifically storing tech oriented gear and other small items. Although the process is simple, specialty tools are required to complete it, such as a 3D printer along with the software it uses as well as a vacuum former.

Step 1: Designing Mould

The first step for this is to use whatever 3D modelling software available to you to create a digital version of your desk tidy mould. This can be designed with compartments to suit you personally. The extrusions must be angled slightly to allow the material being moulded to be pulled off the mould easily. In mine I went with a simple rectangle shape. If yours is simple like mine, this can be done with a block of wood or other heat resistant material.

Step 2: Designing Frame

This is done on the same software as the previous step, and in this you must decide the dimensions of the desk tidy, taking into account the requirements for you. Two seperate parts are made here in two seperate documents. The basic requirements of these parts is one having cylindrical extrusions and the other having similarly shaped holes to secure the two together. The bigger bottom piece must have an indent to receive the smaller top piece. The overall outer and inner dimensions for mine was 180mm x 130mm and 170mm x 120mm as the side were 5mm thick.

Step 3: Printing

This step is mainly dependent on the brand of 3D printer you own. On mine the file needed to be exported in an STL format onto a seperate software for the printer and then transferred onto a thumb stick to be put into the printer. This was done with all 3 pieces (2 frame pieces and mould) and the scaling was checked on the software during the process. After this the rest was up to the printer. Depending on the quality of yours, this may take several attempts to print successfully.

Step 4: Cleanup

Depending on your printer, you may need to fix up minor errors in your pieces by sanding or chiselling them and removing excess material.

Step 5: Vacuum Forming

This step will also be dependant on your brand and make of vacuum former. A 1mm thick piece of polypropylene is cut to the dimensions necessary for your former (400mm x 200mm for mine). This is moulded around the mould made from step 1 and 2. Afterwards the excess is cut until the polypropylene is in the dimensions of your frame. Holes also need to be drilled in the location of your pins and at the same diameter.

Step 6: Assembly

Place the main part of the frame down on a firm surface. Put your polypropylene into the indentation on top, making sure to line up the holes. Secure the smaller frame piece over the polypropylene, pushing its pins into the holes of the larger piece. Your desk tidy is now finished.