Introduction: Layered Plywood Monitor Stand
As I spent more time working from home, I started to realize I really needed a monitor stand. However, finding one that fit my desk, was the right height, and looked the way I wanted proved to be harder than I thought. So I decided to make my own!
I wanted to make the stand with as few materials as possible. Ideally, I would have made it with just plywood; no glue, no nails, and no varnish or stain. However, I wasn't a huge fan of my early designs, since they all used plywood fasteners that weren't flush with the outer faces. Since plywood is made with glue anyway, I decided to bend my rule a little and use some wood glue to hold everything together.
I've been using the stand for the past month, and I couldn't be happier with it! I designed it to help with my cable management as well; the cutaways on the sides are meant to hold my various cords in place.
- 1/4" plywood
- Wood glue
- Felt pads (optional)
- Rotary tool with wood cutting wheel or hand saw
- Two 3" (or greater) C-clamps
- Two to three 9" (or greater) bar clamps (or one bar clamp and a workbench with a large built-in vise)
- Laser cutter, CNC/manual milling machine, or a jigsaw/bandsaw/hand saw and lots of patience!
Step 1: Set Dimensions
This really depends on what you're looking for; you might want something taller or wider than I did. However, there are three key dimensions everyone will need to consider:
Monitor base diameter (or depth and width): decides the minimum depth and width of the top of your stand
Stand height: personal preference; it's recommended that the top of your monitor be directly at, or slightly below, eye level
Stand base width: depends on the space on your desk and the design you want; more on that later!
For me, the key dimensions were:
Monitor base diameter: 8 1/4"
Stand height: 3 1/2"
Stand base width: 18 1/3"
Step 2: Design the Stand & Prepare the Data
I've attached a .pdf of my design; if you want to use it, feel free! Note that the drawing scale is ANSI C, and the sheet size should be 17" x 22". The "D" pieces are the support pegs, and do not need to be duplicated for cutting; you only need four total.
How you design the stand depends on how you plan to make it. If you'll use a scroll saw, band saw, or hand tools, you can either use CAD or sketch the design on a piece of paper. However, if you plan on using a CNC milling machine or laser cutter, you'll need to design in CAD. Since there are so many programs available, I'll just provide a rough guideline for designing the stand and preparing the data for laser cutting.
Designing & Preparing:
- Figure out how many layers of plywood you'll need for the stand. You can do this by dividing the monitor base diameter from the previous step by the thickness of the plywood you're using. For example, I was using 1/4" plywood, and my monitor base diameter was 8 1/4", so I needed 8.25 / 0.25 = 33 layers.
- Decide how you want the stand to look; do you want it to be a continuous shape with identical layers, or do you want to have different profiles? I wanted to use two alternating profiles; a solid one made from the "A" pieces and one with "cutaways" made from the "B" & "C" pieces.
- If you want different profiles, you need to decide how many pieces you'll need for each profile and the thickness of each profile. This depends on how easily you can break the total number of layers you need into whole numbers. Note that you need an odd total number of profiles, otherwise the two outer-most faces won't be the same.
- I had 33 total layers. Since 33 is divisible by 11 and 3, I could either have 11 profiles that were 3 x 0.25 = 3/4" thick, or 3 profiles that were 11 x 0.25 = 2 3/4" thick. I chose to have 11 profiles; six made from piece "A" and five made from pieces "B" & "C", with two "C" pieces per profile.
- Use a CAD program (Fusion 360, AutoCAD, etc.) to sketch the pieces you'll need. Export as either a .dxf or .pdf.
- Convert the .dxf or .pdf to a format that the laser cutter understands. In my case, it was an Adobe Illustrator (.ai) file.
- I opened my .pdf in Adobe Illustrator and duplicated pieces "A", "B", and "C" until I had enough to make 11 profiles; 18 "A", 15 "B", and 30 "C". I also made four "D" pieces for the support pegs. Then, I rearranged them on an artboard that was the same size as my sheet of plywood before moving on to laser cutting.
Step 3: Laser Cutting
- Protect the surface of the plywood from burning by applying masking tape to both sides.
- Set up your data and get cutting! Be sure to monitor the process, just in case something catches fire.
- After cutting is complete, remove the masking tape and inspect the pieces.
- If you used my design, or made something similar with support pegs, make sure everything fits together.
Step 4: Gluing
I realized after the fact that my method of gluing wasn't the best; it lead to a little misalignment between the layers. I think a better method would be to glue the pieces for each profile together separately and then glue all the profiles together at the end. However, here's what I did:
- Glue the layers of the first profile together, and use clamps to apply pressure. If you made support pegs, you can use them to keep the layers aligned. Just make sure that the support pegs don't get glued in place.
- Glue on the layers of the next profile, and repeat.
Step 5: Adding the Support Pegs
- Now that the gluing is done, it's time to make the support pegs permanent. First, push them into the holes until they're flush at one face.
- Use a pencil to mark where the peg sticks out.
- Remove the pegs, cut along those marks, and sand the faces of the pegs smooth.
- Put the pegs back in the holes and make sure they're flush at both faces. If not, remove them and sand them down a little more.
Step 6: Finishing Up
This is definitely optional, but I think it's worth it; it protects your desk and helps soften the impact of any uneven gluing.
- Cut felt pads a little thinner than the width of your stand's legs.
- Attach the pads to the bottom of the legs.
Participated in the