Introduction: Make a Galactic Honeycomb Floating Computer Stand From a $5 Table
Sometimes you just want to make something that is as useful as it is awesome looking. This was the situation i was in while needing a computer stand made for a space in my shop. I needed to had a stand that would support my laptop while running the i2R-8 cnc. The laptop needed to be close to the cnc as well as not take up to much space. Having a small foot print important to me as space in the shop is at a premium. I also did not want to spend a lot of money making it. I found an old folding table that I have had for some time. It is a cheap table that at best would be worth a $5 bill at a yard sale. It is not large just large enough for the laptop and maybe a small mouse. I thought this would be the perfect size for the computer stand top. I came up with the idea of making it into a floating stand with no legs so that it would not take up any floor space. I also came up with an idea to add a cool looking design and try to make it look like a functional piece of art. This is what I came up with.
Step 1: Prep the Tabletop
The folding table that I used was a simple design and required very little preparation. The only prep work required was to remove the plastic clips that held the table top up on the aluminum stand and then to sand the holes where the clips had be attached. This was to ensure that the tabletop would sit flat on the bed of the cnc.
Step 2: Design and Load
Next was to design the layout of the cuts that I wanted to make on the table top. I decided i wanted to go with a honeycomb type pattern. This would be laid out on opposite corners of the top. I also wanted to add my branding to the center as I thought this would just have a cool look. After designing the layout in v-carve pro and saving the files I moved to the cnc controller program. This program is i2R-uccnc it is a very powerful controller for the cnc and to open the first cut file simply hit load file and then locate the saved gcode file from v-carve. With the proper file loaded it will show the toolpaths on the tool paths screen in the upper left hand corner of the screen.
Step 3: Masking (Optional) and Finding Center Mark
I applied a layer of masking tape to the top side of the board with two things in mind one to stop possable chipping or tear out the other was to have a better surface to mark the center of the board. This would be used as the zero point for running the cnc.
Step 4: Prep the Cnc
Start off by clamping the work piece into place. Make sure to secure the piece on all four sides or corners making sure the clamps do not line up with any area that will cause them to come in contact with the bit. After clamping the project insert the proper bit. For the first of three cuts for this project would be the pocket of the honeycomb patterns. I went with a 1/8th inch downcut end mill from bitsbits.com this would vice a nice clean cut as well as a a flat bottom the the honeycomb. The profile of the honeycomb would then be cut with a 60 deg v-bit and the lettering with a 90 deg v-bit. After installing each bit you will be required to re-zero the z axis. With the bit installed move the cnc to place the bit onto the required zero point of the material that you set i v-carve. For this project I set the zero as the center of the project. Zero out both the x and the y axis on your controller program. With the x and y axis zeroed now zero the z axis. This is made much easier using the z-0 pad that is supplied with the i2R-8.
Step 5: Run the CNC
Now it is time to let the cnc to its thing. Just simply hit cycle start. Note while you are doing this you do not need to initially just hit go and walk away. You should keep an eye on the cut at least initially to insure you did not make any mistakes and to ensure that the machine is running properly. Let the entire cut finish before returning the machine to the zero point. NOT THE HOME unless for some reason you were using the home as the zero. Then swap out the bit to move onto the next cut. After doing this you will need to reset the z axis the x and y axis should be the same as the previous cut. During this process a need arose for me to change the design so i do so before moving onto the next step.
Step 6: Apply Base Coat and Mix Epoxy
Applying a base coat of some kind of spray paint or clear will not only give a base color for the epoxy colors to react with but will also help with bleed through on the open pours of the wood. The paint or clear will act as a sealer for the wood. After applying the base coat let the paint dry completely before pouring the epoxy. When the paint is almost dry start mixing the epoxy. For this application I used Total Boat Table Top epoxy. This epoxy is self leveling and is designed for applications such as this. I went with a burnt orange color as well as purple color shift to give an interesting color contrast. Mix the epoxy very well. With thin pours like these the epoxy will not harden if the epoxy is not completely mixed.
Step 7: Pour the Epoxy
Pouring the epoxy with this project was a bit more difficult than most. The trick is trying to pour just enough epoxy into each honeycomb without pouring to much. You want to fill the honeycombs just to the top but not to cover the wood gaps between each honeycomb section. I went with a mixed pattern with the two color meeting in the center in a diagonal pattern. This would give an interesting look and mix to the colors. Do not be afraid to try something new and experiment. After filling all of the honeycombs I used a thick piece of card board as a straight edge to pull the epoxy across the tabletop. This will make sure that all of the honeycombs are filled flat with epoxy as well as help the colors in the center to blend. Do this from multiple directions to ensure even coverage. Allow the epoxy to sit for a few mins an then use either a torch or heat gun to pop all surface air bubbles. Do this as necessary to remove all air bubbles from the epoxy. Allow the epoxy to set but not to completely harden before adding the clear flood coat. If you want to allow the epoxy to completely cure before applying the flood coat you will need to lightly sand the epoxy before applying the flood coat for proper adhesion.
Step 8: Make the Table Top Supports
For the supports I went with a simple design that would be plenty strong enough to hold the weight of a heavy laptop. This will also be a temporary support design as I will be making a different design when the walls that the computer stand are mounted on are finished. Until then these supports will be mounted on the inside of the suds of the call and the honeycomb shaped hole is not only decorative but also is useful for wire routing under the stand once mounted. The cnc made easy work if these with cutting them out leaving only a small skin of material on the bottom side as well as a few small support tabs they simply pop out of the board and are ready for finishing. Once sanded and all excess material is removed I painted them black to go along with the look of the table. Allow the paint to completely dry before mounting them to the wall.
Step 9: Apply Flood Coat
To apply the flood coat use the same Total Boat Table Top epoxy that was used for the honeycombs. Only this time do not apply an pigments this will give the flood coat a crystal clear finish once cured. Apply the epoxy as one layer at a time at around 1/8 of an inch thick. Use a brush or plastic spreader to dab and spread the epoxy. The epoxy is self leveling and will flatten out. Also do not try to contain the epoxy on the top of the board. Allow it to run over the edges and coat the sides of the board. Just like with the honeycombs give the epoxy a few mins and use a torch or heat gun to pop all surface air bubbles. If applying a second flood coat as with the honeycomb once the epoxy is set firm but not cured apply the second coat or allow to completely cure and lightly sand before applying the next coat of epoxy. Do not move or handle the tabletop until all coats are applied and fully cured.
Step 10: Install Suppors
First countersink the holes for mounting the supports to the wall studs for a flush fit of the screws. Mark the studs at the same height from the floor on each side. Use a level to ensure the table top will be level once mounted onto to supports. Also use a flat piece to span between the supports to check the level of the supports relative to each other. With both supports mounted I installed small steel clips on to each support that is used to secure the tabletop to the supports. Once the tabletop is complete dry and cured attach it to the supports using the clips. and screws. Make sure not to use screws that are to long as they will come through the top of the tabletop.
Step 11: Stare and Enjoy
The floating table is now complete. I was honestly a bit surprised as to how well this table came out I tried a few new thing that were a bit of learning curve so on that note. Get out and try something new in your shop try to make something you have never attempted before. If and when you make a mistake learn from it and adapt. I hope you enjoyed this instructable. I know there are many things in this build that can be done in a ton of different ways. The material, the shapes , the design of the inlays as well as the colors. Almost all of it is completely subjective but I hope you gathered something helpful from the process. So thanks for reading and I'll see you on the next one.
If you would like to read a more in-depth write up of this build or any of the others I have done check out the article here: https://jpaynewoodworking.com/2019/05/06/making-a-...
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