Desktop Organizer

This instructable was created in fulfillment of the project requirement of the Makecourse at the University of South Florida (

Summery: The following will be a step by step guide on how you can create a desktop organizer. In this guide you will see smaller projects that can be broken off into there own unique projects entirely in the case that you only want to do a small portion of the finished project. The electronic portion of this project is all Arduino Uno controlled so if you do not have an Arduino Uno I am not sure how well the coding will work for you.

Some of the smaller projects are:

A servo mounted fan that swivels back and forth automatically.

A LCD display that reads temperature, and time without needing to be continuously reset.

A Neopixel strip from Adafruit.

Lots of different plastic parts that can be 3D printed and combined in any design you want.

This project was built for a class at my college called Make. There website has some of the different homework's that we had to do throughout the semester and videos of some of the best projects. Though in addition to the Make website are Professor has also made a website. On his website it gives you many different instructional video's that can help you work with a wide variety of different electronic components that work with the Arduino.

Cost: I estimate the cost around $125. The cost is kinda hard to determine because I received many of the pieces I used for my project from my Make course kit.

Difficulty: The steps below are relatively easy to follow and the coding should not be too bad because most of it will be included in my sketch.

Step 1: Materials

Note: I am including this as my first step because I helps speed up time when it comes to ordering pieces that you do not have. So that you do not run into the same problem I had of having to continuously wait for parts to arrive.

Summary: These are all the parts I used including links to the websites from which I bought them.


  1. LCD 16x2 display
  2. Case Fan
  3. Arduino Uno
  4. Time Keeper
  5. Neopixel Starter Pack
  6. Servo
  7. Transformer
  8. Jumper Wires
  9. Power Plug Adapter


  1. 3D Printer
  2. Gorilla Glue
  3. Hinges
  4. Spray Paint
  5. Drill / Drill Bit


  1. Anti Static Box
  2. Breadboard
  3. Push Button


  1. Wood For The Base

Step 2: Design

For my desktop organizer I knew there was several different features that I would want it to include things like a cooling system, lights and shelving. Once I had assembled my ideas I went into Autodesk Invetor and I began to design several different possible layouts for my project. This is a creative part of the project so I will not talk to much about my designs because it is likely that you will want to do your own designing for this part. I will however include some files at the end of the project for anyone who wants some of the different designs that I used.

3D Printing: If you are like me then you probably do not currently own a 3D printer. There are several good websites online that you can use to send out part designs to be printed though some of websites may cost a lot. So I suggest doing a little research in your area to see what will work best for you when it comes to printing.

Step 3: Assembly

Assembling your 3D printed project can be one of the coolest parts of the entire process. I read from articles online that they have special PLA glues and epoxies. I did not want to use these once I read some of the reviews, I decided to instead use a hot glue gun that is design for small arts and crafts type projects. The hot glue gun worked extremely well though I was not surprised, The only draw back of using the hot glue gun for the project was that you could see the glue for me this was not a big deal because I only glued it in places where it would not be visible anyways.

One Note: When I was assembling my devise I found that I had to use a Dremmel to make adjustments to the design of the pieces. If this happens to you too I suggest just taking your time and going slow that way you do not damage the part.

Step 4: Painting

This step can be skipped if you have printed out your 3D printed parts in the cooler that you want. I did not like how my parts looked with there original color so I bought a can of spray paint and painted the parts after they had been completely assembled. This severed well also when it came to covering up the marks I had made during the adjustment processes as well as it helped to cover the hot glue so that it appeared to be all one piece that was seamlessly put together.

Side Note: The sun in the winter in Florida is still hot enough to melt your piece in about twenty minutes of paint drying time. I recommend painting your project in the early morning to avoid having pieces melt on you. If the pieces due melt however you can use a blow dryer to reheat and bend the part back the way it should be.

Step 5: The Code

The code for the project is pretty straight forward and it only involves a few diffenert parts. the code starts out with some simple fan control steps, then moves on to several different light shows for the led strips, and then finally it gets into the LCD screen and its sensors. This code is pretty much plug and play as long as you have the proper parts and the libraries installed for the code.

This code does require for you too run the set time example with the library but like I said it comes with the library. It is just a quick load onto your arduino and let it run for a minute type example.

Step 6: Electronic System

This picture is a example of the electronic control system. There are two changes which are an led instead of an led strip and a large rectangle instead of the dht22. This was becuase the program did not have either object in its system.

Step 7: Insert Your Electronic

Now insert your electronics into your desktop organizer as it was designed. Turn on your creation and marvel at the beautiful project that you have made. This is the final step but as I mentioned earlier I will include some other files and facts in the next step.

Step 8: Files

Here are some 3D print files.



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    Penolopy Bulnick

    2 years ago

    For some reason it makes me think of a tank. I like it!