Introduction: Easy Wooden Printer Stand (Universal Shelf)
It is funny, or irritating depending on your disposition, how one thing tends to lead to another. When I was building houses, we used to joke around about how a minor last minute color change could lead to fifty thousand dollars in change orders. In fact, I was once asked how to fix a kitchen cabinet with a very minor and easily repaired de-laminating veneer corner. Within a few hours, the couple had talked themselves into, and put down a deposit, on a thirty thousand dollar kitchen remodel.
That is how this project started. My old printer finally died. I should have been better prepared considering the screen had been blinking on and off form months, the chances for a paper jam were about one in six, and it seemed to have an ongoing auto-response to my computer telling it to print that is identical to my 8 year old’s auto-response to my wife telling her to take a bath. So, when I brought in the new printer, the power cord was on the opposite side which immediately initiated a return trip to the store for a new surge protector. It was then that I discovered that the new printer would not sit neatly on top of my safe because the feet were further out and hung off the side.
At this point, I refused to go shopping for a printer stand knowing I would never find one I really wanted anyway so I went into the shop and within 90 minutes built a very strong printer stand that fit exactly the way I wanted. The design can be used for a printer stand, a shelf on top of a desk, stacked on top of each other to form a type of bookcase or anything else you may come up with. The one I built is 19 ½” wide, 17” deep and 15 ½” tall, but, you can make it any size you want to suit your needs. However, suggest staying under 30” wide to minimize the chance of bowing. I built mine specifically to hold a wide format printer above my safe.
I started by cutting 1x2s down to the desired length. I needed 6 uprights, 4 side cross members, and 2 back cross members. I used 1x4s for the top because that is what I had lying around but you could use any width. Below is a calculation for cutting based on your desired finished dimensions.
- · 6 pcs. Uprights - 1x2 = desired finished height minus ¾”
- · 4 pcs. Side cross members – 1x2 = desired depth minus 3”
- · 2 pcs Back cross members – 1x2 = desired width minus 4 ½”
- · Top = desired depth divided by width of boards. (one board may have to be ripped, substituted, or left with an overhang. Cut number of bards to desired finished width.
Once I had all my pieces cut, I glued together my top. Glue is the only connection I used for the top and I wanted to allow it the most time to dry. According to the bottle it needed a half hour before I could start working with it again (fig. 1)
While that was drying, I cut the dowel Holes in the sides of the uprights and the ends of the cross members with a simple doweling jig. (figs. 2, 3, & 4). You can use screws and glue for these joints, but I did not want to have to either see the screws or deal with plugs since some of these joints will be visible.
I now simply glue and clamp the frames together. I used ¼” x 1 ¼” dowels. Once glued I shoot through the back of the frame into each dowel on either side of the joint to lock it in. This will hold the joint securely long enough for the glue to dry while I continue to work on the structure. (fig. 5)
After sanding all of the frames and the top smooth using an orbital sander, I ran a bead of glue along the outer upright of the back frame assembly and clamped the back and side it into position. (fig. 6)
Then, after predrilling the holes (fig. 7), I secured the back to the side with some 1 ½” wood screws (fig. 8). The process is repeated for the other side. I could have used dowels here, however in my application, the back will not bee seen so I went for the speed of screws.
I attached the top in the same way by predrilling the holes (fig. 9) and securing it with a bead of glue and 2” wood screws. (fig. 10)
With a little light sanding to clean p the joints, the printer stand is now ready for your favorite finish or just leave it natural as I did. (fig. 11)
Rod Gunter is the Executive Director at Gunter Building Solutions and has over 20 years of experience in the homebuilding and cabinetry industries. Rod has been responsible for building over 200 homes above the $500,000 price point. Rod has trained large groups including all the major home centers on selling skills, construction techniques and sustainable natural wood products. Rod resides with his family in Holly Springs, North Carolina. Gunter Building Solutions owns WoodAirGrille.com, a leading producer of wood return air filter grilles and wood return air vents.