Intro: Good N' Easy Drafting / Design Table
This is an easy to build drafting and design table. All of the components are easy to find at hardware stores or through scavenging.
Sorry I don't have pictures of the construction, I didn't even think of posting this until months after I had completed it. Here's a final picture, showing this thing in place. A little messy, but very useful.
The reason I designed it the way I did is so that I could have a drafting area in front of the computer screen and still have space on the right-hand side for my paint, pencils, X-Acto's, whatever.
Since building this thing, I've figured out some improvements that I've put into the instructions... With all that said, On with the show!
Step 1: Materials and Tools List
Here's what you need. This stuff is easy to find. You may even have some of it laying around.
1.) 4' x 8' Plywood:
If you already have it, great! If you have to buy it, get a sheet that will have a smooth face that will be the working surface. Just remember, the nicer the face, the more the price.
2.) 28" x 80" Hollow Body Door:
The door doesn't have to be these dimensions exactly, but I found that this size works well.
3.) 1 1/2" Drywall Screws:
Usually a no-no in the carpentry world, but... eh. You can use wood screws if you want to be fancy.
4.) 1/2" Drywall Screws:
You only need a few of these. Again, substitute wood screws for fancy-pants points.
5.) 2 x Door Hinges
I think the ones that I used were 6" wide. You don't have to get anything too heavy duty, but don't try getting away with tiny, cheapy hinges.
6.) Folding table legs:
These come in a set of two. Usually about $20-25.
Screw Gun or Screwdriver
No Circular Saw?
If you don't have a circular saw, or don't have space to make the cuts yourself, you can usually pay a little extra and have the lumberyard of hardware store do the cuts for you. This is actually the method I prefer, because they usually use a panel saw, which gives a nice cut. I also live in an apartment with nowhere to work.
Step 2: The Cuts
Here's a diagram showing all the cuts and the usage of the pieces.
If your door is too long and you need to cut it down: SAVE THE CUT OFF END. The hollow body doors need to have a capped end. You see that little light colored piece, between the wood sheets? That's what you need. Strip the wood sheets away, and shove that piece of wood into the open end with a little wood glue. Clamp it in and let it dry.
Step 3: Attaching the Legs
Line the edge of the leg plate up with the edge of the door. Screw the leg plates onto the bottom of the door using 1 1/2" screws. 1 every 6 inches or so along the perimeter should be plenty. Remember, the part you want the screws to go into is only around the edge.
Next attach the folding table legs. Use the screws that come in the package. There are small, steel brackets that need to be screwed to the leg plates. Line them up to the edge, center them, and screw them down.
As you can see from the picture, I didn't use a plywood leg plate. It's a good idea to use one, because the door skin is very thin and doesn't hold screws well. My table was from scrap, so I didn't have enough wood :(
Step 4: Drafting Table Top
To make the drafting table top, draw a line 8" from the top and 10" from the bottom of the table top.
Pre-drill the edge of the table riser (plywood will split if you try to put a screw into its edge without pre-drilling it). Line it up with the top line, and screw it in from the top of the table using 1 1/2" screws. By adjusting how close the riser is to the top edge, you can change the angle of the drafting table.
Line the door hinges up with the line that is 10" from the bottom, and screw it in using 1/2" screws. You can go up to 3/4" pretty safely, but anything longer will poke through the table top.
Next put the drafting table on top of the door and screw the hinge into the edge of the door using
1 1/2" screws. Place the drafting table top in the location that best suits you.
Step 5: Optional Options
I attached a rubber mat to the drafting table top using some contact cement. The real professional stuff is called Borco. I think that stuff is overpriced so I used dance floor covering. I've seen a black rubberized sheet at Lowe's (for under floors?) that looked like it would be comparable.
Instead of legs you can use file cabinets or some fancy rolling carts you can find at Ikea.
If you need an adjustable angle drafting table, you can rig up some rails. I hardly ever adjust the angle, but if I need to, I use phone books.
A gliding parallel straight-edge is a great addition to any drafting table.