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Custom Desk (Because I'm cheap...and why not)

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tragiktimes101 5 months ago

So, I have been wanting to make a custom desk for a while now. Mostly what inspired it is I was interested in a basic desk on Ikea, but the two desktops (totaling $45) would cost $199 to ship. Now, I could go pick them up but the closest Ikea is in St. Louis and that would be about an hour and a half trip (again, lazy). So, I got it in my head that I would be able to build one for a relatively low cost. I started looking into melamine board as it's basically MDF with a laminate sheet on it, which would mean I wouldn't have much I'd have to paint (I could get a small free sample from Ace Hardware for the paint I'd need - did I say I was lazy AND cheap).

Turns out I would have to either a) drive 30 miles to pick up the board, or b) have it delivered for $20. That's $40 for the board and shipping so it's getting better but I still think it could go down further. I was considering just using some MDF that I could get locally. Paint it and clear coat it to protect it for the time being. This wouldn't really be a long lasting solution but would get me closer to an idea that I got while trying to figure out what I'd do. So....I came across a company called RM Wraps. They deal with vinyl wraps and can do custom work. I was considering (although it would cost $~200) having them print out a 2x7" (size of my desk to be) white sheet with "TragikTimes" in black on it. I know, dumb. But, it just seems like it would be cool and custom, lol.

What do you all think? I know these have been the ramblings of a madman, so feel free to tell me so, lol. But, if it were you, what would you do? Would you want something custom or just buy something new and prebuilt? If you did want something custom, what would you want?

Side Note: I figure if I do go with a custom desk it would make it easier to *** in a wireless charger and RGB underglows to the desk, because...you know...reasons.

Comments Sorted by:

Jersey.Devils 2 points 5 months ago

I've been planning my own custom desk for a few months now, and it's gone through a lot of design changes... Personally, I would recommend against MDF board, as it tends to be weaker and less durable than other types of wood. For materials, I'm planning on using 4x4s, 2x2s, and 4'x8'x1" plywood sheets. The desktop surface is going to be 2'x6', which should give me more than enough room for all of my stuff. I'm also going to have my PC built into my desk, so I'll have a couple of drawers on the right side, one for my PC, one for files (I'm going to be an adult soon, I'm going to have to keep track of my stuff). On the desktop above the PC, I'm going to have a sheet of tempered glass that I should be able to get cheap off of craigslist. I'm going to drill a hole for my keyboard and mouse wires, and route them through there, underneath the desk. Ideally I'll stain the wood, but I haven't worked with stain in years, so I'll have to see what it'll turn out like...

This should make a good Christmas present for myself, so I can give my Meshify C to someone else in my family :) I'll be posting pics of it on this website, as my PC will be "finalized", at least for the next couple years.

13jonesb 2 points 5 months ago

bamboo is a good material to work with if you can get it. the finish looks great, and the grain is really good, solid material that can be drilled into, etc. easily mod it with rgb etc, and wireless charger

TheShadowGuy 2 points 5 months ago


I'm going to assume you meant 2'x7'. :P


Medium density fiberboard is crap if you want this thing to last and hold weight on it.

If you are lazy just grab some pine or other 3/4" or 1" thick board from Home Depot/Lowes. Congratulations, you have the desk top. For legs, assuming laziness, grab some minimum 2"x3" posts. You would probably want 6 legs of 3' each, two 20" segments to use for the outer legs as stabilization, and three 2' segments to use as stabilizers for the legs at the back. If you want to trim it out to look a little nicer, more power to you, they sell such things but it is a lot more work (Good for attaching RGB though, since you can create a lip... or you can do it the lazy way and get 1"x2" board, cut into two 2' segments and one 7'2" segment, and attach with an obscene amount of glue and maybe screws) . Screws and wood glue for attachment, wood shims if you have a dremel and want to make a really nice looking, sturdy attachment (you cut out a chunk on either side, stick in the shim, fill both holes with glue, and then connect to the two; then clamp it down to hold and wipe excess glue off the seam). Drawers are a PITA. Finish the surface with a dabbed coat of varnish and let dry, then a coat of sealant. Boom, you pretty much never have to worry about repainting or anything and it'll look fancy.

Vinyl sounds like an awful surface for usefulness. Get an oversized custom mat instead from an Aliexpress seller. Useful for your mouse+keyboard, custom, and much cheaper.

tragiktimes101 submitter 1 Build 1 point 5 months ago

I'm going to assume you meant 2'x7'. :P

Either a) yep, or b) nope, r/thingsforants

The MDF would be reinforced underneath by running 1x4" boards to prevent sagging. I mainly want the MDF for the ease of painting and texture. Then, the vinyl would hopefully go pretty far in regard to increasing it's lifespan.

cut into two 2' segments and one 7'2" segment, and attach with an obscene amount of glue and maybe screws

I actually plan on using a router on the under 1x4"s to create a channel that the RGB strips can fit in. Seems like it might work well.

Vinyl sounds like an awful surface for usefulness.

May I ask why? I can't think of solid downsides aside from the cost, but I'm likely overlooking something.

Oh, and thanks!

TheShadowGuy 2 points 5 months ago

Vinyl, in my experience, gets dirty and sticky quickly, and custom vinyl (say, for banners or decals) is both sticky and peels when disturbed. It's not a material I look at for most uses these days, and for a gaming surface just sounds like... Well, you know when you have a really light and thin rug that keeps getting bunched up, catches in the vacuum, etc?

Now you could get a glass panel over the top if you felt like burning money... bonus points if you carve channels into the top to route RGB strips, and partially frost the glass to diffuse the light. But something something money something something lazy.

Ease of painting

Depends on the kind of paint used. I still don't see it being any easier than a good piece of wood, and the wood you can reinforce with a similar method if you felt like sleeping on your desk, haha. :D

MDF is just not something I'd consider for longevity, especially when there are better materials available for not much more. And a varnished+sealed wooden desk wouldn't really need any upkeep and be easy to keep clean, whereas even good paints chip and wear down.

tragiktimes101 submitter 1 Build 1 point 5 months ago

I was considering going with a much more durable smooth vinyl plank flooring. It would have a grey oxidized wood look. I still don't know what I want to do, so the ideas are sure helping, lol.

That's a good idea with the RGB. I might instead put them underneath and use an acrylic sheet to make a light diffusion edge all around the ends of the table. That would be pretty cool and cheap. ;)

I think I'm going to study a bit of CAD tonight so I can make a design that will be more lasting than fleeting crazy ideas in my head.