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Building a DIY Home Office?

Cliff posted about 13 years ago | from the what-does-yours-look-like dept.

Hardware 247

Rednerd asks: "I just moved into a new apartment and I'm almost done painting and running the cat 5. I have been looking at office furniture for a new desk to become the new home for all of my misc. computer gadgetry, but I haven't been able to find anything that really fits. (No one seems to sell a desk with room for two 19" monitors, seven computers, a beer fridge, coffee maker, and a small compartment to serve as a shrine for my little plush penguin - Potelé) I'm leaning toward building a custom desk for my computers. With all the talk on Slashdot about creating an ultra-efficient cubicle, I was wondering what other slashdotters have created in the way of DIY home offices?"

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431241243121st post! (-1, Offtopic)

TunaPhish (81577) | about 13 years ago | (#2266687)

I'm on top of it!

first fist (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | about 13 years ago | (#2266688)

wray

IKEA? (2, Informative)

forgoil (104808) | about 13 years ago | (#2266691)

Take a peak at IKEA's line of office furniture, they can be extended quite a lot, and then you can just add whatever comes to mind:)

Re:IKEA? (1)

Looge is GOD (454287) | about 13 years ago | (#2266708)

Using IKEA stuff as a base is a great idea.

Grab two full-sized desks to use as the edges (like the sides of the U shape - you'll be in the middle), and convert a large table to use as the main part. The table should be good enough to hold the beer-fridge near the corner where it won't get in the way of your legs. Create shelving under the other corner for the PC bases, and make sure you create some pretty big channels for the cables to run through, as there's bound to be a shitload of cabling.

One monitor on the top of each corned piece, keyboard, mouse, porn etc. inbetween the monitors, and you've got the side desks for your coffee and everything.

Re:IKEA? (3, Informative)

swb (14022) | about 13 years ago | (#2266778)

IKEA furniture sucks because IKEA uses the lowest-budget (hardboard, cardboard, and particle board if you're lucky) materials for the most important structural elements. I'll admit I like the designs and the styling, but my experience with IKEA furniture was bad because the materials were so poor.

A cheaper, better alternative (if "looks" aren't important) is either plywood sheets or door blanks set on filing cabinets. Buy veneered plywood (oak or cherry) and it'll look as good as anything IKEA ever sold.

For a sleek modern look, buy some old steel filing cabinets from a used office supply place and strip the paint off of them until they're a nice brushed steel.

Re:IKEA? (2)

Tet (2721) | about 13 years ago | (#2266806)

IKEA uses the lowest-budget (hardboard, cardboard, and particle board if you're lucky) materials for the most important structural elements.


Agreed. My solution was to build my own desks using decent wood, and some table legs from Ikea (£9 for four, yet sturdy enough to support all the weight I need). I was lucky with the wood, in that my girlfriend's company were throwing out their old desks, having just bought new ones (her company in turn having acquired them from SCO -- hey, my desk is a piece of Unix history :-) So we took the wood from the desks, screwed on some Ikea legs, and added the pedastals that they also threw out to give us some storage space. Perfect. Now all I need is a bigger house...

Re:IKEA? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 13 years ago | (#2266785)

I'd never get anything from IKEA. IKEA's stuff is low quality. I have a few desks from Anthro [anthro.com] . It's not cheap but it's the sturdiest, best built office furniture I've seen.

IKEA !!! (1)

Uzull (16705) | about 13 years ago | (#2266792)

The IVAR line is something you should look at. Extremely versatile and adaptive : it is made of wood, it goes around corners and over doors. And more with some imagination.
One tip : put 30 cm between the wall and the furniture - first you can go behind to setup the wiring, and you have more space for your monitors.

Re:IKEA !!! (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 13 years ago | (#2267028)

it is made of wood, it goes around corners and over doors.

I thought it went: What rolls down stairs, alone or in pairs, rolls over your neighbors dog...

Use a Door. (1)

M_T_Toaster (515319) | about 13 years ago | (#2266846)

I do (its got Ikea legs though) but firedoors from skips are a tad cheaper than the desktops in IKEA, and you don't mind as much when you drop your soldering iron on them.

Re:Use a Door. (1)

flacco (324089) | about 13 years ago | (#2266943)

Why, when only a few thousand more you can have one of these [poetictech.com] ...?

Re:Use a Door. (1)

Midnight Thunder (17205) | about 13 years ago | (#2267047)

Or check the company's complete web site [constant-t...logies.com] for ideas - their solutions are too expensive for an individual.

Use wood (0, Flamebait)

bryan1945 (301828) | about 13 years ago | (#2266697)

Go build something with wood. In other news, this has to be the dumbest article that ever got posted on /.

Re:Use wood (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | about 13 years ago | (#2266709)

Wood? Dude, that reminds me of something. Gotta go. :)

Re:Use wood (-1)

Spootnik (518145) | about 13 years ago | (#2266721)

Where do I find wood? There's no such thing on Price Watch [pricewatch.com]

Much better (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 13 years ago | (#2266698)

Building your own DUI Home Office.

been done (2, Interesting)

gascsd (316132) | about 13 years ago | (#2266699)

why bother with a beer fridge and a coffee maker? don't reinvent the wheel

jet powered beer cooler [slashdot.org]

that famous coffee machine [slashdot.org]

keep a browser window open to check on the coffee, and keep the thing in your kitchen. when you don't hear the jet engine blaring anymore, you know your beer is good and cold. stick a few brats behind the exhaust, and pitch your bbq

as for the monitors ... have you considered a monitor arm? get a good one that lets you move it around if need be. i keep my kvm'd monitor on one of those, and it can be quite useful, especially when i'm working on some boxen and need the monitor to follow me

Re:been done (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | about 13 years ago | (#2267078)

ah. a mid-westerner...

Seven computers (-1, Redundant)

Anonymous Coward | about 13 years ago | (#2266701)

Seven computers?!

Imagine a Beowulf cluster... oh well. Had to say it.

My dream Home Office (1, Interesting)

Xenna (37238) | about 13 years ago | (#2266707)

I hate computer noise and cable clutter so I envision a home office where the computers (clients as well as servers) are stored in a seperate computerroom and where the kbds, monitors and mouses are all attached thru one of those KVM-over-cat5 type devices. Kinda like the way they do it in stock trading rooms.

And I would like a laptop that boots from the (wireless) network and has no noisy harddisk. I guess this is doable by running Linux on it...

Regards,
Xenna (stuck in a noisy room with cluttered cables)

Re:My dream Home Office (-1, Flamebait)

Anonymous Coward | about 13 years ago | (#2266712)

I modded you up. You owe me a blow job. :)

Re:My dream Home Office (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 13 years ago | (#2266714)

I hate computer noise too, but long video cables tend to mess up the sharpness of the image.

Does anyone know if I could underclock a modern Intel or AMD processor so that I could run it with passive cooling only?

Shelving (2, Insightful)

jonnystiph (192687) | about 13 years ago | (#2266713)

Its all about shelving, no precious desk space wasted. There are also a number of catalogs and such that sell desks for server rooms in almost what you are looking for, the two monitors and more than normal PCs. I would still say shelving though.

Re:Shelving (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 13 years ago | (#2266720)

such that sell desks for server rooms

Such specialised desks will cost you an arm and a leg.

Ever noticed how expensive rack mountable cases are? There's no practical reason for the high price. Their manufacturers simply can afford to gouge clients because these clients are mainly corporations who won't so much as blink at the outrageous price.

It's the same thing with server room furniture.

The art of underclocking (1, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | about 13 years ago | (#2266724)

Now that's an interesting idea.

Building a "terminal" computer with an underclocked CPU, heavily padded case and a quiet power source with its fan possibly disabled. Then lock all the noisy computers in another room.

Re:The art of underclocking (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 13 years ago | (#2266822)

Or cover the computer with some kind of acoustic absorber.

Don't! (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 13 years ago | (#2266715)

If you can't figure how to build a custom desk, I think you should keep playing with your Lego or whatever the latest geek trend is.

build one with a friend (4, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | about 13 years ago | (#2266723)

Everybody knows someone who's handy.

A friend and I designed and built a new desk when I moved to fit the room and my gear perfectly. (Well, my friend did most of the work) It's doable. And it turned out to be a LOT cheaper than the suitable desks I found out there.

If you DO want to buy a ready-made desk, don't look in furniture stores, they just sell kiddy stuff, and desks for people that need a place for their electric typewriter. Go look at companies that sell to other companies. They're usually more difficult to find, even though they often have a showroom (though just not visible from the outside) and sell to regular people. They're insanely expensive though. But, if you really want ready-made, they'll usually have something that fits.

The cool thing about making your own desk is not only that your desk gets to be BIG, but you also get to choose the materials and colors.
The downside about making your own desk is that it's too difficult to make a desk that has adjustable height, so you have to be REALLY sure how high your surface needs to be (mine is 2 cm too high).

If you are going to make your own desk, make it deep enough. Commercial desks usually are too shallow to place a keyboard in front of your monitor and still be able to rest your elbows in a comfortable manner.

Re:build one with a friend/Cheap is Neat (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 13 years ago | (#2266789)

I keep using pre-fab counter tops. Get one in the color and length you need. Get a couple of 2 drawer filing cabinets for the legs & you're done! need more room yet, stack another unit on top.

Re:build one with a friend (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 13 years ago | (#2266965)

I always build my own desk. The problem is, they are too big to fit through the door.

I just had to move and left my huge (fit 2 19" monitors and a 19" TV) custom desk behind. My office in the new house is smaller, I can't go with a "brute force" design this time. I'm thinking of something more modular, with the main table, monitor shelf and side tables seperate, so they fit through the door. I can build it in the garage this time. I use 3/4" plywood and 2x4s as building materials. Not pretty, but very strong and funtional.

Cpt_Kirks

Start Measuring and Drawing (1)

jjr (6873) | about 13 years ago | (#2266727)

Yourself some plans. Of what exactly what you would like. With some graph paper layout out your room. Then decide exacly your space requirement. Think about things like raising your boxes off the floor. Starting making your plans get a couple of buddies for a few weekends buy them some beer and have fun.

Metro Shelving...Bakers' Racks (5, Interesting)

darkPHi3er (215047) | about 13 years ago | (#2266731)

i have 2-21" monitors, a 16" FP, 1-19" monitor (plus some small speaker cubes and misc) on that chromed wire rack shelving (called bakers'racks), this stuff is from a company called Metro Shelving, but IKEA has its own brand...

i use the wide shelves, 24" (and 8 or 10 feet long) for the monitors, and use the narrow (around 8-10"wide) to create a keyboard shelf right in front/below the wider "top"....

you can adjust the height on those legs, with those nylon bushings and i've put a ton of weight on these things (well, about 600-800#'s) and not had much deflection...(though the center of percussion was really high..took about 200# off)

the downsides include having to put "trays" for your pens, smoking materials, etc...as they would otherwise just drop through the wires and if you are one of those folk who rest their wrists on the desktop edge...WELL, a couple of hours of that will teach you about numbness and pain...if you use a contoured KB or wrist rest..nada problemo...

it looks kinda HiTek...and you really can find the stuff just about anywhere, its reasonably priced (IKEA's is the cheapest but they don't have a very big selection of sizes) and if you really HATE the chrome...it's available in a semi-dull/shiny BLACL finish...Blood, Bath and Beyond has a really ***nice*** brand of this stuff, but it's kinda pricey

i equipped an office with about 12-15 of these "desks"...got lots of compliments from customer/visitors and only checked it out for the same reason you mention...all of our employees had at least 3 monitors per desktop and we just couldn't find a nice-looking, cost-effective solution...

i thinks it's medium cool looking, but, as always, should you or any of your..., i mean, YMMV...

Re:Metro Shelving...Bakers' Racks (3, Insightful)

danimal (1712) | about 13 years ago | (#2266820)

Home Despot, er, Home Depot also carries this. Be careful though, there are two grades of shelving. The Cheaper one will never support 600-800 lbs. of weight. To tell the difference look at the cross support wires. if there are a few (like 3) then it is the cheaper stuff. you want the ones with 5 or 8 cross support wires.

-dan

Re:Metro Shelving...Bakers' Racks (1)

mami (209922) | about 13 years ago | (#2266972)

Right. The good thing about the Metro Shelving is that you can put everything on casters. I have 3 heavy UPS, heavy very old printers, three CPUs etc. on there and rolled everything in a walk-in closet, put a hole through the wall, put a little desk against that wall from the other side and have just one monitor and keybord to manage all three over a KVM switch. No noise, no clutter and all the heavy stuff on casters. I hate to move the equipment around to clean up and I can sublet my place and lock the closet up and have my servers still running.

If I would redo it again I would play with a wireless network so that I can use a laptop from my balconi.

Re:Metro Shelving...Bakers' Racks (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 13 years ago | (#2267045)

balconi

I believe the correct spelling is baloney. Glad I could be of help.

Re:Metro Shelving...Bakers' Racks (1)

Stinking Pig (45860) | about 13 years ago | (#2267113)

Another option if you don't have a closet or metal frames don't match your decor...

I got a large pine TV cabinet from IKEA and put all the hardware in it (four PC cases, UPS, hubs and laptop dock). I then have two small pine tables next to it with monitors/mice/keyboards on them and KVM switches to control multiple machines. Heat can be an issue if you don't have air conditioning -- I had to remove the back panel and put it near an outside window, and the machines are decased inside the cabinet.

Now if only there were a wireless KVM option.... Of course if I had wireless KVM I'd just put all the hardware in the garage where I can't hear the fans.

Re:Metro Shelving...Bakers' Racks (1)

joelja (94959) | about 13 years ago | (#2266905)

I did a similar thing with metro shelving 4 x
5 foot poles five wire shelves 14 x 36, one
of them is mounted only on the front two
poles creating a work surface, and a kvm
switch so that while there are two monitors,
there's only one keyboard and mouse. an older
picture of it is at:
http://twin.uoregon.edu/~joelja/pictures%20-%20200 1/04302001%20-%20afnog%20and%20earlier%20pictures/ p0001599.jpg

Re:Metro Shelving...Bakers' Racks (3, Informative)

billh (85947) | about 13 years ago | (#2266976)

Costco. The heavy duty shelving, not the cheap stuff Ikea carries. I use it for my servers, for my entertainment center, and I even have a fish tank and plants on one set. I've also built a few planters for my parents, with 4 48" natural spectrum flourescent tubes per shelf. About $70 for the shelves, four 48" racks with wheels. I think they are rated at 500 pounds per shelf. Never had a problem with them.

One thing, though. Don't follow the instructions on putting them together. Take one shelf, put it upside down on the floor. Assemble the tubes, put them into the upside down shelf. Put your first shelf near the bottom, put the next one wherever you like, pick up the whole thing and remove the upside down shelf. I can get a set together in under 10 minutes this way.

Re:Metro Shelving...Bakers' Racks (1)

Sierran (155611) | about 13 years ago | (#2267056)

Note that the Metro Shelving line does include pressboard desktop surfaces. I have a desktop surface with a shelf around 6 inches above it; the monitors rest on the shelf, and that way I can have multiple keyboards etc. and just shove them back under the shelf when not in use. I have one of the prepackaged desk systems I've added parts to; I have four computers, a 19" monitor, and a rackmount UPS that has to weigh a metric pantload on the thing. The UPS is on the top, too, above the monitors. Never a problem. If you're doing this for your own office, take the time to get hold of one of their parts catalogs (w/pix) and design something that will actually hold what you (not they) need it to hold! The beauty of this stuff is that it's like Lego; you can pretty much make whatever you want.

Flat screen (1)

CaptainZapp (182233) | about 13 years ago | (#2266733)

Changing from a 17" monster-monitor to a flat screen made a hellova difference. Theres's just so much more clutter space now.

A word on chairs: Don't go cheap. My 100$ IKEA chair was a nuisance and literally a pain. I found 4 used Eames Aluminium Frame chairs (the conference table model, not the highback) and it's an unbelievable difference.

EBay (0)

JohnHegarty (453016) | about 13 years ago | (#2266734)

I am sure you will be able to find something on ebay.....

Under $125 (5, Insightful)

g33kb0y (413574) | about 13 years ago | (#2266737)

Go to your local home improvement store. You can usually find a pre-cut formica counter top in the clearance bin. Add two filing cabinets or vanitys - one on each end of the countertop. Voila! My workspace is 10' long with a backsplash (to keep all of my pens from finding their normal resting place behind the desk).

Unsightly? maybe... but functionality is great!

Re:Under $125, try under $40.00 (1)

budgenator (254554) | about 13 years ago | (#2266849)

I Used a flush door (no door knob whole or hinge cut-outs). a 33 inch by 7 foot desk top was $30.00. Add some quarter round mouldings to fit arround your el-cheapo book cases ( on the underside), and stain and finish. took about a week, mainly to get the luan finished smooth and glossy. It looks great, I used about 6 coats of of sanded ureathane to get a glassy finish. Then I set this top on top of the bookshelves and viola a huge desk that has room to crawl under and reach behind to get to hardware!
The bookcases are a little hard to get to so they only have books about Windows on them :) I try not to sit or stand on top of it, it flexs a little. the best thing is if necessary, the desk top just lifts off the bookcases. I wouldn't trade it, the only improvement that I would make is to add one of those keyboard drawers on the underside.

Great Idea! (3, Funny)

wirefarm (18470) | about 13 years ago | (#2266872)

I'm hoping I can find some of that 'Boomerang' pattern formica. Very Retro.

If it has a sink cutout, that's where I'm going to put the monitor. (Maybe I can get a 'swirling water' screen saver. That would be cool.)
A couple of spigots that attach down to the beer and coffee dispensers would be key.

If I replace the old aeron with a working john, I'd never have to get up, too!

(Sorry - I've been coding all day - I'm a little punchy...)

Actually, formica makes a great work surface and as g33kb0y mentioned, that backsplash is really handy.

Cheers,
Jim

Re:Great Idea! (1)

Nameles (122260) | about 13 years ago | (#2266989)

Funny, I have that pattern for my kitchen counter-top. ;)

Word to the wise, don't open to both drawers in a file cabinet that's filled with stuff, lest you want to ruin many thousands to see it crashing down. Almost happened way back when I used this setup.

To echo Budgenator (2)

localroger (258128) | about 13 years ago | (#2266887)

Two half-height file cabinets and a door. Had a desk like this when I was a kid and it rocked.

Re:Under $125 (2)

dpilot (134227) | about 13 years ago | (#2266991)

I'm now typing at my second 'sinktop desk'. I built the first at my previous home, designed as a knockdown, and it's out in the garage. It's collapsed against a wall, and gets set up whenever we need extra space, like for a garage sale.

The current desk is between two vanities, as you mention. But one other thing... Two pieces of angle iron between the vanities to keep the sinktop from warping in the span. The monitor sits up on a platform on one side, and the keyboard can store under the platform when the extra space is needed.

One of these days I want a new monitor platform, and it will be designed to be just taller than the splashguard, so I can push the monitor further back to accomodate middle-aged eyeballs. (One of these days those eyeballs may be an excuse for a flat panel.)

Slashdot calls it "the ultimate chair" (3, Interesting)

YKnot (181580) | about 13 years ago | (#2266743)

When it comes to office furniture, one's got to mention these:
Slashdot: The Ultimate Chair [slashdot.org]
Poetic Tech: Working environments for high tech professionals [poetictech.com]
They don't come with beer fridges but can serve as inspiration, that's for sure...

DIY home offices for DIY AI (1)

Mentifex (187202) | about 13 years ago | (#2266756)

Ahem, yes, are we talking about Bat Caves here, Robin? You don't need no super-glorious Batmobile exit pathway through a retractable mountainside. Forget the Art Deco super-modern doodad gadgetry. What ya need, son, fer GOFAI is Good Old-Fashioned Steppenwolf accoutrements and comfort for the long haul on the way to Technological Singularity [caltech.edu] .

Here at the Vaierre psychotope of the Mentifex AI project, the essential sine qua non of artificial mind-makery is an immersive environment of books, files, computers and organizers. Pick a friend early in life with whom thou shalt have a year-in-year-out ongoing contest to see which of you is the more organized and the more retentive of instant access to any piece of information or physical object. Do your work in a wrap-around surround-ground with all the most needed paraphernalia only an arm's length or at most a few steps away. Put posters or photographs of your heroes (e.g. to wit twit: Beethoven; Jimmy Carter; the DEC Alpha 64-bit IC; Alexander Dubcek; Lech Walesa; George Smiley a.k.a. Sir Alec Guiness -- all enshrined on the mentifical walls) up around you, because "Tell me who your heroes are, and I'll tell you how much of a nutcase you are." Then steal the password of a really famous Slashdot d00d, Dude, and post all about it so as to grant the poor Harry Haller wannabe a good case of plausible deniability.

AnthroCart (5, Informative)

basking shark (78988) | about 13 years ago | (#2266759)

Actually, I have found a company that makes modular desks to hold that many computers and monitors: Anthro [anthro.com] . I stumbled across them and their AnthroCart line about 5 years ago when I was setting up my own home office. They aren't cheap but the stuff is nearly indestructible and as cool-looking as it gets. Since it is modular, you can add cup-holders, CPU caddies, and even a special shelf for the penguin. Looks like they now have rack sections too. The staff I have spoken to are so friendly it makes you wonder what's in the coffee.

Oh, and it is almost worth buying something just to see their packaging: 2 inch thick corrugated cardboard!

For the record, I don't work for Anthro and have no relatives or friends who do, I just own one of their desks and like it very much.

Re:AnthroCart (1)

heartsurgeon (453305) | about 13 years ago | (#2266945)

absolutely agree. ANTHRO is your answer, if you have the money. I have two of their "carts". they are infinitely adjustable/customizable, you can add on levels, side carts, undertables, etc. These tables are the "Aeron" of computer tables. gets you ultra organized in as small a space as you wish, and portable to boot (wheels, different sizes depending on flooring material!) highly recommended. built like a tank, good looking, well thought out and engineered.

Re:AnthroCart (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 13 years ago | (#2267020)

we have two of these carts at work, and they hold 12 machines on their bottom shelves with ups's. their ads show their guys standing on them, and yes, you can. we just added a wire tray (the kind ment for running wires in the ceiling) to the back of it to keep wires off of the ground. it is great.

The Ultimate Desk (2, Interesting)

Keck (7446) | about 13 years ago | (#2266769)

I use a 72" door layed across two 30" high 2-drawer filing cabinets. This is, IMHO, the ultimate desk. It comfortably fits 2x21" + 1x17" monitor, a load of CD's and anything else you want. This has been the most stable way for me to build a functional desk, with room for the towers underneath. (although the 7 that you mention may need more room..)

Re:The Ultimate Desk (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 13 years ago | (#2266902)

I think an island configuration is the best, certainly for access to 7 towers of cabling and for heat dissipation.

Or you could always use refrigerators:

http://www.lotekarchitecture.com/MJtable.html

Re:The Ultimate Desk (1)

wolfgang_spangler (40539) | about 13 years ago | (#2266974)

nod...I gotta agree...I have two of these that form an L in my office. Under the L goes the switch, server, printer, scanner...works GREAT. I odn't have it on filing cabinets though...my father built them for me and he found a folding table leg kit (for like 15 bucks). I screwed some of those metal things that rappelers use for holding ropes on the bottom and they make AWESOME cable routers. Gives me tons of space and you can even drop some shelves on top for 'modularity'

Buy or build something. (0, Flamebait)

fmaxwell (249001) | about 13 years ago | (#2266775)

Either buy something at an office furniture store or build something from wood, formica, etc. How are we supposed to know what you want? We don't know your taste (if applicable), the size of the room, the size of the computers, where your doors and windows are, etc.

Another thing: You don't need seven computers. Get rid of at least three of them, buy drive drawers or set up some kind of multi-booting software.

Moderators!!! (1, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | about 13 years ago | (#2266830)

Another thing: You don't need seven computers.

Why is this modded up as insightful? At least the jocks stick together: if a geek comes to a football game and shouts "Football is a huge waste of time", he'll get beaten up by both team's supporters. But if a jock posts to a geek site that you don't need so much computers, he gets modded up. Strange world.

Re:Moderators!!! (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 13 years ago | (#2266853)

Face it. Seven computers is indulgence not to mention environmentally unfriendly.

232 days... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 13 years ago | (#2266956)

... to the next April 20th ;-)

Try Creativity + 4x8 sheet of plywood (3, Interesting)

sainsworth (24812) | about 13 years ago | (#2266779)

I had exactly the same problem--I solved it with creativity, a 4x8 sheet of plywood, and a scroll saw.

My construction was simple. I cut a single 4'x8', 0.75" sheet of oak plywood to the correct shape. To support the weight of my monitors, I ran bracing the length and width of the table directly under the monitors. The bracing strips are 2" wide, made from the same sheet of plywood, and mounted perpendicular to the bottom of the table. For added stability, I fastened two edges the table to the wall using 2"x2"s, but if your installation is temporary this may not work for you. Because of the bracing and wall fastening, the table requires just one leg, which leaves plenty of space for my legs and four computers under the table.

I cut the table to shape using a scroll saw, which I already owned. I rounded the edges using a router, which I now had an excuse to buy :). I finished it with Verithane, because the stuff doesn't stink and cleans up with water.

Total cost, $90. Satisfaction, at least 10 times anything I found in stores at a reasonable price.

Notes:

1. Explicitly define your requirements. Mine were lots of table space, enough depth for 21" monitor, keyboard tray that also has room for the mouse, and plenty of room under the table for multiple computers. Also, where are you going to put it? In particular, consider the location's lighting.

2. Create a prototype. Use string or masking tape to create a virtual table ;) on the floor. Place your computer equipment, books, etc. in place. Does it feel right? Try again in a couple of days. Does it still feel right?

3. Double check that the design is stable and robust. In particular, is it strong enough to hold that pair of 21" monitors. Consider bracing to MHz or RAM, more is better.

5. Buy the wood, tools, screws and wood glue. Try and find "void free" plywood. Most plywood has hidden holes in the interior layers.

6. Even thought I took my time, used guides to ensure my straight edges were straight and curves consistent, rounded the edges, and put on three finishing coats, the entire project only took four hours. It is well worth it!

Pronounciation question (1)

TheMidget (512188) | about 13 years ago | (#2266837)

I rounded the edges using a router,

... but how do you pronounce router? And how would you pronounce it if you were on the other side of the big pond?

Cabinets (2, Informative)

scuzzie (520036) | about 13 years ago | (#2266780)

You can try a local kitchen and bath remodeler.
Most cabinet suppliers now carry a home office line. The possibilites are unlimited and you can find things in almost any price range.

Folding Tables (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 13 years ago | (#2266786)

Go to your local office supply place and get two 6ft folding tables. About $40.00 each or so. Cheap and works great for me. 12ft of desk space is nice.

$50 desk (2, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | about 13 years ago | (#2266787)

i agree... this topic is sorta lame...
but here is my thirteen cents worth.

Go to Home Depot (or your local lumberyard), along the way grab/steal/obtain one of those hard to find lumber carts...then:

Select a Solid Core Oak Door. SOLID. not hollow.
usually about $45-$50
Take it home, polyurethane or paint it to your hearts delight...(satin black was my choice)
then...
grab two of your file cabinets...one on each end
throw the door on top and voila!
one helluva strong computer desk.

If you are as motivated a good friend of mine...cut a 4" drop shelf out of the back-center of the door as wide as (2) 19" monitors, and drop supports, and voila, a nice cozy place for them expensive monitors, but wait there's more...add a few pieces of plywood and some dowels and glue and voila, now you have a shelf over those 19" monitors. If you have a router handy, give the edges of the door/desk a rounded top and sand to smooth.

Note:
this is HEAVY solution but cheap and effective.
HON file cabinets work great as supports.

Re:$50 desk (1, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | about 13 years ago | (#2266829)

You don't even need the solid core doors. My desk consists of a hollow-core door over two two-drawer filing cabinets. Lots of room underneath the desk for two or three PCs, lots of room on the desk for a big monitor, printer, telephone, plus plenty of other junk. Weight is not an issue, the desk doesn't even bend the slightest bit, and if you're concerned you can put the heavy items directly over the filing cabinets. Nor do you really have to treat the desk, untreated wood works fine. This is a cheap solution, and it provides more deskspace than anyone except CEO's normally gets...

cheapo furniture (1)

funkboy (71672) | about 13 years ago | (#2266788)

two short Ikea cabinets and a full size commercial door works for me. Even painted the door white to match the Ikea :-)

Suggestions.. (1, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | about 13 years ago | (#2266797)

First of all, you should get, for $200, SMC's Wireless Broadband Router. Then you wouldn't have to use Category Five all over the place, and you would have network printing.

Next, for a desk, consider using an interior door for a desktop. You can put it on top of some file cabinets (which have foam rubber on top to cushion the vibrations). Put some kind of nice, hard finish on it - Varathane, Minwax or such.

Finally, Give up that Coffee. It will raise your cholesterol, make your glands swell, and make your desk sticky.

The solution is modularity (2, Insightful)

maya (90492) | about 13 years ago | (#2266798)

I've got four computers set up in a relatively small (about 9' x 13') office, and after a number of different attempts (I've been working at this home-office-with-multiple-computers thing for close to 20 years), I've settled on a solution that seems to work.

Everything is modular, no bigger than it needs to be, and on wheels.

Every computer gets its own desk. As small as possible, with as few gimmicks as possible - no CD towers, no printer shelves, no cubbyholes; the only thing I'll accept, if the desk isn't low enough already, is a keyboard shelf, and that has to be wide and deep. It has to be on wheels. The ones I've come to like are the very simple little rolling workstation platforms that you can find at most computer or office superstores for about $60 - basically a flat desktop with a keyboard drawer and a bottom shelf to stash the tower.

Then I have one adjustable height folding table - Sam's for about $40 - about 30" deep x 72" wide; I've set that at a convenient keyboard height, and I usually have a laptop or two set up there. But it's easy to take the laptops off and set up a tower/monitor/keyboard at a convenient height for setup, modification, debugging. I've also got my DSL router, network switch, and a couple of power blocks velcro'd to that table at one end toward the back.

Then I've picked up a couple of sets of lovely maple folding tv tables - four tables, plus a stand, for typically $20-30 bucks. I've got a scanner more or less permanently set on one, and a printer on another. The others come and go as my need for horizontal space grows and shrinks.

Add one of those plastic 4-drawer cabinets (any office superstore, about $20-30) and a couple of file crates with wheels that live under the laptop table when I'm not actively working with them, and a bookshelf on one wall, and I've got a very efficient and flexible workspace!

Remember the three M's of home office furniture - Modular, Minimal, and Mobile.

Good luck.

Richard

Creating an inexpensive solution (3, Insightful)

k4 (267349) | about 13 years ago | (#2266800)

I've been working in my home office full-time (with 7 computers) for almost a year. I wouldn't want to be working at the same desk where the computers are because of all the heat they produce. So I have four of my computers stacked together on an anti-static mat. It's a lot cheaper than buying furniture for them, it works well, and they're directing their heat out of my office.

I use a desk from Office Depot (about $60) for my workstation - it's wider than normal computer desks, so you can fit your mouse, keyboard and a frosty beverage on the main desk surface. A shelf in the back comfortably holds 2 monitors, and the space under the shelf gives me plenty of room to hold all those little odds and ends. I have two of the desks together at about a 90 degree angle, and they make a great work area.

The other trick was to get a decent chair with height-adjustable arms (about $100) and set them so that the top of the arms is roughly even with the desk. I've had tendinitis and carpal tunnel in the past, but I haven't had any trouble at all working in my home office.

Multiple desks (3, Interesting)

ascholl (225398) | about 13 years ago | (#2266804)

One option I'm surprised I haven't seen voiced -- get a bunch of desks at thrift stores, arrange them in a semi-circle. Not necessarily the slickest option, but definitely the cheapest. At least if yr willing to place the machines & fridge on the floor. I use two desks & the top of a filing cabinet; add desks according to need.

SEVEN Computers? (3, Interesting)

Alan Partridge (516639) | about 13 years ago | (#2266808)

man, if you've got SEVEN computers, you really ought to rack them and use some KVM switching. You can also cool them more efficiently that way as well as providing better security and power supply. Keep your desk nice with your screens, kbd, mse and whatever cradle-like peripherals you need. Two's a couple, three's a crowd but SEVEN's a FARM.

Unfinished Furniture and Polyurethane (2, Interesting)

gunnk (463227) | about 13 years ago | (#2266813)

I searched for ages for a computer desk big enough and solid enough and affordable enough. No luck. So, I went to an unfinished furniture store and bought a dining room table. Long enough for all my computer stuff PLUS a TV/VCR. Deep enough so that I can stick papers I'm dealing with in front of my keyboard. $100 for the table. $10 to polyurethane it (why stain it? -- natural wood colors look great).

Similar problem - retail desks are small! (3, Informative)

under_score (65824) | about 13 years ago | (#2266840)

I ended up building a relatively large desk. It is 8' by 3' and about 3" higher than standard. It holds my 22" monitor nicely (1920x1440 res!!!) as well as my 88 key music keyboard. The great thing about it is that I spent next to nothing: about $90 Canadian (60 US) for materials and only about three hours to build it. I designed it myself to be very simple. I have shelving on it created out of milk crates and the remenants of the materials for the desk proper. All that said, its kinda ugly! I didn't finish it in any way (used MDF for the surface so that it is smooth). If anyone knows of a company that sells _big_ desks, I would love to hear about it! Problem is I don't want to spend a fortune on some massive executive desk.

cheap and good quality office furniture.. (1)

crazney (194622) | about 13 years ago | (#2266847)

What you need to do mate, is get your newspaper paper, check the classifieds for auctions.

There are tonnes of auction company's that auction off old office furniture collected by finance companies from bumbed out companies and so on..
They generally go pretty cheap, at work we got a $800 corner desk for about $100, pretty much top quality..

So check them out, youll be able to find something that suites, or maybe 5 desks :)

You need an EIA 19" Rack. (1)

Agent Green (231202) | about 13 years ago | (#2266851)

You really need to get a 19" equipment rack to go in the office...it makes for a nice touch.

My office is less than elegant, I must add...making total use of folding tables and such simply because it's cost effective. The place is a dump.

http://www.agentgreen.org/content/homeoffice.html [agentgreen.org]

From Trial And Error (1)

SerpentMage (13390) | about 13 years ago | (#2266859)

Rule 1) No matter how useful a table is, it is never enough. As a result my table are a series of pieces of wood (IKEA table tops) held up using legs (IKEA). Important that the table top height can be adjusted so that you will be comfortable.

Rule 2) Always put plastic / carpet between your chair wheels and floor. If you do not do this then the floor will look like hell after one year. Or worse you will loosen the tiles

Rule 3) Get a REALLY good chair. Your butt is going to be in it for a while and you want to be comfortable. And I do not go for the ergonomic chairs. Often I sit diagonally in my chair or something wierd and a "boss" style chair is great. I find ergonomic chair makes my butt fall asleep.

Rule 4) Get wireless or multi-device boxes. Otherwise you will have wire spaghetti...

Experience building your own- done that (2)

firewort (180062) | about 13 years ago | (#2266861)


My friend, who has loads of cash,
designed his own, and contracted the guy who custom did cabinets for his kitchen to build it.

The towers are on platforms that slide on aircraft-grade drawer tracks, so that the towers under the desks can be pulled out easily for access. the monitors sit at 45 degrees in recesses in the top of the desk (yes, he uses 19" screens. I encouraged him to get 17" LCDs and have then on articulated arms from the wall, but noooo!)

His scanner is on a shelf that slides forward and down. There's a full complement of cubbies in the hutch above the desktop.

Now, remember, the kitchen cabinet guy did all this, so the desk is a slick black granite formica, and everything else- best quality you can get. It's pretty damn sharp.

Ultra Low Tech (2, Interesting)

squaretorus (459130) | about 13 years ago | (#2266866)

My new desk is about as low tech as it gets. As with the rest, I had 3 machines, 4 monitors and preferably a space for my laptop to fit into a reasonably big room - but be pretty snug and 'presentable' when not in use.

Not being tooled up, I went down to B&Q and bought a drill, jigsaw, sander, saw, and one of those 'every tool you'll ever need' boxes for about £60. I then drove over to my mates work and took about 6 of the cleanest pallets I could find in their warehouse.

Two weekends of sanding, cutting, hammering and the like later I have a spanky 'slightly rustic' desk for absolutely free! Apart from having to buy the tools. which will last.

The timber would have cost about £100 - so even then its a HUGE desk about 14 feet long, and between 3 and 5 feet deep, with shelving beneath and some neat monitor stands for under 160 quids!

Two options for you (1)

Geek In Training (12075) | about 13 years ago | (#2266873)

I have 6 machines, and my friend has 5. Here's what each of us did.

He built a a custom "horseshoe" desk that fits around three sides of his small room. He used IKEA parts, which I believe ran him somewhere in the neighborhood of $400, and he went to the IKEA store and picked up the parts to save on shipping. It looks nice, and the parts are re-configurable and replaceable. It's not as sturday as what I did, however.

What I did was get a couple of pieces of 4x8 foor, 3/4s inch AC-grade plywoord ($60) and probably about 20, 8-foot long pine "wall stud" 2x4s ($2.25 each at Home Depot). When I cut these up and bolted them together, what resulted was a desk 12 feet long with a 32" high desktop, 28" high keyboard/mouse "drop downs," if you will, for four workstations; and sets of shelves at 5.5 feet and 7 feet high.

What results is a 12 foot long, 7 foot tall, 2 foot deep "Command Center," made of soft wood and deck screws that can be finished in any color or finish you would like, and is able to be assembled and disassembled in a few hours if you're moving.

I know it's hard to imagine, but I don't have any pictures online at this point. Email me privately and I would be happy to email you a couple .jpgs.

Good luck!

DIY computer desk (1)

rogerborn (236155) | about 13 years ago | (#2266894)

Yeah, I went the route of two 1 x 12 by 10 foot boards across two heavy black file cabinets, with a hung keyboard and a handy A/B box to switch monitors with. I used Remote Viewing to switch between the different Linux/Mac/Windows computers on my monitors.

The eight foot distance between my file cabinets was plenty of room for my icebox and my woofers, and a large black trashcan with a shredder.

The major difference was that I put this along one wall with a narrow walkway between the wall and my desk, for getting to those pesky spaghetti piles of wires. I even got some of that split plastic corrogated tubing to keep the wiring in, which helps.

I added another thinner shelf behind my computers, standing it upright to hide all the wiring mess from view.

The first time I put it together, it was flush to the wall, and impossible to wire up. Therefore, I moved it out to make the narrow walking space behind it all.

After a while, I tried to cover it with a semidull black formica. It worked! That was easier than I thought it would be, and now it all looks pretty cool.

Once you add some tiny studio post lights for the keyboard and writing spaces, some big speakers hooked to an AV amplifier, nail all your powerstrips and routers to the back of the upright shelf, and add a cable box with a small television, you have a place to work that you would never have to leave.

Oh, and get a comfortable black leather chair to match. Also get a hard flat floor mat under your chair so you can navigate the distance from one end to the other on wheels.

The whole thing was gotten for less than $300, a bit at a time. I got some hot posters framed in narrow black frames on the wall behind, and some indirect lighting for them hung behind that back board, and I am set.

Lets see? Humm? What if I exchanged that leather chair for a portapotty? . . . (grin)

Big, sturdy, furniature (1)

timewind (520041) | about 13 years ago | (#2266895)

I found myself in a similar situation recently, and have found the sort of tables that you want. Unfortunately they don't seem to have been made since the fifties. I found mine at a sale before the remodeling of Maine's only state office building, which was filled with furniature dating back to when it was new in 1956. These tables run to big and steel-framed. I got two, the larger of which is holding a pair of big monitors with room to spare (one of these is an ancient 19 inch grayscale of spectacular weight). These things do tend to run to bulky and gray, but the metal parts are easy enough to paint. I would be careful not to overload them, though, as I expect that their legs will go through the floor before they break, alarming the folks downstairs. Look for an office that is selling off old furniature. Mine were a remarkable buy, and in good condition.

Sometimes you get lucky ... (1)

tdelaney (458893) | about 13 years ago | (#2266896)

I had already purchased (and used) all of my office furniture before I moved to my current place.

I have two desks with built-in adjustable-height keyboard shelves. The desks are considerably wider at one end than the other, designed specifically for a fairly large monitor, and I have them in opposing orientations - so you have two positions almost back-to-back, but facing into the corners of the room. There are matching rolling filing cabinets which are able to fit under the desks (although they actually aren't under the desks) and matching bookshelves.

When we moved to the new place we happened to have an alcove off the lounge room which was a perfect fit - literally, 5cm either end of a desk. The filing cabinets are placed between the desks at the end where we sit, and have the two printers (laser and inkjet) on top of them - again, there is about 10cm total clearance from one wall to the other with this setup, and it provides plenty of space so that we don't run into each other.

The monitors sit on stands with a couple of small drawers in them (for holding things such as monitor wipes, pens, rechargable batteries, etc). There is plenty of space for the cats to sit between myself and the monitor ... one of the few disadvantages ;)

The 3rd and 4th computers are at the other ends of the desks - using them is slightly uncomfortable, but since they are used a lot less this is a non-issue.

The shelves form a very good separator between the lounge room and the office. I have one of my lounges backing onto the two sets of shelves, and have ended up with an almost-separate room from which you can happily watch the TV while something is going on.

Computers are placed under the desks at the ends away from where we sit - the monitor cables are just long enough for this to work perfectly. I have my scanner just off to to the side where I sit (easy to get at, doesn't interfere with anything) and my switch and hub on the other desk in the same position.

However, I would advise that if you can, use a separate room for the office (we didn't have the option, and the alcove was a perfect fit - if we hadn't used it for an office I don't know what we would have done, because the space was way too large for a lounge room).

Now I'm going back to play Arcanum [sierrastudios.com] - without a doubt CRPG of the year ...

Build your own furniture (1)

mustard (23354) | about 13 years ago | (#2266909)

No one on here suggested checking out http://www.anthro.com for all the DIY furniture?

All low cost solutions....but no high end stuff... (5, Informative)

Ronin Developer (67677) | about 13 years ago | (#2266914)

There are some really nice alternatives out there if you have the budget. Do a google search on the following keywords computer furniture home office and you'll get plenty of alternatives.

Sligh [sligh.com] furniture carries a line of home office furniture that looks like conventional furniture (hutches, desks, cabinets, etc). It's modular, of very high furniture quality, and really functional. Best of all, it looks like it belongs in a home and not an office or spacecraft or sterile.

But, it is pricey. We're in the process of finishing our basement which now includes a home office with 16 network jacks, 25 dedicated ground outlets and, I think, 8 phone jacks. We've got a built-in storage cabinet that will house my networking gear and UPS to help keep the office uncluttered. Additionally, we're looking at a printer cabinet that will house my laser printer, and a dedicated print server and probably our fax machine.

The kids play area also has a builtin dedicated computer desk (networked, of course) and place for an ink-jet printer and phone. Having one's own home with an unfinished area is a bonus as I have the luxury to do it right and not have to retrofit.

Yeah..I had to take a loan out for this...but when people say there are no decent computer furniture, that applies to people who are:

1) either not willing to really look or

2) don't have a budget for the more expensive stuff or

3) need a temporary arrangement (like a student moving into a dorm). In this case, rule #2 (or #1) usually applies.

I do however, applaud all the people who have responded with solutions that are truly functional for them and on a relatively low budget. It shows ingenuity and that necessity truly is the mother of invention.

And, I have to admit that sometimes I wish my wife would let me splurge and get some really off the wall stuff. Personally, I prefer the high tech look. But, for a home that I may have to resell someday, that isn't the most practical solution.

Cheers,

RD

Why build a desk around today's Frankenstein tech? (1)

Scodiddly (48341) | about 13 years ago | (#2266922)

Bear in mind that in a couple of years a lot of us will (hopefully) switching to flat-panel screens and ditching those gargantuan high-voltage space-heating CRT monitors. I'm suprised they don't have bakelite knife switches on the sides!

I'm figuring that in a year or two when my current CRT dies I'll get a similar-sized flat panel, and then I'll be able to use my nice little antique oak letter desk as my computer station.

Anyway, I'm currently using a $50 8-foot table from Office Max, with a cheapo shelf up on a couple of blocks to hold the monitor and another cheapo shelf attached to the front edge for a lowered keyboard tray. At home I've got a kickass height-adjustable computer table, which instead is the electronics bench. The computer sits in a roll-around stand from Office Max, and I keep drilling more holes to move the shelves around as equipment changes.

I just built my perfect desk (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 13 years ago | (#2266938)

I have just finished this process, and have what I hope are some useful comments. Rather than speculate on what you should do, I'll just tell you what I did.

THE DESK

I built a 3 section desk out of wood. The middle section was made from 4x4 legs, and and old IKEA butcher block top. It's about 5 feet wide. The wings are about 23" wide, and sit in line with the desk. I had limited space - you may want to angle yours to wrap around you a bit. The wings have a frame made out of 2x2's.

The wings each have 15 U of of rack space for holding computers, and in my case, recording equipment. This would also be a great place to put your CD player or receiver.

17" back from the front of the desk is a monitor shelf, which is 9 inches above the desk surface, and deep enough to hold a big monitor. The shelf runs the whole width, including the wings.

The space underneath the shelf is divided into 19" segments, with more rack rail for gear, little shelves for office supplies, and a bare cubbyhole for the scanner, KVM, etc.

RACK AND WIRING ADVICE

I used ball bearing drawer rails from a kitchen supply store to make slides for my rack mount computers. I also made a sliding shelf to hold the Mac.

It pays to be neat when cabling. I bundled a snake to run to each computer. At the back of the rack, each bundle is tied down and split apart. From the back of the rack to the peripheral equipment, the bundles are group by type - I.E. a KVM bundle for all machines, running to the KVM swith, and a network bundle running to the router/switch.

For any audio that you care about, keep those 6" from the data cables wherever you can.

Good question... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 13 years ago | (#2266957)

...and here was my solution:

I took my THREE 19" monitors, and traded them in for flat panels. I took my NINE computers and put them in an old telephone switching rack with big fans in the top and bottom. I took the beer fridge and coffee maker and traded them in for a couple of bottles of Vodka and no-doze. (more space efficient) I bought screw hooks and suspended the plush penguin and daemon from the ceiling. (to be fair, there are already windows in the room)

Did anyone else think this article was a lame excuse to brag? It is not what you have, it is what you do with it.

banquet tables (1)

laslo2 (51210) | about 13 years ago | (#2266971)

my desk consists of two of those long, folding-leg bamquet tables in a corner of an extra bedroom. on one I have enough room for my linux box and my mac, plus phone, ham radio gear, and small stuff. the other is my analog desk, with plenty of room to spread papers and books out.

those fancy 'computer workstations' are a waste of money, imo. two tables full of equipment and books looks way cooler than any 'ol woodwork.

The ultimate ergonomic workstation (2)

Ron Harwood (136613) | about 13 years ago | (#2266973)

Poetictech [poetictech.com] has always had really cool stuff... it's not DIY... but it's very slick.

Re:The ultimate ergonomic workstation (1)

GeekDork (194851) | about 13 years ago | (#2267112)

YAY! Then, you need some space to put that stuff up. Two things I thought when I saw the stuff:
  1. Can they be set to really fast rotation?
  2. Replace a cubicle farm with a bunch of those. Imagine the result.

Welll,, (1)

Beowulf_Boy (239340) | about 13 years ago | (#2267003)

I used to use 2 display tables from OfficeMax, but I finally nagged my dad enough, and he built me a really nice desk setup.
Its two Oak verneer table tops, with wide legs made of the same material. Very nice and extremely heavy. IT took 2 guys to lift the table top.

Glass (5, Informative)

saberwolf (221050) | about 13 years ago | (#2267004)

I couldn't find a suitable desk either, but I had slightly different goals. I wanted something to fit in a very specific place and that looked good. Functionality was a secondary design goal.

Anyway, my desk is in an alcove about 1.5m wide by 1m deep. It's constructed of a single sheet of tempered glass 6mm thick supported on three sides by 1" square blocks of wood bolted to the walls.

There are gaps in the support blocks at the back for the wires to go through and the glass is pulled slightly forward for them to fit. There's a piece of conduit bolted to the back wall that hides all the cables away.

It holds a 19" monitor, printer and a scanner (plus the inevitable pile of CDs, manuals etc that end up on it).

The effect is amazing, it looks like everything is just hanging there, the supports are painted the same coulour as the walls so they're not very obvious when you first see it. I intend to get a wireless mouse and keyboard to complete the effect at some point.

If you're thinking of doing this, get some professional advice on the glass and supports. I had the glass cut and polished by a specialist company (cost about £60) who worked out how thick it would need to be to support the weight.

Picnic table (1)

Milosch (8290) | about 13 years ago | (#2267026)

Not pretty, but ultra-portable and functional.
Did I mention cheap? $50US for an 8' table you
can pickup and carry out when you get evicted.

Use the closet! (1)

cubes (152204) | about 13 years ago | (#2267037)

I have the luxury of using an entire room in my house (third bedroom) as a home office. Space is still a consideration as I do share the room with my two (large) birds and their cages.

I removed the closet doors and put one of my desks in the closet. Mom passed along this tip from a magazine she'd read, and I am amazed at how much space it saves (plus I get a whole extra usable wall).

My other desk is a big piece of lam pine from Home Depot on top of a couple of drawer units from IKEA with home-built spacers on top to put the desktop at the right height. The lam pine hasn't shown any signs of warping after 5+ years of big monitors on top.

My hardware setup is less than ideal -- just utility shelving (vertical supports screwed into the wall with slots for shelf brackets) and pine boards for shelves. I wouldn't really recommend this stuff as it's turning out not to be sturdy enough for heavy stuff. I plan to replace it with something similar, though -- the overall arrangement works well. The extra heat near my desk is actually a bonus in my case, because my husband likes the house temperature kept somewhere around the "meat locker" setting. Other storage and a drop-leaf table (more horizontal space when I need it, out of the way when I don't) is provided by an IKEA &quotIVAR" wall unit. May not be the best quality in the world, but it definitely wins for ease of customization.

I'm surprised no one has mentioned... (3, Informative)

ErikZ (55491) | about 13 years ago | (#2267039)

I had the same trouble after my fancy computer desk got destroyed in a move. After looking around and seeing the cost for substandard desks, I just went to the office supply store. I bought an 8' folding table, like the kind you use in school or government functions. TONS of room underneath it also. When I move again, I won't have to disassemble anything, just fold up the legs and I'm good to go.
Sturdy.
60$.

I bought a second one for a workbench. The office stores deliver for free also.

thief deterrent ultimate desk(s) (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 13 years ago | (#2267053)

At my old apartment when I only had one (yes one) computer, I picked up a cheap hutch at Office Max which served its purpose well - until the top started crumbling away. So I threw away the top part and used the base as a nightstand, and picked up a $150 L-shaped desk.

I then started acquiring more and more machines, and suddenly I was running out of space AND I noticed my landlord was illegally entering my place without my knowledge.

Well, having ~$7,500 worth of computer equipment in plain view with a nosy landlord does not put me at ease. Sure, it would probably take someone unfamiliar with my setup a few hours to dismantle everything and wade through the cables, but I wanted to be put at ease.

I took that "nightstand" I previously mentioned and started dismantling my network. Computer by computer, I uncabled everything, and started housing them inside that old desk. Each one having 10 feet of each monitor cable, mouse cable, keyboard cable, and CAT5, that was 160 feet of cabling I also wanted to do away with. Hooked KVM cables up to my 4 port Belkin KVM switch (hot-key switchable) and mounted my 8 port 10/100 Netgear switch to the direct underside of the desk.

The cabling was so massive I assumed I'd have screwed something up. I crossed my fingers, turned the desk around and powered it up. (After two tries...) everything worked.

I put some crap on the other desk and my L-shaped desk had just a 17" monitor, keyboard, and mouse. That wasn't good enough, since, well, "where's the computer?" So I salvaged an HP 486/25 desktop and now use that as a monitor stand.

The only thing worth yoinking now is the monitor, or so it seems. But now that I (should) have a completely uncluttered desk, it conveniently houses a monitor, computer, mouse, keyboard, 219 empty cans of Budweiser, 87 empty packs of Camels and a bunch of other junk. It works like a charm.

Check out this desk (2)

Chanc_Gorkon (94133) | about 13 years ago | (#2267075)

This desk was built by Blake who runs Blakespot (used to run a Nino fan page until Philips killed it(the Nino that is...)). He built his own and I have been contemplating doing the same. Sauder and folks that make the home desks don't really make them good enough for people who actually need to work at them. Mine has stuff littered all over it because my wife uses it too. I don't have enough space for everything. It's also too deap. I would like to have one go floor to ceiling (well, almost) and have it L shaped with a long L shaped section that goes below my Window with a cut out in it for my 35 in TV. Why? I eventually will have a ATI or some other card with TV out and I feel whiy have two DVD players in the same room when I have one in my computer? Also this design would allow my TV to be seen without having to look through a person using the computer. Anyway, check out Blake's design at Blakespot [blakespot.com] .

Folding (banquet?) tables (2)

Brian Stretch (5304) | about 13 years ago | (#2267086)

I have two folding tables, one 6' and one 5', lining two adjacent walls in what is supposed to be my dining room (heh). Sturdy, cheap ($30 each), lots of room under the desks for the computers, just enough room on top for my 21" monitor, easy to spread stuff out... no shelves, though, but you could mount shelves on the wall above a desk if you wanted. I use a bookcase instead.

Exactly what I designed (2, Interesting)

The Bastard (25271) | about 13 years ago | (#2267089)

When I set up my home office, I sat down and designed the desk/work area, with the intention of having a guy in my hometown build it. I was a bit shocked when our new office furniture from Bush [bushfurniture.com] came in at work, and it was essentially my design. I checked the cost, and found that the savings was over 50%. Got it and it works great.

For my computers, I changed from cases to rack mount units, and bought a 22U rack from Greybar. I have one desktop system running Windows, as my Quicken and games system. Everything fits, and runs great.

nice big desk (1)

mico0 (455074) | about 13 years ago | (#2267098)

nbd = solid_core_door + 2 * saw_horse

solid_core_door: laminated in birch or some nice looking wood, without knob hole, they make fairly wide ones at least 3'. It can be painted with oil finish for protection from the elements.

saw_horse: pick the one that fits the height you want.

pros of this desk:
-very sturdy (you can stand on it).
-can be easily disasambled/assambled.
-cheap for what you get.

cons:
-top is kind of heavy.
-painting is needed if you want it to keep a nice look.

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