Saturday, March 28, 2015

DIY: Built-in Dual PC Desk 2015 Part 2

I started to transfer all the components into their respective homes. I replaced the ATX PSU with Silverstone Tek 450 (Amazon) and 300 (Amazon) watt SFX PSUs.

I cut and drilled some acrylic to house the HDDs. Not super pretty but it works. 
Right Side NAS HDDs

Left Side SSD

I bought these 120mm Dust Covers (Amazon) so that it wouldn't get too dust inside the "case". I have to take the glass top off every time I need to mess with the components.
Installed  the cover under the desk.

I used a leftover piece of MDF to temporarily hold up the monitor and keyboard. I didn't want to put the glass top on knowing I will still be working on the components and cables.

For the gaming PC, I replaced the Corsair H50 (Amazon) with a Noctua NH-U9B SE2 (Amazon). I have maybe 2 mm clearance between the glass top and the CPU fan.

I used a PCIE 16x Cable Riser (Digikey) to remote the graphics card. Additionally, I used the HDMI extender from a Firestick TV (Amazon) to get a decent bend on the HDMI cable without putting stress on the cable or the graphics card.

NAS side all complete. Note the IO panel. Eventually I plan on sealing the backs of the desk and use the IO panels.

Current status as of now. Things I need to work on: Cable Management and selling all the old components (Lian Li PC-Q25, Fractal Node 304, Corsair 450 and 500 ATX PSU, Corsair H50)

Purchased a few Cord Away Wire Clips (Amazon) and tidied up the wires in the back.



Monday, March 23, 2015

Unboxing and Mini-Review: Silverstone Tek 450-Watts SFX Gold

To go along with the PC Desk build, I need to replace the old PSU (Corsair CX500 ATX PSU). I factored in the size of an SFX PSU for the SketchUp phase of the desk. I knew I wanted to go modular at least for the left side of the desk. I ended up going with an SFX modular PSU (Silverstone Tek 450-Watt SFX). I am not big on overclocking and I don't SLI or Crossfire my videocards, so 450-Watt PSUs haven't let me down. Be careful with the Amazon. The Bronze version is NOT modular! You must go with the Gold version if you want modular cables.



Cables Included: 20/24 Pin Motherboard Cable, CPU 4+4 Cable, PCI-E Cable, SATA Cable (3 SATA Ports) , and Molex Cable
Here is the PSU next to the ITX motherboard. Still waiting on parts to finalize placement of everything.
I think the cables that come with the PSU are adequate. One thing I don't like is that Silverstone only sells the 90° SATA power cables as a $30 kit (Silverstone PP05 Short Cable Kit). As an alternative, I ended up purchasing a SATA Y-Cable ( Startech PY02SATA Splitter Cable).

DIY: Built-in Dual PC Desk 2015 Part 1

After finishing our basement in 2013, I finally had my office back where I can do "work" and online classes. It had my laptop (which I later replaced with a Surface Pro 3), Gaming PC, and unRaid server (built here). My brother donated the L-shaped Ikea Galant Desk which came in very handy. I later "downsized" to the Acer 27" 1440 monitor

My office isn't very big and the desk took up a good amount of room. I wanted a computer desk that :
A. Housed both computer.
B. Looked cool.

Yup that's basically it. After searching online for some computer desks, I just didn't see anything that piqued my interest so I decided to make my own! With some help from SketchUp, I was able to transfer my sketches into accurate virtual measurements!



I am by no means a carpenter. I went to Lowe's to see what type of wood they have and did research on what wood to use. I ended up going with Poplar because of price. It was cheap enough that if I messed up, my wife wouldn't kill me but also easy to work with and looks decent. Only bad thing is it damages very easily. Good thing the desk will have a glass top!

Most of the materials.

I don't have a lot of skill in woodworking so I wanted to make this desk as easy to assemble as possible. Originally, I wanted to join all the wood pieces with dovetail joints. I tried it out on one piece of wood and quickly gave up on that idea. Next up was the pocket hole. I ended up going with the Kreg R3 Jr. Pocket Hole Jig System (Amazon). This thing was real easy to work with and the results turned out great as you can see below.

Test Piece

The Kreg Jig made it incredibly easy to put the desk together. You set the drill bit and the jig to the determined wood thickness, clamp the jig down, and drill. I ended up getting Kreg Face Clamp (Amazon) and Right Angle Clamp (Amazon) to help me hold the pieces together. These two clamps were lifesavers. They kept the pieces tight and straight so I can install the first screw.

Both legs complete.
One leg down.

I ended up cracking one of the leg posts by using a long screw. I injected some wood glue in the crack and clamped it overnight. Good as new!
Nothing a little wood glue and clamping can't fix!


I used four access per board to secure the inside portions of the component boxes. Looking back at it, I should have installed the bottom of the boxes first and than the side.

I took some test pieces and used a miter saw to cut a 45° angle for the frame the glass top will sit on.. I used the pocket hole jig and wood glue to secure the pieces. Turned out pretty well. 

I cut two long pieces and to short pieces. I made sure they were longer than the desk and slowly took bits off with the miter saw. That way I created a tight fit on the desk. I forgot to take pictures of the second part of the front desk. The "drawer" lines up and sits flush with the front of the desk and the inside of the component box. I had to rip a 1 x 4 in order for everything to line up correctly. Good thing I used my SktechUp model for measurements because everything was a perfect fit first time.


Perfect fit! I used  pocket holes drill inside the desk going up to secure the frame.

I used 1/2" birch plywood for the bottom of the component boxes. It was really easy to work with. I used a regular hand saw to cut the notches out of the corners. Pocket holes were used at the underside of the plywood.



Admittedly, I am not very good at staining. I know I wanted a dark stain and still see some grain. I ended up using Minwax Pre-Stain Wood Conditioner (Amazon) and Minwax Polyshades Black Satin (Amazon). I don't think it turned out too bad but might used a different product next time. 

I bought some blue LED momentary switches (Mountain Mods) for the power buttons. The switches screwed directly into the wood which worked out since the thickness of the wood wouldn't allow me to use the included bolt.
I cut and stained the two inner pieces. My original plan was to leave the gap open but decided this looked better. I just glued and camped overnight.

I used a 4 1/2" hole saw (Amazon) to cut holes for the 120mm intake fans. Marked out the fan mount holes and drilled them out. Now the construction portion of the desk is complete.


After letting everything dry for a day, I moved it into its new home. I ordered the annealed glass top and made sure it fit. The first time I brought the glass top home I realized I ordered it a foot longer than I should have. Luckily the glass shop cut it back down to the right size for free. I had to order some new computer parts in order to fit in their respective cubbyholes which I will detail in Part 2!