You Won’t Believe How Much Tech Is Hiding In This Desk

Say what you will about office life: there were definitely some productivity perks, but the coffee is much better at home. Like many of us, [Pierre] has been working from home for the last year or so. And as much as he might enjoy spending so much time in his small Parisian apartment, it lacks many of the amenities of the office such as a scanner, printer, and, you know, a reasonable amount of space in which to work.

Inspired by another build, [Pierre] set out to build his dream desk that is maximum PC power in minimum space. It is chock full of easily-accessible cavities that hide everything you’d expect, plus a few things you don’t, like a flatbed scanner, a printer, a router, and a wireless charging pad. One cavity is dedicated to I/O, and another has three international power sockets. The only thing it doesn’t hide is the 22″ pen display that [Pierre] uses for sketching, signing documents, and occasionally as a second monitor.

A home-brew jig makes consistent dowel drilling much easier.

This desk may look like solid wood, but the top is a veneer that’s glued on to a custom-cut 1mm steel sheet. The inside frame is made of hardwood and so are the legs — one of them has a hidden channel for the only two cords that are even somewhat visible — the power and Ethernet cables. He joined all the frame pieces with dowel rods, and made a 3D-printed and metal-reinforced drilling jig to get the holes just right.

[Pierre] started this build by planning out the components and making meticulous notes about the dimensions of every piece. Then he sketched it and modelled it in FreeCAD to get all the cavities and cable runs correct and ensure good airflow through the desk. After that it was on to woodworking, metalworking, and PCB fab for relocated and hidden display controls and a custom-built amplifier.

It’s obvious that a lot of thought went in to this, and there’s a ton of work appreciate here, so clear off that inferior desk of yours and check out the build video after the break. Wish you had a PC desk? [Pierre] is seriously considering a Kickstarter if enough people show interest.

Are you into minimalism, but don’t want to build something of this magnitude? There’s more than one way to get there.

23 thoughts on “You Won’t Believe How Much Tech Is Hiding In This Desk

  1. Any accomodation of obsolete “paper” based technology should include an inkwell and a stand for a whale oil lantern. Perhaps a blotter and a wax sealing kit, and some 2 cent stamps.

    1. I think you mean that sarcastically, but that sounds awesome. I would totally rock an inkwell and lantern on my desk. Paper isn’t going away any time soon. From receipts to documents that require a physical signature, we’re still stuck with it.

  2. I built my desk 20+ years ago. It first supported a 20″ CRT connected to a 300 MHz Celeron. It’s seen about a dozen computer systems since then, currently a creaky old i7 with 3 24″ LCDs. It will probably see another dozen before I’m looking up at the grass.

    So I wonder how well this one will age.

    1. You can probably use a modern motherboard in that Celeron’s case, as motherboard form factors have been standard for quite some time now. Similarly, this desk will probably get a bunch of upgrades over the years.

  3. Pretty hard to do work at home with $100k logic analyzers. Could we drop the notion that everyone is now ‘working from home’? They aren’t – journalists, maybe. We are finding our work at home colleagues have largely checked out and a number have been fired. Especially on the suit side. The media really needs to get out more and stop assuming their world is everyone’s world. Maybe leave the house?

    1. Well since the story isn’t saying “everyone” is, there’s nothing to “drop”. With that being said, keep in mind the forum you’re on, where people regularly come up with creative test equipment.

  4. It’s a great looking desk! But it’s strictly a no drinks here desk. If you accidentally tip over a mug of coffee you can image the carnage. Or do drinks come in via a straw that pops up from the desk too?

    1. A good point, though if the opening panels fit snugly enough to keep the leaking of a beverage to seeping some simple slit gutters to drain it all away safely would be easy to add, and most if not all the electronics seem to be somewhat raised of the base. Or you could just make the panel fit so snug they don’t leak and have to be actively opened from inside – you touch the capacitive zone on door, trigger the release mechanism. I wonder how stiff those doors are – the larger ones might actually flex under fairly light loads being so thin, that would be a terrible way to ruin your computer and loose your cuppa…

      I mean strictly speaking most desks should be no drink – even though my PC is in a normal ATX (well massive EATX) case a spilt drink on my desk could easily mean computer killing – It is beneath the main surface of the desk (fairly common position it seems), there are no drip loop in the cables at the back so they would act as guides straight into the back of the PC, and as is more and more common the top is an air inlet/outlet…

      1. “there are no drip loop in the cables at the back”

        It would be nice to have cables long enough to have drip loops!
        Right now a number of my cables have to be plugged in “blindly” because they are not long enough to allow me to pull the computer case out far enough out of the desk to see what I’m doing!

        1. Precisely – you want cables with enough slack any moving monitor arm type thing can travel freely and you can pull the computer/desk out to get at the connectors… Inevitably purchasable/available/provided cables fall into two camps the many meters too long so they just make a tangling mess with each other, or not really long enough but you can just about shuffle the parts close enough together to let you plug them in…

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