PCB-Filled Dream Desk Will Only Get Cooler With Age

We all have one. Maybe you’re sitting at it now, or just wishing you were — that perfect desk. You know the one — a place for everything and everything in its place, ample acreage, specialized storage, and top-notch looks. Oh, and blinkenlights. Can’t forget those.

It took four months of hard work, but [Build XYZ]’s dream desk has been finely fabricated into fruition. There’s a lot to unpack with this build, which you can appreciate after the break, but it all started with a donated up/down desk from Progressive Desk. After building the base and putting it through its body weight-driven paces, [Build XYZ] set about making the perfect top, which, as you can see, highlights an assortment of PCBs by encasing them for eternity in resin.

But don’t let your admiration stop there, because the woodworking is just as much a part of the show. In addition to the functional blinkenlights that notify [BuildXYZ] when it’s time to stop working for the day or just take a break, there’s a working wireless charger hiding among the FR4. We can’t wait to look back on this desk in 20 years or so and we also can’t wait to see how PCBs will change over the next 20 years.

This tightly-produced video is a fascinating look into the process of forever immortalizing things in resin. So much resin, in fact, that [Build XYZ] came up a gallon short during the pour and had to wait an excruciatingly long time before more resin showed up. Seeing as how you totally can’t tell at all in the final build, we have maximum respect for [Build XYZ]’s inclusion of this part in the first place, which serves as a warning to the rest of us.

27 thoughts on “PCB-Filled Dream Desk Will Only Get Cooler With Age

  1. Would be really cool to make one of these with a gradient of old computer bits up to current ones on the other side. Have some core memory and subminiature tubes and punch-cards on one side, up through floppies and HDD platters and CDs, then modern things on the other. Maybe some room to expand in the future.

      1. The refractive index of Acyrlic and glass with Mineral oil is pretty similar if memory serves, and epoxies are available and tweak able to match. So yes it should be possible to get that near invisible, if not entirely invisible boundary between the working parts, the cooling system and the desk with a mineral oil cooling method.

        The water cooling method brings some trouble for part changing and dealing with different thermal expansion properties – you pot a CPU and CPU block together with epoxy I’d expect there to be a disaster with how quickly the CPU can spike higher heat, and all the components like the VRM that normally are aircooled more passively suddenly are encased with no convection.

        Also if you are going to do an epoxy pour the tube need not be clear, just removable afterwards – so wax forms that can be melted, polystyrene dissolved etc..

  2. Never understood the motorized desk fad. Why not get a standing height a shop stool. Today I think they’re called ‘tall office chair’. When I sit, my head doesn’t move down, my legs simply move up. No need to have the desk move My feet don’t need to stay on the floor.

    1. Harder to find a comfortable tall office chair! Not impossible, I’m sure, but at my office the tall chairs weren’t comfortable for me. I had them order standing desk legs for me. Easier to convince them to just get me new desk legs than it would be to convince them to get me new desk legs and a new chair.

  3. Hm..my desk is made of wood, but look the same because there are so many PCB on top. How can I differentiate between my one and the moulded one inside the desk? It will make it harder to find one, much harder than today. :)


    1. Beat me too it.

      Perhaps it would satisfy my inner need for clutter and I could be better organized.

      What I really need is room for two more large workbenches. Then my desk could be somewhat clear. Who am I kidding?

  4. It’s a nicely made and executed project, but I don’t like the idea of embedding active electronics in epoxy. Why not do it the simple and old fashioned way by putting a sheet of glass over it all? It’s more resistant to scratches, you can repair things if they break, and you can also occasionally change the contents of what’s displayed on your desk.

    Also, when you start putting active electronics in your desk, a small extra TFT monitor for “miscellaneous data” from a clock / alarm timer to intercom functions or whatever would be a nice addition.

    1. I don’t get the idea of why it’s BPA epoxy as a not even remotely food grade surface that you are likely to have constant skin contact on. That is also on top of a paid advertising desk that isn’t even very sturdy and moves about way more than it should and is not even that well made to begin with and then the actual desktop is coated with heavy epoxy on top of that. Which makes it slower to rise and lower anyway! This looks novel but sheesh this isn’t a desk I would suggest to actually use.

    2. I’d have to do it that way, glass topped shadow box, for a very important reason… almost as soon as the resin would be dry, it would be absolutely inevitable, that cast in there, there would be an obscure chip, or not so obscure one, that’s merely out of stock everywhere, would be sitting there laughing at me…. because something I wanted to make or fix ASAP would be needing it… go a few months and there’s 2…. a few years…. 10…. all kinda like laserbeams to the eye as you sweep your gaze across it, in how they stab you in the retina with mockery.

  5. Hmm, 🤔 What happens when the cheap, Chinese RGB LED strip-lights start failing?

    Those things often start failing when they’re on a large metal heatsink, let alone when interfaced between wood and epoxy.

    My OCD would render it unusable 😞

    Nice carpentry though!

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