Hey y'all! I'm finally getting around to showing off this desk. Sorry if this is kind of boring or seems irrelevant but I had a lot of fun making this and really enjoy weird projects that make me frustrated. There'll be some art at the end here I promise. Just skip all the desk biz if you don't want to see how I made the coolest art cockpit ever.
The main reason I made this at all was because I wanted a place to actually paint and sketch that didn't kill my neck (drawing on my keyboard tray) and cost a ton of money (like renting a studio) or take up too much of my limited space. So I decided to make one section insanely long and coat the surfaces in epoxy resin so I can make whatever kind of mess on it and not worry about it. The whole thing cost just over $200 in materials compared to buying something like this costing multiple times that (I'm guessing).
If you'd like to make stuff like this I'd suggest getting these toys if you don't already have them. Safety disclaimer! Please make sure you use all the right safety equipment and know how to use the tools properly. You can seriously jack yourself up.
- WELDER - We have a MIG and all you have to do is plug it in, connect the ground and start welding. Make sure you've got the feed and amp/voltage settings are adjusted to fit whatever you're welding.
- GRINDER - I mostly use two kinds of wheels on the handheld grinder: Flap disc to smooth out bumps and welds, and a regular grinding disc to cut metal. The thinner the better if you're trying to cut thick metal into pieces.
- HARD METAL DRILL BITS - I learned this the hard way (I went through about 8 drill bits). If you're drilling into somewhat thick hard metal like steel, get the right bits! They'll usually have carbide or cobalt tips. You can save yourself a lot of agony and money.
- DRILL PRESS - This is kind of a luxury but we already had an old one and I probably wouldn't have done the project in the way I did without it. This will make sure your drills are virtually perfect and straight which is really important if you need things to line up correctly. Also they're way easier to use than drilling by hand.
- TAP - I probably didn't need this and kind of made the project more complicated, but I really wanted to mess around and experiment with this stuff. This was for threading holes in the steel plates. It was pretty tough and kind of thrashed my hands but it worked really well. You should be able to get individual sizes at Ace. And make sure you use oil or lube up in that hole ;0
I started with 4 simple rectangles for the two sections of the desk. In order to save money and do more on my own I bought the steel tubing in bigger sections and cut them myself with a chop saw, which didn't work very well and I ended up with slightly uneven lengths of tube. I wanted this thing to be serious industrial strength so I could put some heavy loads up on it to save even more space in my room. If you have access to a welder they open up so many opportunities to make awesomely strong stuff. Any two metal things you can think of, you can jam them together forever, it's great.
Here's the 2"x2" steel plates finally cut. This was one of the hardest parts. I don't know what I was doing wrong, but half the time when I tried to make these cuts the grinder would just stop going through the metal. My best guess is that it was getting too hot, but sometimes the saw would kind of bog and take huge chunks out really fast randomly. I dunno man. The absolute hardest part was getting the holes through these and tapping them. Save yourself a phat pain in the ass and get the right drill bits.
After getting the plate drilled and tapped I could test it out on the rectangles.
The plates would later be welded to the ends of the connecting steel tubes. I had to make sure the plates were thick enough (3/8") for the bolts to get a good sturdy amount of threading in. I could have easily just welded the metal frames in one piece and saved myself a lot of work, but they would have been really bulky, heavy as donk and hard to transport. I might not have even been able to get the big one in the house. I plan on using this thing for a long time so I wanted to be able to easily move it.
Here's what happens when you don't have the right bits and they overheat. Instantly useless.
Here's how I drilled through the plates and where most of my pain and suffering went. I couldn't clamp down the small plates with enough room to drill, but this method actually worked really well.
The aftermath of the drilling. On the very last hole I made it about halfway through and started having everything go wrong. Bit after bit kept getting ruined and I was so bent on finishing it that night that I just went from absolutely smallest size up incrementally until I finally got the hole the rest of the way through. That one plate probably took longer than all the others combined.
I was able to use the frame as a workbench which came in handy. I used this strip of steel to make little metal nibs to mount the wood to the frame.
Nibs up on there. The wood was slightly warped so I had the curled ends point upwards so that when I screwed it to the frame it would bend it down onto it, and there wouldn't be a bow popping up in the middle.
The epoxy resin was really fun and cool to put on. Once it's dry the surface is super smooth and hard. There's a bunch of stuff you can do with this too like suspend things in the fluid like they're an ancient mosquito encased in amber.
Finally got the first one finished and tested out. For the "hutch" I took the drawers out of this little table and cut a board to fit in there as a shelf.
This was one of the trickier parts. I used the retracting arm thing from another art desk and appropriated it onto this sucker. It was tough getting it to the right height and lining up properly but it works awesome.
Here's the old desk and mount for the arm, and how I made sure the holes were positioned right.
It works!! I totally forgot about the wood resting on the side edge and had to cut a little square out of the corner in order for it to be able to move freely on the hinges.
I jacked the keyboard tray from my old computer desk, which I put my tablet on to do digital painting, and cut some squares out of it for the steel tube to run through. Because of that tube I had to put some nut spacers between the tray and wood in order for my tablet not to scrape against it. It's a real snug fit.
IT'S DONE. I forgot to mention earlier one of the other benefits of using industrial strength steel I beams is that the long section didn't need any extra support in the middle and I can cram a ton of stuff underneath it. I've already gotten a ton of use out of it and I can't wait to make more stuff on it, like real physical paintings and sculptures. I'm only getting in my own way now by doing this ritualistic painting on the wood underneath the epoxy resin, which is keeping me from being able to make other paintings, but that's really the only thing left to do.
Well that covers it for the mega desk. Hopefully this was kind of cool to see.
Now on to the good stuff. Here's some random crud and failed experiments I've done in between other paintings. A few weeks ago I did an art test to do Gwent cards, but sadly didn't make the cut :( and I can't show the painting. But at least I went for it. I might try again sometime down the road when I'm hopefully more efficient at painting. I only had a week to get it finished and really struggled.
For the uninitiated
The first image of the winged pan like statues is for a $10 backer on my Patreon! That's right, you get a sketch mailed to you every month, plus all the other rewards. Huge thank you to them, that's a very generous thing and I really appreciate it.
I'm also in the middle of a book cover commission which I can't quite show yet, but it should be done pretty soon. I think it'll come out pretty neat, I haven't really done anything like it before so I'm pretty excited. If you'd like to commission me please check out my questionnaire and get in touch!
Well, this is already insanely long so I'm gonna wrap it up nice and neat right here. Please let me know if you have any questions about anything or just wanna talk about cool stuff. Thanks for reading!