john12ax7

DIY Studio Furniture Desk
« on: August 29, 2016, 06:55:59 PM »
Who here has built their own studio furniture? I'm thinking of making something along the lines of Sterling Modular or Argosy. All the rack space at your fingertips that could eventually serve as the frame for a modular mixer.


Re: DIY Studio Furniture Desk
« Reply #1 on: August 29, 2016, 10:03:37 PM »
I have. Not a desk but I designed and built a pair of rack cabinets, a head cab for a Supro and some other things. I designed them in Sketchup, translated to DXF using Draftsight and then sent the file to a company that has a CNC machine. The designs fit in a 4'x8' sheet of 12mm birch ply. Then I picked up the pieces and literally glued them together with band clamps. You can make very accurate pieces. It's not necessarily cheaper even without considering time spent. But you can make exactly what you want. For example, I wanted a rack unit that was relatively shallow to fit a certain space but rack cabs are usually pretty deep (presumably because they would be top heavy if you put something heavy in the top and nothing in the bottom).



The speaker baffle was just to use up space in the sheet but it actually turned out to be quite nice to have an old Jensen P12Q projecting at ear level.

john12ax7

Re: DIY Studio Furniture Desk
« Reply #2 on: August 29, 2016, 10:40:21 PM »
How much did they charge to CNC the 4x8 sheet? Was thinking of going that route.

Re: DIY Studio Furniture Desk
« Reply #3 on: August 29, 2016, 11:47:34 PM »
How much did they charge to CNC the 4x8 sheet? Was thinking of going that route.
I don't recall exactly. It was maybe $250 USD. The sheet was ~$70 USD maybe. So $300+ total. I sent out an email to ~5 companies at the same time (same email but separate so that they would not know it was a "bakeoff"). I just used the first guy who replied but after about a week I got lower bids (one was like $100 USD I think).

However beware. I did this twice, used two different guys and both times they screwed up pretty significantly. The first guy completely lost a piece (and not even a small one - it was like a 1'x3' piece). Fortunately it was the removable back of the Supro head cab so I was able to build the project and then added the missing piece to the second run. But the second guy was actually worse. He incorrectly cut one of the pieces and several of the boards were a little warped. It also took about 3 months for reasons that were never clearly explained.

Unfortunately here in NJ USA this sort of thing is considered a "left-footed" job so I could not really complain. When I went to pick up the second job I saw immediately the long sides were warped but I didn't even bother to say anything and just paid the guy and left. My guess is he bought the sheet and then put it somewhere were it dried out and warped.

Fortunately the design had numerous places where multiple pieces intersected at right angles (meaning it was designed to be glued together) so it all straightened out in the end. And it helped that I mounted the steel rails (from Redco) before gluing it all together.

Because the CNC cutting is so accurate, an alternative construction method might be to make tabs that fit together exactly. Like a jigsaw puzzle. With the right screws (small hex heads maybe), such a design could be very strong (possibly even without glue).

If you go the woodworking glue route, I used a 50/50 mix of water/glue to pre-moisten all joining surfaces and then used ample amounts of 100% glue on both surfaces just before clamping it all together. That allowed the glue to really get deep into the birch ply. Then, after it was mostly dry on the surface, I did another pass of glue into all corners and smoothed with my finger. This is surprisingly strong. Probably because the CNC is so accurate, the joint surfaces are tight. Although I do not know if it would survive water.

If I were to do this again (and I probably will since I'm already running out of rack space), I would probably try to buy the sheet of Birch ply myself so that I would get a very high quality, straight piece. The more layers the better. Anything with less than 5-8 layers is not good. And it should be possible to find one side plug-free so that you can apply a finish if desired (although this would require the pieces to be layed out on the sheet in a just such a way). That would also give me an opporunity to meet the guy, shake his hand and be very interested in what he was doing. The end result will almost certainly be better.

john12ax7

Re: DIY Studio Furniture Desk
« Reply #4 on: August 30, 2016, 01:10:50 AM »
Thanks for the very detailed reply. A lot of the CNC cost might just be setup so for a small one off job a local carpenter might be more economical, super precision may need be required.

I'm hoping to make things easy to assemble, disassemble, and transport so that rules out glue for some parts.

I have two basic designs I'm considering, one is the more streamlined mastering look, the other with extra vertical space that could eventually be a meter bridge. Also need to decide how many rack spaces total, not too big but also considering future needs. The arm rest will house artist fader packs.

Was thinking of using something like 11 or 13 ply baltic birch but it doesn't seem available at the local big box hardware stores.

john12ax7

Re: DIY Studio Furniture Desk
« Reply #5 on: August 30, 2016, 01:11:42 AM »
The streamlined mastering type version.

gyraf

Re: DIY Studio Furniture Desk
« Reply #6 on: August 30, 2016, 02:12:26 AM »
It's a bit like like DIY electronics - you can get what you want, and learn a lot from the process, but it won't necessarily come cheaper than an existing commercial product.

Have you looked into the "SessionDesk" range of consoles? http://www.sessiondesk.com/  ?

They have a very extensive collection of compatible modules that can be configured (and re-configured) for nearly every need.

Lately they moved into custom designed modules and table inserts - their (German) cabinetmakers can do almost anything you dream up..

Jakob E.

(yes, I'm a fan - I've used their desks on several occasions)
..note to self: don't let Harman run your company..

john12ax7

Re: DIY Studio Furniture Desk
« Reply #7 on: August 30, 2016, 02:59:53 AM »
I was not familiar with Session Desk, thanks for the info. I like how the sides are basically standalone racks. Gives me some more to think about.

Gold

Re: DIY Studio Furniture Desk
« Reply #8 on: August 30, 2016, 03:01:04 PM »
I use aluminum T slot framing to make studio furniture and a lot of other stuff too. I had a metalworker make my console frame. That was before I was set up to deal with the T-slot framing. If I was t do it over again I'd probably use T-slot framing.

Putting it together is a breeze. You only need a hex key. If you want to be able to cut pieces to length you will need a cutoff saw or something similar. You can order everything cut to size if you want.

T-slot framing comes under different brand names here in the US. I use 80/20. I believe T-slot framing is originally a German invention. Even though much of the hardware is available in Imperial the slots themselves are metric.

It's not the cheapest stuff but you can reuse everything.

pvision

Re: DIY Studio Furniture Desk
« Reply #9 on: August 30, 2016, 07:57:11 PM »
I designed them in Sketchup, translated to DXF using Draftsight and then sent the file to a company that has a CNC machine.

How accurate is the export using Draftsight?

Ply is not the material to show up inconsistencies particularly well, but what kind of feeling did you get for accuracy?


Nick Froome


Re: DIY Studio Furniture Desk
« Reply #10 on: August 30, 2016, 10:32:59 PM »
I designed them in Sketchup, translated to DXF using Draftsight and then sent the file to a company that has a CNC machine.
How accurate is the export using Draftsight?

Ply is not the material to show up inconsistencies particularly well, but what kind of feeling did you get for accuracy?

Draftsight saves as DXF so there is nothing to export. DXF is what you would send a CNC guy. I just add dimensions and then translate each piece into Draftsight using CAD commands. You have to "flatten" the design from 3D to 2D anyway.

I'm not sure what you mean by "inconsistencies". To be clear, we're not talking about your average plywood.  Good Birch ply is ~9 plys which is very strong, rigid and dense and can be cut very accurately. Less than a millimeter for sure. It's much more accurate than a table saw.

Here's a pic of one of the rack cabs:



Note that this is 12mm and not the 3/4" MDF that is more commonly used for building furniture. The 12mm makes for a lighter, smaller, cleaner piece.

Also note that the top peice in this cab is wrong which is why it doesn't look particularly good and grain is running the wrong way. The CNC guy messed up the top piece so I just used a piece of 3 ply.

Re: DIY Studio Furniture Desk
« Reply #11 on: September 01, 2016, 05:09:52 AM »
I designed some for our new studio using Sketchup. I did look into CNC'ing, but for small runs/simple designs it was easier to get someone to hand make them.

Sketchup


Real life (just missing the edge laminate)



Jidis

Re: DIY Studio Furniture Desk
« Reply #12 on: September 17, 2016, 06:56:09 PM »
Good Birch ply is ~9 plys which is very strong, rigid and dense and can be cut very accurately.
Yeah, also be aware that a lot of the composite and plywood cabinetry you see gives the illusion of panel thickness with reinforced edging. I did a desk for my test equipment many years back trying to attain the look I saw in others, and made the mistake of using something like an inch and a quarter particleboard with 1/16 plastic laminate and balancing sheet. It was like trying to pick up a slab of concrete. It also broke two of its own Ikea legs at one point and crashed down into the floor. On the plus side, chopped up pieces of it are still being used for stuff here twenty years later.  :D

I'm hoping to make things easy to assemble, disassemble, and transport so that rules out glue for some parts.
I hear you on that too, having had to move out and store things in the past. Most of my permanent stuff is biscuit joints, but I use a mix of cross dowels and wooden dowels on some pieces for that reason.

Take Care 

rob_gould

Re: DIY Studio Furniture Desk
« Reply #13 on: September 19, 2016, 07:31:42 AM »
I designed some for our new studio using Sketchup. I did look into CNC'ing, but for small runs/simple designs it was easier to get someone to hand make them.

Sketchup


Real life (just missing the edge laminate)


These are gorgeous.  May I ask how much roughly the desk cost?

jasonallenh

Re: DIY Studio Furniture Desk
« Reply #14 on: September 23, 2016, 02:50:33 PM »
I built a desk shaped like a console to hold my outboard- all within arms reach. I'll have to follow up with a picture, I'm quite proud of it, and I only built it from a single sheet of 3/4" birch, screws, stain, and rack rails. I made a padded armrest as well.
Successful builds:
G-Calrec
G-Pultec
GSSL
Igor's 4kCC
Poctop's u87
Matador/Chunger C12 (almost)

john12ax7

Re: DIY Studio Furniture Desk
« Reply #15 on: September 23, 2016, 03:47:44 PM »
I built a desk shaped like a console to hold my outboard- all within arms reach. I'll have to follow up with a picture, I'm quite proud of it, and I only built it from a single sheet of 3/4" birch, screws, stain, and rack rails. I made a padded armrest as well.

Yes post some pics

jasonallenh

Re: DIY Studio Furniture Desk
« Reply #16 on: September 25, 2016, 03:22:56 PM »
The more I fill this desk with gear I built, the more I can pretend I build a console  ;D. There's a pair of Igor's 4KCCs, and a Gyraf Calrec in the left bucket.

And yes, I have a Midiverb ii. Love it.
Successful builds:
G-Calrec
G-Pultec
GSSL
Igor's 4kCC
Poctop's u87
Matador/Chunger C12 (almost)