Category: Trays and Tables

Diy Computer Desk

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---- DO IT YOURSELF ENTRY --------- PURPOSE: To create a do-it-yourself accessible computer desk for an individual with Amyotrophic Lateral Sclerosis (ALS). This do-it-yourself computer desk is adapted from Sauder assemble-it-yourself furniture. First, the bookshelf was assembled according to instructions and necessary for getting the proper measurements for the height needed for the desktop. The desktop was constructed from 30 by 30 inch sheet of ¾ inch plywood. The length of the desktop can be adjusted for the available space. The plywood can be stained and made decorative with molding to finish off the edges. The keyboard tray was constructed from 30 by 32 inch sheet of ½ inch plywood. Then the keyboard tray was cut to allow it to wrap around the user using a cardboard pattern. It is important to make the “armrest section” of the tray long enough to provide complete support of the users elbows. The depth of the tray is recommended at 30 inches or else there will be no room to work. Any longer than 30 inches then the tray will not slide under the desk which isn’t ideal for power-wheelchair users. The width of the tray should be as wide as space allows providing a maximum working surface.

After the initial bookshelf, desktop, and keyboard tray are created then measurements and assembly can begin. First, measure the distance from the floor to the top of the wheelchair armrests. This is the height needed for the pull-out tray. An additional 5 inches was added for depth of the tray and space between the tray and the desktop. This is important so that the keyboard fits easily under the desk when pushed in to avoid the keyboard getting “squeezed”. Second, lay out the pieces for the second bookshelf, cut the sides at the height desired for the desktop, and assemble the cabinet. The desktop and keyboard tray were cut from a sheet of ¾ inch plywood and the length of the desktop can be adjusted to available space making sure to leave adequate knee hole space. Third, set up the pieces to make sure they all fit together in the available space. A piece of 2 by 4 can be added to underside of the notched end of the desktop where it sits on the self of the bookcase to level it.

Next, mark the underside of the desktop where the slide out tray is to go for the tray mounts. Metal tray runners were not long enough so wood runners were created. To make the tray runners 1 by 6 inch boards were mounted to the underside of the desktop with L brackets. Then 1 by 2 inch boards are screwed in at right angles to make the edges the tray would sit on. A strip of 1 by 1 inch board was added above the 1 by 2’s to form a slot for the tray. These are spaced about 1 inch above the 1 by 2’s to give the ¾ inch tray plenty of room to slide without binding and keep the tray fairly level when pulled out. The sliding surfaces were waxed with an old candle to allow the tray to slide even more easily. Finally, quarter round edges were added to the desktop and the desktop was stained to try to match the bookshelf. MATERIALS: 30 inch wide bookshelf with or without doors and between 16 and 6 to 8 inches deep, two book selves or one book shelf and one cabinet, 30 inch by 70 inch sheet of ¾ inch plywood (desktop), 30 inch by 32 inch sheet of ½ inch plywood (keyboard tray), 1 inch by 6 inch and 2 inch by 2 inch boards (slot for tray to slide), and L-brackets. TITLE: Computer Desk. WEBSITE: Living-With-ALS. REF:


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