Manufacturing guy-at-large.

Desk fab

Added on by Spencer Wright.

This weekend, in addition to setting up an Abaqus beam sizing optimization on my lattice bike stem, I got about 80% of the remaining work on my new desk done. Completing it (which I should get done in the next week) will be a long awaited upgrade to my home office, and I've put a lot of research and care into selecting my materials and designing a system that's functional, lightweight, aesthetically pleasing, and modular. The structure is based on unidirectionally would carbon fiber tubing - the same stuff that I use for my titanium-carbon road bike seatpost

I cut the tubing to length with a 10" diamond grit blade, and use a piece of aluminum oxide wet/dry cloth to knock down any slag (stray, partially cut fibers). I then wiped the tubes down with tack cloth and used a two-part high gloss clear coat to seal and protect the tubes. The result looks great - it's hard, smooth, and allows the fiber to shimmer when it catches the light. 

The last pieces to prep before assembly are the frame's nodes. These were printed on a Form 2 in their "Tough" resin, which most people would use for functional prototyping but which I'm planning to use indefinitely. I considered leaving the nodes in their natural blue-green (you'll note that I even changed the color on the parts in my model a few months ago), but ended up deciding to paint them black. 

I was a bit hesitant to take on a finish paint job - I've been painting more and more recently, but my spray skills are mostly untested on small, intricate parts - but Formlabs has a good two part (one, two) guide and anyway I didn't have any other options. I used the Tamiya primer and spray paint they suggested (a note on this: Tamiya's bottles are pretty small. I ended up buying three bottles of primer and five bottles each of black topcoat and matte clear.), which goes on soft and easy - much nicer than the big rattle cans that I'm used to.

I've still got to sand, prime and paint three more of the nodes, but once that's done I'll be able to assemble the entire desk and start attaching accessories - which, because I'm particular about my workspace, will be more complicated than maybe most people's setups :) 

More soon!