Build Your Own Gaming Desk
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I spent months looking at standing desk reviews before I decided I would save money and be happier making my own. After surprisingly easy assembly and about 1000 years of cable management, I can’t recommend this base enough if you’re considering a standing desk yourself. I have never had more pleasure in having a custom gaming table.
Build Your Own Gaming Desk
For me, good “gaming” requires two things: solidity and space. It has to feel stable, and I wanted a table roomy enough to hold my HOTAS when I want to play Star Wars: Squadrons. The gaming benches you’ll find on Amazon are mostly cheap crap, which is why our recommended gaming benches are usually just quality standing desks. If you’ve never tried a standing desk, you might be surprised how much more alert and active it feels to play action games or shooters while on your feet.
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As with upgrading your computer, the DIY approach to the desk allows you to save money by purchasing only the components you need, resulting in a sturdier desk.
In 2016 I bought a $100 Ikea Gerton table to use as a table with cheap legs. Gerton is great: it’s an inch-thick slab of beech wood with a metal rod running through the middle for stability. As a desktop, it’s overkill (aka
61 inches wide. Throwing to switch to a standing table would be a waste of money. Any cheap standing desk would come with a much smaller and thinner laminate top, while any nice standing desk would cost much more for a similar top. So I decided to repurpose my desk and find the right legs for it.
If you’ve built more than one computer in your life, you probably know what it’s like to go through a checklist of parts in your rig and decide what to keep and what to replace. For me it was like storing my suitcase and buying brand new parts to put in it.
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Maybe your existing desk has a cheap top you’re ready to ditch. In this case, if you buy it separately, you will customize your table by cutting or painting it yourself. For example, this redditor bought a Gerton table top, cut six inches off, and stained it a rich walnut to create the exact desk they wanted.
There are many other options, such as buying a custom table made of real wood (opens in a new tab) or even using an old door you buy on Craigslist.
If your goal is a high quality standing desk, this will definitely save you money. For example, the Fully Jarvis Bamboo Freestanding Table, an extremely well-reviewed model, costs $670 for the 60×30 model. At Uplift, maker of The Wirecutter’s favorite standing desk, upgrading from a smaller laminate to a 60×30 bamboo desk brings the price to $749.
Replacing with any DIY project is obviously more work, but when I built my table I was relieved to find that using the Gerton was still very easy.
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I looked down the leg for a standing desk before settling on the Uplift, which makes the extremely well-reviewed V2 standing desk as well as the large corner desk that Evan wrote about in December. Some other popular standing desk brands don’t sell the legs separately, but the Uplift does, along with a great customization process that includes leg shape and color, various control panels, and accessories like monitor arms and cable management tools. I already had the cable management stuff and bought my own monitor arm, but Uplift sent me their V2 table legs for a DIY build.
V2 legs start at $439, while an inexpensive standing desk frame can be purchased for less than $200. In the end, user reviews steered me away from cheaper brands of standing desks for a few reasons:
If you’re already saving money by reusing part of an old table, I think it makes sense to pair it with high-quality legs. And the MVP of my entire build turned out to be Uplift’s fantastic instruction booklet, which made every step of the process very easy to follow.
All parts for the Uplift table frame, including seven different types of screws, are clearly packaged and labeled so there’s no confusion about what to use. The manual is actually the same for assembling the Uplift table or using your own table, with clearly marked instructions at each relevant step for the table with or without pre-drilled holes.
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I especially appreciated this tip about not drilling my pilot holes too deep and using a piece of tape on my drill bit to hit the right depth. This is good advice for newbies or people like me who often think “eh, I can just screw it up” and are always wrong.
The whole build was surprisingly quick, and despite being methodical, it only took me about an hour and a half. Following the instructions, I started by turning my table over and screwing each leg into its own crossbar assembly and attaching the side brackets, making sure the long side was facing the front of the table. The Uplift V2 C-Frame legs attach closer to the back of the desk than the front, which is a nice design: it gives you more clearance near the front of the desk, puts the center of mass closer to your monitors, and makes it easy to tell which way it’s facing during the build process. your table.
Place one side in place first as you will need to insert these cross bars before installing the other leg.
Uplift’s instructions recommend placing the legs about 1/2 inch from the edges, and I probably spent the most time during the build measuring multiple times to make sure the legs were properly aligned and straight. One tip for this part: since you’ll need to slide in the rung rails that attach the two rungs, don’t try to get the second leg perfectly positioned at the same time as the first. In the end, you’ll need to move it slightly to fit the rail, then measure again from the front to make sure it’s properly lined up and level.
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Apart from carefully measuring the placement of the legs, it’s hard to mess up any part of this build. Most of it is a simple matter of screwing in machine screws (again, all helpfully labeled). Although the included Allen key of the Uplift is perfectly serviced, I highly recommend using a ratchet screwdriver with an Allen key if you have one. It will be much faster and easier to maneuver.
You will place the control box on the same side of the table as the control block for easy wiring.
My one screw up: placing this cable management tray in the way my monitor stand will later attach to the desk.
With your own desk, you will need to decide where to screw the control block to adjust the height of your desk. I chose the right side of my desk, about six inches away from the edge. The instructions even include helpful tips on how to orient the control box, which slides neatly into the crossbar rails, so it’s easy to run a short cable to the control block and pull the power cable out the other side. The design prevents most desk cables.
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When I wanted to document the DIY process, I expected to make a more detailed tutorial. But for the most part, all I had to do was follow the instructions. Read carefully and you will have a brand new desktop in a few hours.
I did make one mistake in the build process when I was a little too careful when installing the included wire management tray. I drilled the holes and mounted them near the back center of my desk, then realized that my monitor mount needed to be attached in the same place. Fortunately, the plastic tray was easy to unscrew and reattach a few inches away from the edge.
Maybe your dream desk includes lots of RGBs or a computer that’s actually built into the desk itself. That
Quite radical, but going into this process my dream was a little more modest. Mostly I wanted to keep the desk I love, turn it into a free standing desk that doesn’t wobble, and ditch the monitor stands for a dual monitor arm. Oh, and it was important to Krillin to fill me with fresh milk. Priorities.
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For the monitor arm, I bought this affordable one on Amazon (opens in new tab) and was pretty happy with it, although I spent almost as much time trying to get cables under its pesky plastic covers as I did building the entire desktop. And my monitors shake a little when I type. Unfortunately, I think this will happen with almost any monitor arm that hooks onto a table rather than a wall.
The final step for my dream desk was to secure all my cables