3D Printer Workbench with fold away desk

3d printer workbench

I have a small room, but want to be able to do various project work, including working on my 3D printer. And I really wanted a desk where I can have things organized or I spend all my time looking for my tools and pieces.

So, I used an IKEA HEMNES console table, two HEMNES night stands, and the top part of the two-part HEMNES writing desk (the desk add-on unit).

The two night stands are placed on top of the console table, and the add on unit on top of them, like the cross slab of a megalith, done in wood plank furniture. 

IKEA items used:
  • HEMNES Desk Add-on Unit (304.024.11)
  • HEMNES Console Table (502.821.39)
  • 2 x HEMNES Chest of 2 Drawers (304.024.06)
  • SKÅDIS plates and various hooks
Other materials and tools:
  • 157 x 60 x 2cm wooden plate
  • White paint
  • Painting tools
  • 9 hinges, screws, bolts, nuts,
  • 2 x 72 cm table legs
  • Normal pencil & fat pencil
  • Foam or other large squishable item
  • Pencil sharpener
  • Various tools including drill and Dremel

3D Printer Workbench set up

At first, I piled the HEMNES units up. The problem with this set up is there isn’t all that much table space for basic computing work. Like having space for a monitor and keyboard.

3D printer workbench set up - before

The solution was to replace the top plate of the console table with a wider one, then attach the narrower original plate with hinges to the wider plate. Much like a secretary desk.

I got a board cut to size, 2 cm thick, which I then proceeded to sand all the edges off and hand-painted several layers of white, trying to get the same white stained finish as the HEMNES.

Replicating the holes for the top plate

After that, the tricky part was replicating the holes of the top plate accurately – 6 large and 4 small – on the new board. Just measuring them would not cut it, at least not in my experience with similar projects earlier.

I needed some sort of marker I could use to derive the drilling spots from the console table itself. Then, I realised pencils could do the job. A regular pencil fit the smaller holes nicely. For the larger holes, I used Faber-Castell large coloring pencils.

pencil marking technique

Related: A 3D Printer DIY framework never looked this good

After marking all the necessary holes, the moment of truth! Using a 10 mm wood drill bit and the distance-stop on the drill, I first did a test drill in a piece of left-over wood of the same thickness, then drilled the larger holes first. Of the 6 big holes, 2 needed a tiny bit of sideways drilling to go in. The four smaller holes just fit perfectly. Quite amazing.

In order to prevent the overhanging board from bending and breaking over time, I added support brackets underneath.

supporting the overhang of the 3d printer workbench
Attaching the folding desk to the 3D printer workbench

The last part was adding the foldable table top with foldable legs. This also needs to be done carefully, which I’ve detailed in my tutorial. Poorly placed hinges can make proper folding impossible, or at least break down quickly. 

attaching the foldable table to 3d printer workbench

I also used some magnets to hold up the legs in the folded position.

3D printer workbench - IKEA hack completed

Since part of the reason for this workbench is that I get to have my tools organized, I got some Skådis hook plates and a bunch of attachments. I put two plates hinge-mounted in front, leaving me with space to hang my tools.

The 3D printer workbench folds down nicely to allow an air mattress, and up to work on. The legs are admittedly a bit unstable. But it’s a huge step up from a wobbly folding table and a flimsy metal shelf system. 

Time and cost?

The main part, after putting together the IKEA parts and painting the board, took about a week. Above the IKEA parts, it cost maybe €70 total, I didn’t count.

What to pay special attention to?

I was lucky that the space between the chests of drawers was large enough, I didn’t measure that. A different printer might be too large.

Looking back, would you have done it differently?

I needlessly cut out spaces for hinges on the board, thinking I wanted the foldable part to fold upwards. Folding downwards is much easier.

See the full tutorial on my blog.

~ by Lars Clausen

Jules Yap