January 29, 2015

DIY Keyboard Tray

This is a quick how-to about add your very own real keyboard tray to a desk with a useless tray.

I’ve had one of those desk trays that holds pens and other junk I don’t want on the desk. This meant I kept my keyboard and mouse on the desk, and it felt a bit too high up. It was especially awkward using gaming peripherals like a steering wheel or flight stick.

Some spare materials and a bit of free time to the rescue!

###Materials and Tools Used * Power drill * File * 2 pieces of 2.5in x 0.5in x 27in wood boards * Small wood screws * Drill bit size of wood screws used * Drill bit slightly larger than the head of the screws used * Screwdriver bits for your drill * Leftover vinyl floor planks. Or some other thin boards you can part with.

This is what I have right now. Just a tray to put pens in:

Keyboardless Tray Desk

This is what we will end up with:

Final Product

The Process

Start with taking the tray out of the desk. Each desk is different, so this parr will be different for everyone. Look for screws or tabs that can be pulled until the keyboard slides right out.

Desk Tray Removed

We are going to use the wood planks as a support for our keyboard tray. Measure the size of the existing tray and add the length of the keyboard tray you are after. I wanted a large keyboard tray that I can use for many different things (keyboard, gaming, desk for building things). I ended up with 27in length needed for my oversized keyboard. Place the wood planks on each side of the existing tray and draw a line marking their position.

Planks on Tray

Time for power tools. Get a drill bit that is the same size as the small wood screws. Using your power drill make holes in the existing tray at the place where the wood planks will go.

Drilled Dray

Repeat this process and drill the holes on the other side. Now we will screw the wood planks to the tray. Before we do that, use your file to file down the wood plank edges and corners. Hitting knee first into a sharp corner will not feel good! While we got the file in hand, also file down the holes that were drilled on the keyboard tray.

Filed Plank

Using the wood screws, screw the wood plank to the keyboard tray. On this image you can also see the filed screw holes.

One Side Done

Screw in the other side.

Two Sides

Now we can return the tray back into the tracks for a test fit. Sit on a chair, imagine there is a keyboard there. Feels good? Yea? Time for finishing touches.

Back in Table

Using your leftover flooring or thin boards, measure out and cut the appropriate shape for fitting. This is truly personal and what shape you want. Again I went for extra-large tray. Test fitting:

Test Fit

Using the small drill bit drill holes in the top planks tight where the support planks are.

Test Fit

Now, get the larger drill bit. The one that is slightly larger than the screw head. Drill very slightly into the hole made earlier. The idea is to make a hole deep enough to hide the screw head when we screw everything together. This ensures smooth finish, like this:

Smooth Finish

Screw everything together. And we are done!

All Done

##The Finish

Get your beer, and do a test run!

All Done

All Done

All Done