RotoDesk – The Posable Lap Desk

For my manufacturing processes class, we had to design and build a working device.  Our team chose to make a desk that featured a magnetic whiteboard surface and rotatable legs which would allow the desk to be positioned in any convenient way.  The desk featured a solid oak table-top, magnetic and whiteboard surface, pencil holder, quick-release joints, and a solid aluminum build.


The manufacturing processes used for this desk included using the band-saw, mill, lathe, CNC mill, TIG welding, grinding, and painting.  I focused primarily on writing the CNC code and cutting the hinge pieces which I designed.

From this experience I learned several things, including:

  • Use hollow tubes when possible, both for cost and weight
  • TIG welding is really hard
  • If using coolant when milling, do not use a wood clamping block, since this will expand and change the depth of cut
  • Always double check your z-values when using a CNC mill
  • Use off-the-shelf parts when possible.

The following images are of different stages of the hinge design, including the initial design and the CNC work.




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