Friday 23 September 2016

Oak Desk with Embedded TV/Monitor

I've been after a new desk for a while, but never really been able to find one that fits the right combination of size, style and budget.

So I decided to build one myself, taking inspiration from a few videogames, where desks with built-in screens are commonplace:

In Splinter Cell: Blacklist (2013), the 'SMI' as it was known, was interactive and and provided a means of displaying menu systems to the player.
More recently, in Doom (2016),
the desk is merely part of the scenery.

The plan
As much as I like the look of the tables in the games, I decided to go with a more traditional look.

The TV (red) will be sunk into the table, with the electronics hidden by the apron (grey) part.

When the glass (blue) is added, it will line up with the table surface, creating a flush finish.
The underside - I envisage a frame, possibly a re-purposed wall mount (yellow/gray), supporting the TV. The pink block indicates where I will mount the computer.

I started with a block of oak kitchen counter top. The aim was to put the TV into the desk, then protect it with a glass worktop sunk into the wood.

Step 1: Routing the ledge for the glass

A photo posted by Anthony (@darkmidnight_diy) on
The counter-top is 38mm thick, and has substantial weight to it. The plan was to route 10mm deep into it so that the glass would sit flush with the rest of the wood.

The glass was centered on the table and marked up. I'd only be routing the ledge, I'd be cutting the middle part out entirely, to make room for the screen, so it didn't make sense to rout all that.

I also left the corners - once the middle was removed I'd use a forstner drill to do those, to ensure a nice round corner.

Step 2: Cutting out the middle

A photo posted by Anthony (@darkmidnight_diy) on
It would be a shame to waste the large chunk of wood from the middle, so I thought I'd use it to create the legs which meant I had to remove it intact.

I did this by using a circular saw to plunge-cut on each side, using the routed ledge as a guide, then using a jigsaw to finish the cuts on each side, allowing the middle to drop out (which of course had to be controlled, leaving it unsupported would likely have caused the wood to split when the majority of support was gone).

With the middle removed, I could finish the corners of the ledge using the forstner drill.

A photo posted by Anthony (@darkmidnight_diy) on

The next steps are to build the legs and mount the TV.

Wednesday 7 September 2016

App Update - Soundboard Version 1.7

What's New
  • DTMF Tone generator
  • Bug fix - playback volume level didn't change after initial set, now fixed.
  • Bug fix - Text-to-Speech playback ignored the playback volume level, now fixed.


On open the user will be presented with three buttons to load the following sections. or alternatively swipe between them:
  • Load files from Storage - This will load the regular soundboard as in previous versions and display the files in a list ready for playback. Note, if you swipe across to the soundboard screen from the start of the app, you will need to select Load from the options menu to populate the list.
  • Generate speech from Text - This will load the text-to-speech interface, where they can enter text and play it back to inject custom phrases into their soundboard.
  • DTMF Tones - This new feature allows you to generate DTMF (dual-tone multi frequency) tones - which are the noises generated when pressing the numerical buttons on a telephone keypad. Useful for, say, messing with annoying robocallers.
As with all my apps, it is free, and as such, I am not in a position to offer any kind of official support, so use entirely at your own risk.
If you have any trouble with it, then feel free leave a comment or tweet and I'll try to help as and when I can, but I make no guarantees.