MDF Desk design with CNC joints

There has been discussion on this forum about the CNC Joints shown on before. Over 50 types of CNC-able joinery. I never looked through the content tho. It seems it is a powerpoint type presentation of the joinery (in PDF form). They show 10 or 11 types of furniture in them, tho no diagrams or measurements. I decided to take the desk pic and give the it a try in Sketchup. Actually fairly simple, and knock it out in about 30 minutes. Then added a few designs and a second support near the front.

This is only 1 inch under the max size the 1000 can cut so I had to measure carefully. I found 24x48 sheets of 1/2 inch MDF fairly cheap at home depot. I placed a 1/4 inch board under as a cutting board, secured it in place with tape, then taped the 1/2 inch MDF to it after measure and making alignment lines. Once I am done with the first desk, I now have alignment cuts in the cutting board as guides to the next few I will make.

It came out nice - no nails needed at all. The legs and support go together with a rubber mallet and hold TIGHT. I needed to sand the tenons down a bit for the top as 1/2 inch MDF is a little more than 1/2 inch but it only took a couple of minutes. I will glue that in place when I am done painting…


That was the original picture from the PDF.

Here are some Sketchup views…

And the results:

I have not put these in easel, tho I might. For now here is the SU file:

desk2.skp (469.1 KB)


thats pretty sweet you wouldn’t have a step file would you or something that works with fusion 360?

I can make dxf or dwg out of sketchup. Perhaps step files as well. I’ll look a little later. If you have sketchup, just double click a face, copy it into a new file, and choose export to dxf. In v-carve it took a bit of cleanup removing unneeded lines but was quick…

that would be awesome yeah i dont have sketch up i use Fusion 360

Very nice work; simple yet elegant design, and beautifully executed. The principles you’ve demonstrated here could apply to a wide range of applications. Thank you for sharing.

Interesting. I am actually looking for an aquarium stand. Something like this could work.

@StevenGeist Suspect that water and weight are the natural enemies of MDF. Some marine ply may be better…

If you seal it with a good enamel paint it will be fine. They do make some exterior MDF but I have no idea where to find it…

As an update, here is the first complete desk for one of my kids… Ironman style.


That is very well done! Good job.


I do not… But when I measured mine, it was 30 inches tall. The 1000mm can cut about 31 inches, so that fits well with careful measurement in terms of height. Width of 30 inches I find is right about the minimum for comfort sitting at it, with supports spaced about 24 to 26 inches apart. That fits, but if you want wider you would have to cut the top manually…

How did you make it bigger? I’m interested in doing that as well…

Another, this time BB-8 inspired for the oldest boy…


ho boy ! that’s an awsome desk !!!

I remember seeing a good article on the subject some months ago, alas can not find it. Otherwise Google pulls up plenty of resources.

These are some really nice desks, how did you do the decals?

I haven’t checked measurements of your files but I’m surprised you were able to fit those in the X-Carve. Did you carve then in one run or did you have to flip them around 180 to do the other end?

An XC1000 has a work area of about 31" square. My full-sized dining table is 30" high, so I think student desk parts would fit within the work area.

BTW, that’s a very nice desk. I’m ASSuming that with the tensile strength (or lack thereof) of MDF that you don’t disassemble this very much for fear of breaking off a piece of the joint.

BTW, the general rule of thumb I use when making furniture is 30" table height and 19" chair seat height.

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Not carved, just painted (airbrushed)… Used the Silouette cutter to produce templates…