Integrating a switch plate into a desk to control fans
By Red Squirrel
To get the corner brackets properly positioned on the box, I had to measure how much the box will stick out of the desk, including the thickness of the wood, so I positioned the brackets accordingly to screw them in, as shown in fig 1 below. After that I proceeded to measure and mark the hole as shown in fig 2 and started cutting it with the jig saw. The reason for all this crazy piece by piece cutting is because a jig saw can't really do 90 degree corners so sharp without round edges so I would just do one section at a time to try and get this perfect rectangle, which required sanding to make it better and it still looked horrible but as long as the switch plate hides that. This created a ton of dust in my room, so be prepared for this when you cut through your desk, especially if you need to sand anything to get a good fit.
Fig. 1: Box arrangement
Fig. 2: Hole is ready to be cut
Fig 3: Cutting in progress, one piece at a time (sanding after to get a perfect fit)
Screwing the box behind that part of the desk was tricky because I was in a corner and the keyboard rack was in the way, but I managed to get it done, as shown in fig 4 below. From where the switch plate will be, it did not look too bad as shown in fig 5 and now it's time to start wiring and running the cable to the PC, which in my case was several feet. If you installed real house switches before, this is basically the same process.
Fig 4. Box screwed in to fit in hole.
Fig. 5: The biggest part of the job done
On the next page we'll look at getting the switch plate ready for the toggle switches.
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