Building a home drafting table can be as complicated or as simple as you please. The most complicated part of building a drafting table is building the base and creating the ability to vary the angle of the table from horizontal.
Step 1 – Research Drafting Tables
Visit shops that sell drafting tables to get an idea of the types of mechanisms they use for mobility.
Step 2 – Check for Kits or Designs
If you are going to design the table for yourself, check out hardware and D.I.Y. shops for suitable kits or ready-made designs that you can work from.
Step 3 – Consider Flexibility
Decide just how much flexibility your table needs to have. If you will always work with the table at the same angle you can design one that has that angle fixed.
Step 4 – The Base
Build your base. Although many commercial drafting tables are built on a base with 2 central supports, it can be much easier to build a base that uses 4 legs for support. The fastest and easiest way to build a base is to adapt one from an old kitchen table.
Step 5 – The Top
The size of the top of your table will be decided by the base and the amount of space available in the room your table will be used. The top will be at least the size of the base.
Step 6 – Mark out Base Fixing Position
Mark out the top with the proposed position for the base to be connected. If the table is not to be elevated then it may be enough to simply fix the top to the base, but it isn’t too difficult to have the drafting table top be able to elevate.
Step 7 – Attach Edge to Table Top Base
Lay the table top on the floor with the underside uppermost. Position the base upside down on the table top centrally and towards one side. Attach the front edge of the base to the table top using several strong hinges making sure that the screws do not go all the way through the top and that the hinges are perfectly square and in line.
Step 8 – Hooks and Eyes
Attach the back of the base to the top using hooks and eyes so that the top can be fixed or released.
Step 9 – Props
Fix two props or supports to the base that will swing up to support the top when it is elevated. The best way to fix them is to drill a hole at one end of each prop large enough to accept a strong screw and then screw the prop to the base using a washer to prevent the prop from sliding over the screw and becoming detached. Drive the screw home firmly but do not trap the prop so that it does not move freely.
Step 10 – Prop Stops
By tilting the base you can mark where the props will need to have stops fitted to the underside of the top. These marks will be the positions that you will fit stops that the props will act against to hold the table top at a selected angle. The stops should be shaped so that the props will not slip off sideways.
Step 11 – Springs
To make fixing the table top at a chosen angle easier you can fit springs to the props. These springs can be cut from bed springs and need to be fixed to the base and the prop so that there is always tension in the spring. Raise the top beyond the expected maximum angle and fit the springs securely. When the table top is lowered it will push the props down and create the necessary tension.
You have now created a drafting table that is of fixed height at the front but which can have an elevation of your choice. All you need now are the finishing touches like a retainer strip for your pencils and instruments to rest against when the table is tilted, a t-square and a pair of parallel rulers or straight edges.