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Building a Keyboard Tray for MIDI Controller

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I hope people find this interesting and useful. If not, moderator, you know what to do.


I recently ordered a Novation Launchkey 49 mk3 keyboard that coincidentally showed up at our local music store Bounty Music on my birthday. (Happy birthday to me.) I knew I wasn"t going to have room on my studio desk for it, so I set out to build myself a keyboard drawer for my new MIDI controller.




I couldn"t find anything suitable ready-made, so I tried to build the simplest, cheapest keyboard tray I could with it still looking decent, and it had to be strong enough to hold my monitor, mixer, and assorted desk items. The breakthrough was when I came across a butcherblock top at Home Depot for under $100. It was 50â³ x 25â³ x 1.5â³. Checking the specs on Novation"s website, it looked like it would fit no problem. (Originally, I was going to get the Launchkey 61. More on that later.)




I ripped the board so that one side was 13â³ and the other was 12â³. This would allow for 12â³ drawer slides to be attached to the moving piece and leave room for the back and sides. The Launchkeys are only about 10.25â³ deep so that left plenty of room.




Next, I cut the back and sides. I would have preferred to use birch like the butcher block top, but they only had popular at Home Depot. I left about a 1/8â³ overhang on the back and sides. I also had to cut the drawer board down to accommodate the slides, the vertical boards, and the 1/8â³ overhang.




Now with everything cut, it was time to stain. I would have preferred a natural stain/poly, but for whatever reason, since COVID-19, our Home Depot doesn"t have much a stain selection, so I ended up using a pecan color stain/poly. I put on three coats of stain and sanded between coats. This part took the longest of the whole project.




The next part was to drill the pocket holes to secure the vertical boards to the top. I bought this Kreg Pocket Hole Jig that worked like a charm. I didn"t get any pictures of me actually using it, because I was dodging rain showers during the whole project. I had also cut a round hole in the back of the vertical board for USB cord going to the keyboard.




Now all the boards were cut, stained, glued, and assembled. Now I all I needed to do was install the drawer slides.




Attaching the drawer slides was a snap. All I needed to do was attach the drawer part to the smaller board. No need to even measure since they were the exact size of the sides. Then clamp the slides onto the vertical boards.




All there was to do now was insert the sliding shelf into the rails and voila!


Once I got the keyboard tray onto my desk, I realized that there wasn"t going to be room for my Ableton Push2 and the tray. That"s when I decided to go with the Launchkey 49 instead of the 61. Now there was room for the Push 2 and Launchkey 49 on the tray. The only issue is the Push 2 is a solid 12â³ deep, so I needed to cut another hole in the back for the cords. I hastily did it before I went to pick up the Launchkey, but it"s not quite right. I need to rout the hole a little higher and longer, but for now, it works well enough.


All in all the project took me half a day and under $150 for everything including the pocket hole jig. Hopefully, you find this useful.




I also posted this on my website at https://patwaaramusic.com/building-a-keyboard-tray-for-midi-controller/

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That was quite a project, and it looks like you did a very workmanlike job. I'm impressed. However, it's not a job that I'd recommend to someone whose studio is in a spare bedroom and tool collection doesn't go far beyond a couple of screwdrivers.


Until seeing the pictures of the nearly assembled drawer, I wasn't quite sure what it was that you were building. I'm lazy when I can also be practical. I probably would have made a flat pull-out shelf rather than a three-sided tray, using some kitchen drawer hardware, tying down cables from the keyboards to keep them anchored with the back piece with the cable hole. I have a Sauder computer desk that I bought 20 or so years ago that has a flat keyboard shelf on slides. It's wide enough for a standard PC keyboard and mouse pad.

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Thanks for the comments everybody. I'm no carpenter or craftsman. The only tools needed were a circular saw, a drill, and that handy-dandy pocket hole jig. The square and clamps helped, but were not required. The key to making the job straight-forward was using the butcher block top. That took most of work out of the job.


So, as my friend said after seeing the project, "Maybe you actually write some songs now." :laugh: Sometimes I think these projects are convenient excuses to avoid struggling with my songwriting and recording issues.

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