iMovR 3D-Laminated Desktops for Standing Desks
- Lab tested
No other manufacturer offers standalone 3D-laminated desktops and tabletops to e-commerce buyers. You usually have to buy a batch of hundreds from a specialty healthcare manufacturer to get these at all. But iMovR has been exclusively manufacturing these exceptional desktops for their standing desks and conference tables for many years now, and has recently made them available to all online consumers and DIY desk builders at very reasonable prices. Available in 24 different finishes and hundreds of sizes and shapes, there is simply no comparable product in the market because all the other standing desk manufacturers make their desktops in large bulk runs (usually in China) as opposed to on-demand manufacturing in the USA. Shipping in one week and carrying an industry-leading 15-year warranty, short of iMovR’s solid wood desktops these are the best competitively priced tops you’ll find anywhere for upgrading your existing desk or table or for building a DIY desk.
|MSRP / List Price||$280|
Price varies by desktop shape, color and size. See iMovR website for all the details.
Desktops up to 30″x71″ ship by FedEx Ground and can be purchased online with free shipping. Anything larger has to ship by freight and requires a custom freight quote depending on distance from the Grand Rapids, MI factory.
Industry-leading 15-year warranty
Rectangular desktops are made in 24″ or 30″ depths, and widths of 35″, 41″, 47″, 53″, 59″, 65″, 71″, 77″, 83″, 89″ or 95″. All tops include dual 3.15″ grommet holes for cable pass-thru or desktop power modules.
There are currently 24 finishes available, which you can order in single quantities right off the website. These include solids, woodgrains, stone, textured reclaimed wood, matte luxe and specialty colors like carbon fiber and Corten metal. See full-screen color swatches here.
The highest density MDF is used for the core. The laminate is the thickest, most durable Omnova Surf(x) wrap-around vinyl that is molecularly bonded to the MDF using a special water-catalyst adhesive. The bottoms are black melamine. Long list of environmental certifications.
|Where to buy||
Buy on iMovR.com
|Quality and Aesthetics|
|Positives||3D-laminate has long been iMovR's exclusive technology, outperforming virtually all other desktop laminates in appearance, durability, and perhaps most importantly, the ability to completely hermetically seal any shape of desktop to protect it against the ravages of humidity, temperature fluctuations, and strong cleaning chemicals. Continually expanding its catalog of Surf(x) 3D-laminate colors, at last look iMovR had over 24 different finishes to choose from including solid colors, wood grains, textured reclaimed woods, carbon fiber, matte luxe, and even marble and granite. Because these are made in America, and made-to-order, there's a virtually infinite number of shape and size combinations available to buy, from compact 24"x35" tops to gigantic U-desk tops with 43 square feet of surface, and even conference table tops up to 42" x 96". The 15-year warranty beats out every other desktop being sold in e-commerce. Food-grade and healthcare-grade, even the harshest covid-killing hospital cleaning solutions can be used on these tops without damaging them.|
|Negatives||3D-laminate costs about 20% more than the conventional, decades-old high pressure laminate (HPL) used by most other manufacturers. Because each top is made to order it takes 5-7 business days to ship out.|
The Magical Properties of 3D Lamination
There are many choices when it comes to buying a desktop or tabletop for your DIY project (be it for a sit-stand desk or fixed-height desk or table), so many that we’ve written an entire primer on The Ultimate Guide to Desk Surfaces that you should definitely check out if you want to learn everything about high pressure laminate (HPL), powder coat, reclaimed wood, solid wood, etc., and of course 3D-laminate.
Sure, if you have the budget for it, nothing beats artisan handcrafted natural solid wood in elegance. And there are some great options for these as well that you’ll find in our comprehensive round-up of the Best Standalone Desktop and Tabletop Surfaces reviews. The biggest downside of hardwood surfaces, however, is that “hardwood” is a bit of a misnomer. All natural wood tops, regardless of the janka hardness rating for the particular species, are going to “build character” over time from scratches, dents, harsh cleaning solvents and fluctuations in temperature and humidity.
3D-laminate is an evolving technology that just keeps getting better and better, and is generally considered the state-of-the-art material for desktops, whether in the commercial office or residential home office. Originally invented for the healthcare industry, where harsh anti-bacterial cleaning chemicals would compromise the cabinetry by causing adhesives to dry out (eventually leading to the edge banding peeling off) and discoloration, the technology has been fully embraced by manufacturers in office furniture and even kitchen & bath cabinetry producers because of its incredible durability, ability to bend around curved edges and even through grommet holes which a hard laminate simply can’t, hundreds of color choices, and overall cost effectiveness.
Speaking of grommets, check out our article on grommet holes, with everything you need to know about the different ways to use them to enhance your workstation, what to look for in your grommet holes, and where to find the desks with the best ones.
And when it comes to competing with natural hardwoods, good 3D laminates can be very hard to tell apart from the real thing. Woodgrain colors is probably where they shine best, because they can be hard to distinguish from a luxurious hand-carved desktop even side-by-side.
The biggest advantage of 3D-laminate over solid wood desks, especially the extra-thick “Surf(x)” type made by Omnova, is its durability. It’s much harder to ding, scratch or discolor a Surf(x) laminate than a hardwood top, and also far easier to clean it even with the most caustic chemicals.
How a 3D-Laminated Desktop is Made
iMovR actually has a great video of how their 3D-laminated desktops are manufactured with a combination of precision robotics and veteran craftsmanship. Unlike hard laminates which can only be glued to rectangular blocks of MDF, when using 3D lamination the MDF blank can be beautifully shaped first, typically routing off “ergo-contoured edges” and drilling out features like grommet holes or built-in SteadyType keyboard trays.
The multi-stage process involves over a million dollars of equipment including CNC machines precise to 1/5000ths of an inch, a water catalyst glue chamber and of course the high-pressure, high-temperature 3D-laminate press itself. And that is why it’s still pretty hard to find this kind of high-end 3D lamination production capability in the USA, or for that matter, internationally.
Perhaps the coolest thing about this kind of manufacturing process is that unlike the batch production process for HPL and powder coat, there is no economic penalty for making one specific top in a specific size and specific color. With advanced software process controls a company like iMovR can make 100 desktops of the same size and color for the same exact cost as 100 differently shaped tops in different colors. At the end of the day, this capability means customers can get tens of thousands of customization choices when ordering a Surf(x) 3D-laminated desktop or tabletop.
It’s worth noting that a lot of factories in China also produce “3D laminated” surfaces, but these are generally of a much more simplistic material and thermoforming process that aren’t anywhere in the same league as true Surf(x). They are made of a thin material that tends to scratch up and peel off the wood very easily, and if they have any warranty at all it’s usually limited to one year. The contrast between these materials and processes are perhaps best reflected in the fact that iMovR’s warranty on their Surf(x) 3D-laminate is an industry-leading 15 years.
Humidity and temperature fluctuations are the enemy of wood furniture, leading to changes in shape (“instability” of the desktop) over time. In the case of real Surf(x) 3D-lamination you instead get an heirloom-quality product, meaning it should last enough to pass down through the generations. This incredible stability is achieved by a) using only the highest-density, highest-quality MDF cores with their isotropic dimensional consistency, and b) hermetically sealing the core. The latter is done by virtue of the advanced water catalyst adhesive that molecularly bonds the laminate to the wood.
Just how good is this stuff? We put it to the test by placing an iMovR 3D-laminated desktop out in the elements in our parking lot. Mind you, this is an indoor product, not one designed to sit in the rain, snow, sweltering summer heat and freezing winter temperatures. Fully exposed to the elements it took 3-1/2 years before the edge of the maple woodgrain laminate began to peel. A typical HPL or powder coat top would be utterly destroyed after the first rain.
A Plethora of Choices
While you can find dozens of retail stores like IKEA or websites like Amazon to buy cheap powder coat or HPL tabletops, there is to our knowledge only one company that sells one-off 3D-laminated tabletops direct to the customer, and that is iMovR. The good news is because they manufacture on-demand, there is an immense catalog of available sizes, shapes and colors to select from. More than you’ll find from all the powder coat and HPL digital sellers put together, in fact.
The choices are broken down by category, starting with solid colors and woodgrains, and a bunch of specialty colors from faux stone (remarkably hard to distinguish from real marble or granite), textured reclaimed wood (again, remarkably hard to distinguish from gorgeous but brittle reclaimed wood), carbon fiber, Corten metal, and one of our favorites, matte luxe. The matte luxe comes in warm pastel-like colors ideal for the home office, made with an advanced technology that hides fingerprints and water rings, and has an amazing “hand” that feels sort of like a latex material.
Thankfully iMovR offers postcard-sized samples for all their colors, the small cost of which is completely refundable with the purchase of any iMovR product that is made in 3D laminate. That includes their Lander, Jaxson and Freedom desk lines, Synapse conference tables, and accessories such as their SteadyType keyboard trays, file cabinets, drawers and “fly deck” monitor shelves, among other matching items.