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And the winner of the Standing Desk competition is….

Posted by admin on Mar 18, 2013

[The one that works! I actually wrote this post standing up.]

Anyway, I have a secret – I have been coveting a standing desk for a few years now as I have some issues with my neck and back that require me to take breaks frequently.  Of course I forget to do this so usually at the end of the day I have aches and pains to remind me of my forgetfulness (is that even possible?)

Anyway the ones I have seen online look great but are often out of my snack bracket in terms of cost , or are not quite the right size to fit in my very tight home office. So I did what any moderately driven architect would do – I set out to try to figure out how to build my own.

Of course when starting any project, we always recommend to our clients at Incite Design that they set objectives for what sort of results they want and some constrains which usually involve time/cost/quality in some combination. I of course wanted all three but the laws of project management  have shown me over the years that you can only have any 2 of the three. So I improvised.

I found a few designs online, which looked really good, but looked like a full time standing desk- I needed a convertible. Other also seemed intriguing but appeared to require some time in construction, which I wanted to minimize. Others involved changing out a large portion of the existing furniture in order to have enough space to move in the new standing desk. Which wasn’t going to work for the reasons listed above. But overall it had to be simple and cost-effective.

Here's the original setup.

Here’s the original setup.

Because my desk is located in a corner I started to think about using the wall and if there was a way to somehow use that to help lift the monitor. I figured the monitor going up and down was the most important factor to manage as the keyboard is light and can sit on something portable and the track pad is Bluetooth wireless and can go anywhere.

So I started thinking about laundry elevators – those things which you can use to hoist your laundry line up and down to put clothes on them on washday. I had about 20 minutes over lunch one day and I found something at the local home improvement store. It could work but I thought that it was a bit too big to fit in my diminutive space. As I was leaving the store I went through the plumbing aisle and saw the iron pipe and fittings. Maybe I could make something work from there?

Sure enough, I found what I was looking for. I grabbed what I though I needed and threw it into the car. It took a few days for me to get an hour or three to be able to assemble it (not really assemble as I had to drill a few holes, test and adjust) but the result is what you see here.)

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The finished product. Note that only one monitor can move up and down. I thought about doing both, but realized that I only stand for intermittent periods and can do without my second one

The monitor slides up and down on the pole attached with heavy-duty wall plugs to the wall and I grab a footstool and platform to hold the keyboard and track pad. Those with keen eyes will notice I repurposed the platform from the monitor stand that I used to use.

I am pretty satisfied with the monitor setup, but honestly am not thrilled with the keyboard and track pad configuration. Yes it works and gets me out of the chair so I can type standing, but it looks a little, ‘meh.’ So I will be continuing to think of that as I continue to use it.

But for under $35 (not including my time of course!) it’s a good temporary solution until I can save up for one of these!

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I used everything you see here. Note the heavy duty wall anchors at left. Most of these pieces are for use in plumbing/gas fitting but I am repurposing them here.

 

First step was to drill the holes in the wall to insert the wall anchors

 

Next step was to test assemble the pole to see where to drill the upper holes. [Note when I fixed it to the wall I left a little slack in the bottom screws, so I could turn/tighten the top one on.]


 

Testing out the support pole. Note that the pole slants down - thats how the friction of the collar on the vertical keeps it from sliding down.

Testing out the support pole. Note that the pole slants down – thats how the friction of the collar on the vertical keeps it from sliding down.


 

The collar which slides up and down is really just a "T" connector for the next size up gas pipe. It holds the horizontal pipe that supports the monitor

The collar which slides up and down is really just a “T” connector for the next size up gas pipe. It holds the horizontal pipe that supports the monitor


 

The detail of the back of the monitor. I cut the steel sheet and drilled it (VESA standard 4" o/c) into the back of the monitor

The detail of the back of the monitor. I cut the steel sheet and drilled it (VESA standard 4″ o/c) into the back of the monitor


 

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Detailof connection at the wall. I had to use heavy duty anchors to make sure that it was firmly fixed


 

What do you think of the setup? Let me know if you have any questions and I’d be glad to answer them!

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