Saturday 13 August 2011

Inexpensive DIY Standup Desk

Standing up and working seems to be all rage these days so I thought I’d try it out. At first I was able to manage a few hours but as the days went on I’ve been able to stand for longer and longer periods of time. Air drumming is much easier and the productivity boost is immense.

For this experiement, I didn’t have a special desk or anything, I just used Mrs Curle’s cocoa and coconut oil boxes on top of some old bits of timber. I am convinced this is something that I want to do everyday. Perhaps not all day, but there are times when it makes sense to stand up and times when it makes sense to sit down. Here’s how the experiment looked

Before - boxes and timber

When I wanted to switch to sitting down I had to move about 10 bits of wood and a couple boxes around so I needed to build something that make switching between the two ways of working quick and easy.

Desk Fail

I’ve been using a desk from Ikea for the last year and a half, but over the last few months the top began to sag. It wasn’t until my keyboard started wobbling that I noticed it was getting bad. Yesterday and quite by accident it got so bad that the desktop had a good inch and half wobble it. Luckily for me I had some timber to patch it up.

I had to reenforce the desk

Now it’s rock solid again and I can use the desk without thinking that I’m going to cave it in any second. However, this was a digression, you’re here to read about the thing I designed and built…

Materials & Design

I have to admit, I’m a bit of a skip rat. If I see a neighbour with a skip and there’s lots of brand new timber that’s been disposed of just because it was an offcut, I’ll whip it into my timber stash faster than you could call me a cheapskate. Obviously this is done with the owners permission - after all just because they’re keeping it outside, in a skip, ready for disposal doesn’t give anyone permission to have any of the contained items as their own.

Recently a neighbour has had a big extention built into the back of their house and they discarded a load of 5.75” x 1.75” timber. It was all brand new and in lengths of about 50-80cm. All in all I managed to salvage about 10 pieces and it’s very nice timber, with a little bit of sanding it’s came up a treat.

The only material I was missing was a surface and I opted for a nice solid peice of timber board that was 30cm wide and 1.15m long. Here’s how I designed it - behold the complexity.

The problem with this design was that it was little too low for my hands when typing, so I had to adjust it to give me the perfect height. So when it came to building it I added another layer of timber beneath the worktop and hey presto - perfect.

The Final Thing

So far it’s a treat, I’ve typed this post standing up and I’ve managed to tear through it without the normal write, Hacker News, Reddit, write, greenhouse and finally finish writing cycle.

I’m really excited so see how this pans out next week, given my recent addition to my professional life

Bonus One

The other problem I’ve been having at my desk when sitting down is that I don’t have a foot rest, or should I say I do, but it’s actually a printer. This isn’t perfect and I’m forever smashing it up in ways that are not conducive to convincing it to stay alive for as long as possible.

However, the new stand up desk extention doubles as the perfect foot rest meaning the printer can resume it’s primary modus operandi safe in the knowledge that all it has to worry about now is dust and needing new toner ( about twenty years based on current rate of usage)

Foot Rest

Bonus Two

There was actually enough timber board left over to make a nice new stand for the printer to stand on, finally getting it off the floor and once again reducing the likely chance of a foot chair impact. The printer, although inanimate, thanks me.

Bonus Printer Stand