Sit-Stand Desk Prototype for DIY Plans
To create a set of DIY plans for a Sit-Stand Desk that can be built with common parts, 2 prototypes are needed to refine the plan.
Sit-Stand desks have become very popular recently as more research points out the health risks of sitting all day. The general consensus is that movement is the most important thing, so alternating between sitting and standing several times per day is the best way to take care of yourself if you are tied to a desk.
Desks that raise and lower to accommodate either position, with your workstation intact, tend to be very expensive. Most use electric motors or pistons, and all use metal construction.
I designed and built a wooden desk that uses spring assist to help with the raising of a fully loaded desk. It was built using common parts from the hardware store.
It works, but not very smoothly. It is a little too difficult to raise and lower. I believe with a few improvements, it can be usable for almost anyone.
Before I share a plan for this on my site doityourselffurniture.com, I need to make several changes, and that requires building another prototype or two.
This Kickstarter project is for 2 additional prototype desks designed as Do-It-Yourself projects, to refine and share the plans. Also, to create a kit of parts for those who want to build their own, without having to find all the small pieces.
The parts kit will include all of the screws, nails, hinges, springs, wheels, and any other hardware needed to complete the build. The DIY builder would need to acquire all the lumber, finishing materials, and tools.
One desk will be built with pine, and the other with hardwood. One will be a standard size suitable for those up to about 5'9” in height, and the other will be a taller version, which should be good for people up to about 6'3 or 6'4..
When building the first desk, I made several design changes as I was working on it. Any weakness in the design becomes apparent during the build process, and every iteration reveals additional areas that can be improved upon.
By building the new prototypes, I will be able to refine the build process to make it much more realistic for the average DIY furniture builder. For example, one of the most critical aspects of this project is getting everything perfectly square and strait. The sliding pieces must align properly along their entire range of movement.
Getting things properly squared during assembly can be a big challenge for a DIY builder. By building more prototypes, I can experiment with different assembly sequences, clamp placement, or possibly create alignment jigs to come up with a method that will provide good results for even inexperienced builders.
One of the problems with my original desk resulted from using all dimensional lumber (a.k.a, "real wood"), rather than any plywood or MDF. While I certainly appreciate the quality aspect of solid wood, the trick is that large pieces are usually warped. Using 2x8s and 1x10s almost assures that the finished piece will not be strait.
The plan for the new prototypes is to use finish-grade plywood for many of the main structural pieces. This should make it much easier to get the main frame strait and square.
However, plywood is more difficult for the typical DIY builder to handle, both for transport and cutting. So one of the two prototypes will use a little less plywood, and the dimensions of some of the plywood pieces will be planned to match common lumber sizes, allowing the builder to swap out some of the plywood with solid wood.
The original desk used some construction grade 2x lumber, but I plan to use all 1x lumber in the new design. One reason is that I want the option of using hardwood, and my local hardware store only stocks hardwood in 1x dimensions. I suspect this may be the case for many DIY builders.
Another reason is that it allows a construction method of layering boards to create a dado joint, without the need for a table saw. Also, multiple layer boards, properly glued together, are stronger and more resistant to warping than the same size single board.
It locks in the standing position using two boards that swing into place as you lift. This only provides one height setting, which must be decided upon at build time. With these prototypes, I can experiment with multiple notches in the support boards, potentially allowing a choice of height settings when completed.
Releasing those locking boards will require a lever mechanism to push them out of the locked position. The prototypes will allow some experimentation for the best solution for this.
The original desk uses 2 springs, which are designed for screen doors, to provide lift. The springs certainly help, but it could use a little more lift. My hope is that between making the top section lighter, improving the slide precision, and adjusting the spring position it will have sufficient lift with just those 2 springs. If it still requires more lift strength, I will experiment with additional springs.
The final result will be a detailed set of plans for a DIY Sit-Stand Desk, that can be built using commonly available parts, and hobby-grade power tools, for around $100 to $200, depending on lumber costs.
When fully complete, and all rewards have been delivered, the plan will be made available for free on my website doityourselffurniture.com. A DIY kit will be made available with all of the screws and other hardware needed, plus any small, tricky wood pieces, and possibly a simple assembly jig.
Drawings have been created using SketchUp Make v.14. It is a CAD program that is available for free for personal use. (it was briefly owned by Google, and was referred to as Google SketchUp, but has since been sold).
SketchUp files will be made available, so if you want to download the program, you can open the files and rotate around, take apart, and modify the plans any way you like.
$10 - Plan Updates. You get the current plans immediately, along with the SketchUp file. You'll receive all of the updates, photos, videos, and plan changes as soon as they happen.
I will keep an open dialog as the project progresses, so you can offer input and suggestions on possible changes or improvements. I'll consider all suggestions, but I make no promises they will be implemented.
I will also be available through email to answer any questions you have regarding your own build.
$50 - Custom Plan. You get the current plans, updates, information, and email assistance, plus I will make a modified set of custom plans for any single specific change that you want.
The basic shape of the desk will need to stay the same, but there are adjustments like changing the size, lowering a section for a keyboard tray, or adding some decorative elements that can be done with just a few different measurements or pieces.
Note that any custom plan will not have a separate prototype built, so any differences from the main plan will be untested in practice.
$75 - DIY Kit. In addition to the current plans, updates, information, and email assistance, you will receive a kit with all of the screws, nails, hinges, springs, wheels, and other hardware needed when building your own desk. If one or two small, precision cut pieces of wood are used in the final design, the kit will include those pieces of wood.
This is only the small parts, so to build a desk you will still need to purchase all lumber, any finishing materials, and have sufficient tools.
$1900 - Original Prototype. You get one of the 2 prototype desks, complete, shipped anywhere in the continental US. Your choice of finish. First one to order gets their pick of the larger or smaller desk.
I realize the price for the completed prototype desk is high, especially considering that I can't guarantee it will work any better than my first one. As prototypes, they may have various "gotchas", like holes drilled that never get used. But on a personal level I wouldn't mind keeping them, and shipping will be expensive, so that's what it will take if you want an original.
I don't intend to add anything to this project, but if it turns out to be overwhelmingly popular, I will look in to contracting with a factory for a production run of finished desks.
If that happens, it will be started with a new KS project, and I will offer a lower price sponsorship for anyone that has sponsored this project.
Risks and challenges
The main goal of the project, to share a DIY plan, is as good as done. If, however, the final plan still results in a desk that is just as difficult to raise and lower as my first one, I would consider that a failure.
For the custom plan sponsors, the risk results from the fact that the modifications will not be tested. It is possible they would contain errors that would not be noticed before building.
For the deliverables in the DIY Kit, the main risk is the potential for delay if the number of sponsors is unexpectedly high. Parts will be sourced from well known retailers, and I don't know their stock limits on some small parts. If necessary, I will establish distributor relationships.
If you sponsor one of the two prototype desks, the main risk is that it just won't work as well as you expected, or look the way you expected. Prototypes often involve mistakes that are difficult to obscure.
Ultimately, the biggest risk is in the hands of those who choose to work with power tools, and build things that could fail when in use. Off the shelf parts will be used in ways they were never intended. There has been no formal testing of weight limits or durability. Wood can split. Workmanship can fail.
Even the best of plans cannot force anyone to follow safety precautions and common sense.Learn about accountability on Kickstarter
- (19 days)