High Tech Convertible Desk Takes It Up A Notch

Standing desks seem to be all the rage today — but do you really want to commit fully to always standing? [Jeff Minton] didn’t, and when he found out how much convertible standing desks cost… he decided to make his own.

While brainstorming ways of accomplishing this he started browsing around eBay and found 18″ linear actuators for sale. They were $45 each, ran at 24V and could lift 600lbs each. Bingo. Actually, that’s kinda overkill…

He picked up a 24V power supply, an Arduino, and a 8-channel relay board.  The actuators are attached to the desk’s original legs using U-bolts which keep the legs straight and take the load of the desk. The untreated wood supports are there to reinforce the original desk, because they weren’t that sturdy in the first place.

It takes about a minute to fully actuate the legs, so while it’s not the prettiest nor the quickest solution — it does the trick and allows you to easily switch between standing and sitting.

Maybe he should try over-powering the actuators since the load is so small — could make it go a bit faster! And if you’re looking for a cheaper and more permanent solution, extended PVC legs do the trick too.

17 thoughts on “High Tech Convertible Desk Takes It Up A Notch

  1. Nice work. Although, since you went to this much work…why not just build a complete unit from those legs. You know, actually design a unit around the legs, rather than just strap them onto something. I like the idea, just wish I could see one with a nice polished feel.

    Maybe I’ll have to do something myself when I get around to building my workshop off of the garage this summer…hmmm.

    1. I like standing desks when I do music recording because I can hold my guitar standing and still interface with the PC or when I’m doing multiple things and need to switch stations rapidly. I like this idea, I went with a “kiosk” like desk for recording and transfer it to my comfy desk for mixing.

  2. Hemmmm… Standing desk are just the bullsh*t du jour that lifehacker is making a big deal of when they ran out of idea/crap to splatter on their frontpage.
    A little like arduinos here… 1% are real project… 99% are crap shovelled because there was ‘arduino’ mentionned somewhere… Still waiting for the arduinos 3d printed standing desk door stop though…

    1. That seems a bit far, standing desks have their uses; workshops, music, to move between stations quickly, etc… arduinos take the excessive amount of work out of a good idea (or fun), I like fast and efficient. 3D printing is also fascinating and useful, granted I skip over the ones I find non-interesting.

  3. I think the speed issue might be to an over-taxed power supply. Each of the actuators are designed to be run off of a 24V supply. Here, he is running all 4 actuators off of a single supply. Don’t know what the specs on the supply is or the requirements of the actuators are but a “top of the noggin” says he is dividing the 24V four ways, reducing the current applied to each actuator, which could reduce the speed of the actuators.

  4. I bought a steelcase electric desk on craigslist for like $120 and mounted an ikea desktop on top. Works great and its much faster. Its a single screw drive motor that can lift over 200lbs.

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