What kind of hardware would I need to convert the top of my desk to an adjustable sit/stand?
July 29, 2010 9:07 AM   Subscribe

I'm really intrigued by the idea of a variable height sit/stand desk, but for a couple reasons, I'm probably stuck with my current utterly inconspicuous, heavy wood composite desk. Fortunately, the top comes off, so I think I might be able to modify the desk so that I can raise/lower the top independently of the rest of the desk. What kind of hardware would I need, and where can I buy it?

By "modify the desk", I mean:
- remove the brackets holding on the top
- screw stuff into the composite wood of both the desk top and the rest of the desk.

Ideally, there'd be some sort of intro-level physics that reduces the effort needed to raise/lower the desk, and some way to lock the top into an arbitrary position. The problem is, I don't really know what to even search for- pneumatic arm? Counterbalance lever?
posted by paul_smatatoes to Grab Bag (8 answers total) 8 users marked this as a favorite
You can buy table legs from ikea that are adjustable in height.
posted by wongcorgi at 9:22 AM on July 29, 2010

Best answer: Here's a crank-based table lifter that will go about 7", which is probably not enough. There may be other mechanisms you can buy for your existing desk.

Usually height-adjustable desks are built around a custom mechanism, so refit gear is hard to find. Our library has self-check-out system desks that adjust up and down quickly for standing patrons to those in chairs; they are probably very expensive.

A thought: if you use a "high-rise chair" (Google that) with a foot rest you can either sit at the chair or stand and not need to move the table surface up and down at all. Just put blocks under its legs.
posted by seanmpuckett at 10:00 AM on July 29, 2010 [1 favorite]

If you're looking for something similar to a drafting table, you can get hardware for that via the Rockler catalog. The link is to adjustable drafting table hardware - lift to position and lock in place, lift again to release.

Warning: they will send you woodworking catalogs forever.
posted by dubold at 10:05 AM on July 29, 2010

How quickly do you want to be able to raise it? I haven't done this myself but at one point I was looking around for a solution that could be raised in a few seconds, and the only thing I found was a low table at staples that could swivel up and to the front which raised it by about 2-2.5' iirc. I was thinking of getting a low table and putting this swivel table on top of it, or cutting legs of swivel table and putting it on a regular desk. The table cost around $100. Unfortunately I can't find it on their site, but if you call them they might be able to help. It was a really plain table, about 3' high when not raised, about 4'x4' square.
posted by rainy at 10:15 AM on July 29, 2010

Best answer: You could buy some linear actuators! I bought a pair, some 1X6 lumber, and a table / desk top from Ikea and built myself a height adjustable desk.

Or you could buy a "geek desk".
posted by reddot at 10:18 AM on July 29, 2010 [2 favorites]

A lot of this is going to depend on how high/ low tech you want to go, and how fast you want the table to come up.

If you want something that could potentially support a lot of weight and require a minimum of build work, you could probably base it around automotive jack stands it would be ugly and inelegant, but strong and not terribly expensive.
posted by quin at 10:53 AM on July 29, 2010

Do you need the whole desk to be adjustable, or would a sit/stand keyboard tray be sufficient?

I've been using one for a week or so now, after my old cheap roller tray exploded, and am finding it really comfortable; I'm standing more often than I'm sitting.
posted by ook at 11:15 AM on July 29, 2010

Go with the high chair and a standing desk. I've known three different people who have had adjustable height desks and never adjusted the height because it was a pain in the ass. Two bought tall chairs and just enjoyed being "king of the office" the third put a small conference table in his off and put two chairs at that.
posted by magnetsphere at 7:35 PM on July 29, 2010

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