Desk uptime

Well, we are moving to a new place on the other side of Wisconsin, near the mighty Mississippi.  And that means I need to dismantle the robot desk for transport.

Final uptime?  72 days, 2 hours, and 52 minutes.  Not bad.

Sleep tight Desk, I’ll see you in a few days.  shutdown -h now.

Standing Desk Accessories – Anti-fatigue mat

I’ve been using my DIY motorized standing desk for a couple weeks now, and am really enjoying it.  I’ve been standing more than I thought I would, but when I get tired the flexibility to lower to a sitting height is really nice.

One thing I’ve noticed that at the end of the day my legs are quite tired, and my feet bothering me a little.  Thankfully my anti-fatigue mat arrived last night.  After one day using it, I can already feel a big difference.  My feet feel much better, and while my legs are still a little tired, it seems to be a little less so than the other days.

The mat is pretty heavy duty and looks like it will last a while.  Standing on it feels soft and firm at the same time, and almost like it molds to the feet.  I’ve used it barefoot thus far, but will likely see what the experience with shoes is soon.

This is just the first day’s impression, but thus far it seems like a good investment.

By the way – I’m glad that my desk gives me fine grained control on the height so I can get the adjustment perfect with the various mat/shoes/etc arrangements I’ve been exploring!

DIY Motorized Desk Powered by Raspberry Pi is Operational!

It’s alive!

This has been a long time in the making, and I’ve posted a number of times during the process:

This has been an incredibly fun project.  It definitely would have been faster and probably more cost effective to just buy a desk or table lift, but the journey was well worth it.

DIY Motorized Standing Desk Part V: Test with 3 actuators controlled from Raspberry Pi

Edit: here is the final operational desk, utilizing the 3 actuators

I have the control board for my DIY motorized standing desk wired up, and ran a test of the board controlling 3 linear actuators at the same time.  I knew the wiring and software worked for 1 actuator, but this was the first time that I connected more than one actuator up.  The desk will be lifted by 3 actuators so I needed to be sure this worked.

Here it is, worked on the first try and nothing caught on fire!

One thing of note – I had initially planned to control each actuator independently from the Raspberry Pi, with each relay signaled from a different GPIO pin.

However, in the midst of wiring the control board up I realized that it was possible that a software bug, crash, or other unforeseen scenario on the Pi could theoretically result in actuators moving in different directions, and that would be a Very Bad Thing (images of broken desks, shattered monitors, and crushed babies come to mind).

So they are all wired now on 2 GPIO pins (one for the “A” relays, and one for the “B” relays).

So now the leg apparatus’ are built, and the control board is working.  Next step: put it all together!

DIY Standing Desk Part II: The Desk Design

In part 1 I outlined my goal to build an electric standing desk, along with my initial experiment with controlling a linear actuator.  Next up was designing the desk.

In designing the desk, I decided early on that I wanted to use the surface of the desk I already have – an L-shaped desk from Ikea.  The challenge then became designing the elevating legs that will lift the desk, but keep it stable at the same time.

The design below is what I’m going to start with.  I also thought about using scissor lifts, but decided to give this a try first.

I should also note that designing this was a good excuse to head to the neighborhood nano-brewery for a ‘board meeting’ with my dad, who knows way more about building physical things than I do. 🙂

Here is the desk in the ‘sitting’ position:


And here is what each of the three actuator legs will look like, extended:


These drawings were created with SketchUp.

The outside legs will be connected with 24″ drawer slides.  The actuator will push down (rather than up) in order to keep the wires from having to extend down to the foot of the desk.

Some things I’m worried about/still need to figure out:

  • Will it be stable enough?
  • Will it be too heavy?  Each actuator can lift up to 150lbs, so with 3 actuators it should be plenty strong… but there’s a lot of wood on there.
  • Where do I need to watch out for little fingers getting pinched, and how can I protect against that?

Next up: building the first leg and seeing how it works!