Instructables
Picture of Varifocal Triple Monitor Stand
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I spend a lot of time in front of my computer and often get a sore back and head from changing position trying to focus on things after some time. I also found that the shelf I had my monitors on was taking up a lot of desk space so I build this rig to solve these problems. This set up is extremely useful in the forward position for having your tabs open on all screens to compile a report or in the pushed back position for playing games or full screen applications. It was much easier to build and cheaper than going to the opticians! It is constructed from old bed slats! I am sure you could use slats from pallets, old floor boards or anything you have available.


The resulting product increases useful desk space and allows for longer endurance in front of the computer by allowing a comfortable and adaptable seating position for the user. To buy a similar stand could cost you up to £200 and I have not found one yet with this function.
 
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Step 1: Materials

Picture of Materials
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The monitor stand was built, like many project should be, with materials I had lying about. The wood I used was pine bed slats from an old bed. They are roughly 15 mm thick and 60 mm wide with varying lengths roughly 6 metres in total.This is probably the minimum dimensions you can use without compromising strength and sag.

I used 14  M8 x 80mm coach bolts, roughly 40 M8 washers, 14 wing nuts and several M8 nuts. This would cost roughly £6.00 in your local hardware store.

The orange elastic straps came from a pull up bar I bought but I am sure you can find an equivalent material to act as a spring such as a bungee cord. The idea came from my work lamp. It has 4 lengths of metal on 4 pivots to make a parallelogram, there is a spring diagonally across the frame. As the light is pulled over into position the downward force is increased, this is compensated by the spring resisting the deformation of the parallelogram. I have incorporated this feature into my design.

The main components are put together with the M8 coach bolts but the base and hanger are screwed together using 30 mm countersunk wood screws.

I used various tools throughout the build and I will highlight what I used and how I used it on each step.
Hiyadudez1 year ago
Very nice! Im looking to do something like this for my dual monitor setup.

By the way, how did you get one taskbar to stretch across all of your monitors? All of the programs I found just put a new taskbar on each screen, thanks.

there is a program named display fusion the is a free and a pro and a trial but you really only need the free to get the taskbar to stretch

alasdair.robertson (author)  Hiyadudez1 year ago
Thanks, I am in the process of redesigning it so I can get it machined. Ill post the CAD model when I am finished. New features will include level monitors across the horizontal plane, variable height adjustment and a refined look.

The task bar is across all screens is a feature of the graphics card. It is Eyefinity enabled. Not sure how you would do it if you didn't have a dedicated graphics card.
Very good idea, love it how you worked it out, I might apply it to make a wall mount for my screens later on. Thanks for sharing.
TyrleY1 year ago
projects such as the one I like the most. great ideas and functional
repetemini1 year ago
I have a suggestion for an improvement.  I am so anal, I could not stand to have my monitors misaligned in the horizontal plane.  Take the bottom outrigger arms for both the left and right monitors and move them "underneath" the bottom arm of the central monitor.  Get longer carriage bolts for the outboard brackets and add appropriate nuts & washers.  Now, adjust the mounting bracket down to be horizontally co-planer with the central bracket.  All monitors are now aligned.  That reverse camel hump arrangement would bug the "H" "E" "Double Hockey Sticks" out of me. ;-)
 It would be like passing by a crooked picture everyday that I couldn't fix.  Otherwise, awesome ingenuity and execution.  Two thumbs up!
alasdair.robertson (author)  repetemini1 year ago
Believe me I have not overlooked this problem! I am sure there is a combination that would have the monitors aligned horizontally. I did try several combinations during the build. I had it clamped to the table while I screwed around with it.

The problem I had was time, when I cut the original individual stands there was no going back! I needed my computer up and running asap so I made the sacrifice of having them slightly out of line. There is only a problem from this when running full screen applications where you definitely see the continuity error from monitor to monitor. I mainly use my desktop for research, writing, media etc. so each monitor is allocated its own application and the alignment isn't a problem. In a way it is incentive to stay of battlefield and actually work!

I appreciate the input though and will try something like you suggest when I get a chance.
Referring to step 5, last picture, add an intermediate "elbow" on each side made of three pieces sandwiched around the two. 130mm long should be about right. Holes are still 30mm from each end, so this should space the inner and outer arms apart by about 10mm so they can swing without interference. You will have a double elbow system for adjustments and your mounts will all be level!
I gotta tell you alasdair - that's a damn fine instructable. Beautifully photographed and laid out with clear simple "how to" steps. I imagine a tutorial like this is not accomplished in 5 minutes. Thanks for taking the time and energy to share it with us.
Only issue I have with the design is that to two outer monitors are at a different height form the center, not sure about you but this would drive me nuts. Overall a good design.
I would have mounted the brackets a bit differently to allow for them to be the same level.
hahaha...My OCD would also drive me mad ...but not like my friend Greg who had a three screen setup and one of the screen blew and because he he couldn't find the exact smae screen again...he went out and bought three new ones...
chuckyd1 year ago
I sit at a computer most of the day and half the night. Early on, I was getting pains in my neck and across my shoulders. I sought out the help of ergonomic health advisors and found that the best position for your monitor is for the top of it to be at eye level. Also, the keyboard and mouse should be set on an articulated keyboard extender so that the line from the forearm to the palm of the and is straight, and the arms should rest gently on the chair arms. I tried all this and the pains went away within a day.
jtharkness1 year ago
Very nice - well thought out, used existing and inexpensive common components, and well documented. I am thinking of making this for my post-graduate son as he is doing a lot of research via the internet with multiple monitors. Are you sure the wood you used was pine ? I ask because the wood in some of the photos appear oak-like. For myself, I would be inclined to use a hard wood like oak to lessen my concern about the wood splitting eventually at the elbows. But that is just me. I may also adapt it for wall mounting. I'll let you know how it works out if you are interested.
alasdair.robertson (author)  jtharkness1 year ago
Thanks for the comment. As the wood comes from an old bed and it is very light in colour I presumed it was pine as it is a popular inexpensive wood. Now I have had another look it could possibly be beech. I am not exactly sure because it is not heavy and is quite easily worked.

That is the reason I love this website, you can look at ideas and projects other people have submitted and adapt them for yourself. Id definitely be interested to see what you come up with to wall mount your version.
rnore1 year ago
Nice Job!
Impressive. I would worry about the torque around the attachment of the horizontal arm to the vertical leg. And especially so if the desk sways with use. Where's a mechanical engineer when you need one?
Cheers Andrew, Yeah I think you are right, there is only a single bolt and the horizontal frame hangs from it so there is a lot of strain here. I don't think it is a major problem though. The point of failure would be the bolt and I think it would take a lot of swaying to sheer it. If had any worries I would not have monitors on it.

You do have a good point though, I were to remake it I would have the horizontal frame in a slot so it would be supported from the bottom and the top.
Topcat20211 year ago
Awesome project! I have made several simple monitor mounts and I have thought of something similar but I was over engineering the joints in my head and the use of thera bands are quite brilliant in your application. I may have to make one of these myself when I have the time.
Keep up the good work
Dan
pfred21 year ago
Are you sure you needed all of those screws in the "top hanger"?
RoeyLeon1 year ago
Very nice work! , looks awesome!
alasdair.robertson (author)  RoeyLeon1 year ago
Thanks Roey, I've had a look, you have some very nice projects yourself!
You did a great job with the design and build with this. Is it pretty sturdy?
Thanks a lot for the comment. Moving the frame back and forward on the pivots is extremely secure, the hinged frames holding the side monitors counter balance each other. There is some flex but I have no worries of any failure from accidental knocks or bumps. In a way the mechanism will act as suspension.

If you were looking for a really solid build you just need to use thinker material.