Introduction: Walking Table

Picture of Walking Table
I've seen a video of a table that can walk, I really wanted one but I couldn't find one for sale, so I thought "Hey, I'm an engineering student, I'll make one!" But when i started out the search for the plans to the walking table I quickly realized that there were absolutely zero plans. So I had no choice but to make one myself starting from scratch. With some reverse-engineering, engineering, imagination, and basic shop skills it can be done with a bunch of time it can be done. Plus you're going to have pretty a kick ass table.

Just letting you know, I did this project at school in my dorm room and in the shop with whatever materials I could find. I made this table out of wood but I really want to make this using a 3D printer!

Here's a video of the mechanical legs operating to demonstrate its awesomeness.

Video of the Walking Table in action!!

UPDATE: Video of Walking Table in action with the installed update to reduce
sliding on the tile floor

Step 1: Materials

Picture of Materials

About 14 ft of 1"x2" Pine Wood  
About 8 ft of  2"x3" Pine Wood   
About 13 ft of  2"x4" Pine Wood  
About 3 ft of  1"x4" Pine Wood   
About 16 ft of 3/8" Threaded Round Rod               
About 10 ft of 1/2" PVC               
Old piece of plywood 24"x48"x3/4"
Box of 3/8" Washers
Box of 3/8" Nuts
(4) 3/8"x3" Bolts
1-1/2 Wood Screws
2" Wood Screws
Tape Measure/Ruler
Drill Press/Hand Drill
3/8" Drill Bit
Band Saw/Hand Saw/Circular Saw/Dremel
Belt Sander/Sand Paper 
Wood Stain

Step 2: Moving Parts: Cutting

Picture of Moving Parts: Cutting

Start by measuring out the dimensions of the pieces and marking them on the wood. Do the measuring twice, because my great grandpa would always said "Measure twice, cut once." See below for the dimensions:

#1: (16) of the 1"x2" --4.625" length
#2: (16) of the 1"x2" --2.9" length
#3: (4) of the 1"x2"--7.125" length
#4: (8) of the 2"x3"--2.35" length
#5: (8) of the 1"x4" --6.25" length
#6: (2) of the 2"x3" --20" length
#7: (4) of the 2"x3" --10.5" length
#8: (8) of the 2"x4" --15" length
#9: (2) of the 1/2" PVC--20.5"length

Make sure to mark where you're going to drill in the next step. I did 0.5" from the "cut" edge and 0.75" from the other edge.
Once all of the pieces are marked, simply cut along the line and repeat for many more cuts. 

Now you're going to need to cut the threaded rod:
(24) of 4.5"
(4) of 10.5"

Step 3: Moving Parts: Drill and Sand Wood

Picture of Moving Parts: Drill and Sand Wood

Now that all of your pieces are cut, you're going to need to drill the holes for the Round Rod to slide through. Drill at the center of the location that you marked on the wood piece with a 3/8" drill bit. Go slow to make sure you don't crack the wood.

Once all of the holes are drilled, sand the pieces so they are smooth.

Step 4: PVC Spacers

Picture of PVC Spacers

I decided to make my own spacers mostly because it was a cheaper option and they weren't that hard to make. Start out by marking the desired length on the PVC, which in this case for me was 3/4" and then either using a belt sander or sand paper just sand the surfaces so they are flat. Repeat this process for total of about 50 spacers.

Step 5: Table Top

Picture of Table Top

Using a pencil, mark the center of the cross beam support and drill holes that are 3/8" in diameter that are 1" from the center of the of #6. These holes will match up with the holes that should be drilled in #5.

Lay the ply wood on the work surface and mark where you are going to be drilling. I marked off 4 holes that are 6" from the top and 2" from the side. Then drill small holes through the wood, these are starter holes for the screws which will hold the top together. Screw the top to the cross beam support piece (#6)

Next you're going to have to attach the table top to the start of the moving parts assembly. To do this use the 3/8" bolts through the cross beam support piece and the upper moving parts assembly. 

Then attach #7 to the assembly with the 2" screws.

Step 6: Legs

Picture of Legs

I made a template to cut the notch in the legs using a #4 piece (which will go in there). Then i cut the notch out using a band saw, then sanded the surface so it was smooth and that #4 would easily fit. To attach #4 to #5 I used a 2" screw through the top and a 1-1/2" screw through one side to secure them. (pictures are in the next step)

Step 7: Moving Parts Assembly

Picture of Moving Parts Assembly

This is the fun part, where the table starts really coming together.
First your going to bolt the bottom of #5 to #7, then attach #2 to #7 with the threaded rod, washers, spacers and nuts. Then #1 will go on the outside of #2, where #2 will use the middle hole of #1.

The bottom hole of #1 will attach to #3 and the upper hole will attach to #4 which connects to the legs(#8) with wood screws.
Then repeat this madness for all of the legs and joints.

I apologize if this is confusing, please see the pictures for a better understanding, its hard to perfectly describe in words.

Step 8: Finish

Picture of Finish

Then once all of the parts of the assembly are connected together, use the 4 pieces of #9. These will connect the legs to one another. For example the front outer left leg will connect diagonally to the back inner left leg. Just screw the plastic channel to the leg.

For a last and final step, sand down the surfaces of the table so there are no burrs. Then stain the wood to give it a better finished look if you want to.

to reduce the sliding and kick out factor on the tile floors here at school I added a "track" system for the legs to follow. You can see this in the close up video.
Using the leftover 1/2"PVC I cut a long channel for a screw that was attached to the top of the legs to run through.


BrandonR6 (author)2015-02-12

What is the tabletop measurement?

BrandonR6 (author)2015-02-12

What is the tabletop measurement?

BrandonR6 (author)2015-02-12

What is the tabletop measurement?

jlsajfj (author)2015-01-13

Hey boston me and my friends are make a hovercraft, and we will be using your maid idea, and a hoversystem in the middle, so Thanks For The Idea man!!!!11!!!1!!one!!!ONE11!

wesmann669 (author)2014-10-10

Could you make the legs longer if you wanted to??

Dreamchronic (author)2013-08-27

i don't like when someone claims that something he made is awesome....but this...this IS REALLY *!@"/?% AWESOME MAN!!!!!:D:D

bfk (author)2013-06-21

I probably saw the same video you did. I also asked the same question you did. The only difference was, when I did an internet search, I came up with the plans... And great plans they are. Thank you Boston09... Go Bruins!

nnix1 (author)2013-06-10

Boston09 thanks for posting this. It's just superb. I have never seen one and I am so excited to make this that I m going to home depot rgt after posting this. Ur instru are good and u taken extra steps with diff colors to make it as simple as one can. Thnks for making this available.

michael_285 (author)2013-04-26

Is your table similar in design as his creations. Totally amazing.

Dantheplasticman (author)2013-04-05

I think this is awesome !! Do you have a dxf file of this?

I'm sorry, I do not have a dxf file yet

Do you have any file?AI, PDF, or Sat? Also how stury is it left to right? I am thinking about building an out door "walking" picnic table so we can move it around the yard easier.

fungus amungus (author)2013-04-03

You made a walking table and you didn't make a video of it walking!?!

boston09 (author)fungus amungus2013-04-07

Its now posted, sorry it was a bad week at school

qewt (author)2013-04-04

Fantastic! Add a video of it walking please? I can't conceive of how that would look. And I want to make this :)

boston09 (author)qewt2013-04-07

So sorry that it took me so long to add the video, I had a rough school week. But they are posted now

Kiteman (author)2013-04-02

So... where's the video of it walking??

boston09 (author)Kiteman2013-04-02

So sorry everybody! I've been swamped with school work. I'll post the video as soon as I can!

Kiteman (author)boston092013-04-07

... and I see it's now there. Awesome!

audreyobscura (author)Kiteman2013-04-02

Yes, I would also like to see this walking table.

Agreed! So cool! I want to see it walking :)

audreyobscura (author)pfred22013-04-02

i dont think its the same?

pfred2 (author)audreyobscura2013-04-04

If you've seen one walking table then you've seen all of them.

The video is not the same but the concept is.

Kiteman (author)bricabracwizard2013-04-03

The author says, in the very first sentence, that he was inspired by a video he saw...

Dream Dragon (author)2013-04-06

What an interesting idea, and it doesn't make that awful Finger nails down a blackboard screech as you drag it across the floor.

Beergnome (author)2013-04-05

so.. .strange.. fabricated.. by.. hand?

with actual tools and wood?

leaning_r (author)2013-04-04

mikaleda (author)2013-04-04

I want to see it walk!

xprosario (author)2013-04-04
Good. I wanted to know how they could do after seeing this.
rippa700 (author)2013-04-04

Fantastic! Well done - it looks awesome and an major design achievement and a good ible too. Would be really great to have a video of it walking as a finished table so we can see it in action. Well done - love it!

beecroft (author)2013-04-04

Theo Jansen's Strandbeests:

Trevor54 (author)2013-04-04

A wonderful piece of engineering - congratulations!

Now, I've got this invention; I call it a "castor"......

lbrewer42 (author)2013-04-04


My first thought was, "What in the WORLD would someone want to make a table that walks for?"

Now after looking at the youtube video posted by pfred2, I feel dumb for not having thought of why.

Very cool - very handy - but I think I would forget one day and try to lean against it... oops!

Great job - thanks for posting.

damianzuch (author)2013-04-04

Wow man, this is really great. Congrats! And that's a superb Instructable, really good photos and well-documented. You have checked out the walking mechanics of Theo Jansen's Strandbeests? Anyway, amazeballz - this is awesome!

fire2150 (author)2013-04-03

Dude that's sweet

Ottoclav (author)2013-04-03

How do you make it walk?

lime3D (author)2013-04-02

Yeah, seriously, post a video of it walking.

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