Introduction: Convert a Car Seat Into the Coolest Office Chair Ever
I always wanted a good office chair to have in my room in front of the computer. A lot of my hobbies revolve around computer, so I needed good office chair, so I stay seated with the correct posture in front of the computer.
I looked for buying a good office chair, but the good ones start in 250$ ranges and above. That is quite a lot. So I decided to make my own to satisfy my forever hungry DIY side.
So I came onto idea to convert car seat into an office chair. Car seats are meant for sitting for long hours and that would be a great option if I could put it in front of the computer since the car seats have a lot of adjustments.
Feel free to look at the video where the entire conversion process is shown.
I will further explain the details in this instructable.
Step 1: Finding the Car Seat
First I started looking for car seats on car junkyards. I was hoping to find a decently preserved one for a cheap price.
I visited two junkyards, but all they had were old cars with broken windows, sitting all dirty on the rain for god knows how long. The seats inside were terrible. I wanted a fairly clean seat, because it will be positioned in my bedroom and the last thing I want is bad smell.
So I started looking for online ads selling wrecked cars for parts. This way I could get seats from newer cars. Newer models have more adjustable and better quality seats.
I stumbled across an ad selling a wrecked 2015 Volkswagen Golf. I called if they still had the seats and they said yes. Then I hopped into my car and drove 100 miles to get them.
The drive was worth it, because the seats were in pristine condition. The car had under 10k miles on the clock. The seats were still smelling like new.
I got one seat for 100 bucks which is a bargain for a seat like this.
The seat has manual controls for forward/backward moving, tilt height and lumbar support (lumbar support is very nice). If you feel adventurous you could buy the electric adjusting seats or seats with heating... But they cost more and over-complicate the build unnecessarily. Plus you would need to install the battery into the seat and charge it... Not worth the hassle if you ask me. Manual adjustment rocks.
The seat also has built-in airbag. If your seat has airbag built in - the yellow connector below the seat is usually for pyrotechnics like the airbag and the little flag on the backrest on the outboard side also informs you of the airbag inside.
You should take the seat to a professional to remove the airbag. The
airbag can deploy just from static electricity. And the airbag is like a big bomb. You don't want that to blow up in your office. Take the seat to a professional and they will happily remove the airbag.
When you have the airbag removed, fill the gap with a hard piece of foam, so that the sidebolster of the backrest doesn't get too soft there.
Step 2: Find the Donor Office Chair
You will need to get an old office chair that still has a good base with wheels. I managed to get a broken one for free. I had only a minor welding job to fix it and it was good enough for the job.
As you will soon realize, the office chair base is way to tall for mounting the car seat directly. The car seat has much thicker seat pad and if you mount the seat directly on the base plate of the office chair, the seat will stand way too tall for practical use.
So I needed to shorten the base somehow in order to get the required height.
Step 3: Shorting the Office Chair Cylinder and Base
Sorry I forgot to take some pictures of this process, but you can see the procedure in the video from 0:40 onward.
I decided to shorten the pneumatic cylinder considerably (around 15cm), otherwise the seat would be way too high.
But there was a problem.
The cylinder is filled with high pressure gas and has a lot of warnings written on the side. All the signs can be summoned up in one sentence. Don't touch, don't open.
I googled for the entire day trying to find a safe way of releasing the gas before I started to cut it with an angle grinder.
Not much information is available. mostly people recommend drilling a small hole to release the gas near the top of the cylinder.
So I decided to give it a go with all possible safety precautions.
I decided to drill a small 2mm hole near the top of the cylinder in order to release the gas. The safest way was to insert the cylinder into a square metal tube which would capture if gasses or oils escaped with high velocity. I also used a protective "blast shield" - a plastic container lid, ear and eye and hand protection because I did not know what to expect.
I proceeded to drill the hole and when I drilled through the way a hissing sound was heard when the gas was released. Very anticlimactic, but you never know. Maybe a different type of cylinder would make a bang. Then I pushed the height adjustment arm a few times and some more gas fizzled out. Then it was empty and the piston moved freely.
IF YOU WILL EVER CONSIDER DRILLING INTO GAS CYLINDER TAKE ALL SAFETY PRECAUTIONS! IF YOU ARE NOT SURE OR DON'T HAVE PROPER EQUIPMENT, HAVE SOMEONE WHO HAS THE TOOLS AND PROTECTIONS NEEDED DO IT. YOU HAVE BEEN WARNED! I TAKE NO RESPONSIBILITY FOR YOUR ACTIONS!
Then also the base of the office chair needed to be shortened accordingly.Shorting the base is simple. Using my big angle grinder I cut of the appropriate length of the tube on the legs of the chair. I reinstalled the plastic piece that was inside the tube back into the shortened tube.
Step 4: Fixing the Cut End of the Gas Cylinder
I had to make the plug for the gas cylinder. The plug is there to close the open end where I cut the cylinder. This is where all the weight presses onto the base of the chair. I also forgot to take more pictures. But you can see the process in the video.
I made a simple aluminum plug which closed the end. I drilled a hole for a screw through the middle of the plug. This is for fixing the cylinder to the base. This way the legs will not fall off the chair when the chair is lifted.
I also made a simple thick plastic washer which will lessen the friction when the chair is rotated as there will not be any metal to metal grinding happening this way.
Step 5: The Shortened Base
The base is now shortened as much as it can be. Make sure that the tilt spring knob isn't hitting the legs of the chair.
Step 6: Shortening the Sliding Rails
The sliding rails stuck out too much.I would clip all the furniture in my room with that :)
Since I didn't need the full range of motion they offered, so I cut off approximately 10cm of the rails at the back with an angle grinder.
A bunch of ball bearings fell out, but somehow the rails still work since some of the ball bearings are in the front compartment and I am happy with that :) They are still solid and do not have any play in them.
Step 7: The Bracket for Joining Office Chair Plate and Car Seat Rails
I welded a simple bracket for joining the two halves together. I made it from 15mm square steel tubing and 10x30mm tubing. It is plenty strong for the purpose.
It is not symmetrical, because the seat center is also not at center of the rails.
I decided for mounting it to the original sliding rails of the seat. This way the center of gravity can be adjusted at any time. When you tilt the seat all the way back in the reclined position, you want to have the wheels a little bit further back if you don't want to tip over.
Step 8: The Holy Marriage
Then the holy moment happens when you join both parts together and everything fits as it should :)
Step 9: Shortening the Adjustment Arm
The forward/backward adjustment arm was too long for office use, so I needed to shorten it. I cut it off with an angle grinder and reattached the plastic end back with a screw., Quick and easy job and great results!
Step 10: Finished!
The best of the best office chairs is now finished!
Sit down, relax and enjoy the creation you have made!
What I really like about this seat is all the adjustment options it has. I also like that the seat bottom is tilted to the back. I find this much more comfortable as I don't slide from the seat and below the table :) It is great for doing computer work.Plus it has a storage drawer in front and a pocket in the back for storing stuff!
And yes, I decided to keep the belt buckle :) I think it looks cool and maybe
someday I will make an auxiliary beer holder that attaches to this clip :)
Hope you liked this instructable!
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