Introduction: DIY Command Center - a Rolling Adjustable Height Desk on a Budget
I have been working from home for most of 2020, and after months of sitting at a makeshift desk in my basement workshop, I finally decided to get a standing desk setup. The only problem is that most variable standing desk rigs are expensive! I also wanted to have a desk that was mobile, allowing me to move around my workshop with my laptop for reference and camera setup for filming project videos. I couldn't find anything that quite fit what I was looking for so, like all makers, I decided to build it myself.
I'll be using this desk as a mobile command center for my daily office job, workshop projects, video chats, and YouTube video filming. It's great ergonomically because it can easily adjust in height for the desk and the monitor from standing to sitting configurations. It can be made in about a day, and for an overall cost of about $100.
- 2-2x2 (8' Length)
- 1-2x3 (12" Length)
- 1-2x6 (18" Length)
- 1-2x12 (24" Length)
- Casters: https://www.walmart.com/ip/4-Heavy-Duty-Caster-Se...
- Corner brackets: https://www.lowes.com/pd/National-Hardware-2-in-St...
- Shelf rails and brackets: https://www.walmart.com/ip/Rubbermaid-FG3H9103WHT...
- TV Mount: https://www.walmart.com/ip/onn-Full-Motion-Wall-M...
- Screws: https://www.lowes.com/pd/Simpson-Strong-Tie-Stron...
Step 1: Video
I put together a YouTube video of the entire build process. If you're a visual learner, take a look. I publish a lot of my projects on my channel, JakeOfAllTrades.
Step 2: Make the Cuts
Start by cutting the wood using your favorite saw.
You'll be using the entire length of the two 2x2x8's with the following cuts:
Cut the 2x6 into one 12" section (bottom brace) and 2 5.5" triangles (column gussets)
Cut the 2x12 into a 24" section. This will be the base.
Cut the 2x3 into a 12" section. This will be the top cross brace that will hold the monitor.
Step 3: Assemble the Base
Using some 4" screws, screw the legs into the 2x12 base. I used three screws per side.
Screw the casters onto the ends of each leg. Make sure the locking casters are on the "front" two ends, so that they face the user as they stand at the desk.
Step 4: Add Supports and Install Columns
Install the corner brackets onto the base so that you can slide the columns in with the 2x6 bottom brace between them, roughly centered on the base.
Screw the bottom brace to the base using 4" screws.
Use more 4" screws to screw the corner brackets through the column to the bottom brace
Screw the gussets to the base and the bottom brace.
After all this assembly you should have two very stable, parallel columns coming up from the base.
Step 5: Brace the Columns
Screw the 2x3 brace between the top of the columns
Screw the remaining 2x2 braces between the columns, evenly spaced along the height of the columns
Step 6: Install Shelf Rails and Desk
Screw the shelf standard rails onto each column. Make sure they are vertically even.
Cut the shelf board to your desired desk length(s), and screw the shelf brackets to the underside. Match the width of the brackets to the width of the shelf rails so that the brackets will slot into the rails.
Step 7: TV/Monitor Mount and Bracing
Screw the TV mount sideways to the 2x3 brace. Instead of articulating left and right as you would normally install it, the articulation will be up and down. This will be the height adjustment of the monitor from sitting to standing.
Because the mount is not designed to be installed this way, it won't support the weight of the monitor in the "up" position. It will simply fall back down. You will need something to hold it in the up position that will easily disengage when you want to bring the monitor to the sitting position.
I had a slot-style product hanger laying around, which I bent to a right angle and secured to the brace with a surface mount U-bracket. The slotted portion "grabs" the mount's arm in the up position and holds it in place. It can be easily rotated away to let the monitor fall down to the lower position.
Step 8: Accessorize and Customize
To finish up, I added another small shelf to hold my laptop. I use an external wireless keyboard and mouse on the desk, and plug the laptop into the monitor with an HDMI cable.
I screwed a power strip to one of the columns, which plugs into an extension cord attached to a foundation pole. This configuration allows me to wheel the desk into any corner of my workshop.
**Tip** Secure the power cord onto the back end of one of the leg , this will keep the cord from falling into the path of desk as you move it and jamming up the wheels.
The last thing I added was an articulating clamp arm. This arm allows me to clamp my camera or phone to the desk and move it around into virtually any position. It's great for filming videos for workshop projects because I can get creative angles while keeping the camera mobile. I can also monitor my camera (Canon M50) over HDMI on the large monitor, which is great for framing and pulling focus).
I also use the arm to attach my phone during the work day, which makes video calls much more convenient.
The great thing about this build is that it's completely customizable. There are plenty of slots for additional shelves and organization solutions. There is also plenty of space on the columns and braces for mounting accessories like lights, microphones, webcams, or gadgets.
Thanks for reading!
Question 2 years ago
First off this is fantastic! thank you. I do have one question. How is the tipping point. I was worried with that much weight at the top it might be an issue when moving the center, did you have any issues with that or did the 2X12 and the 2X6 keep it upright?
Answer 2 years ago
Thanks!! Yes it has stayed completely stable!
Because it's on wheels any sort of tipping moment just translates into rolling motion. But then even with the wheels locked, the base is wide enough that it takes a decent push to get it to tip a little.
Question 2 years ago on Introduction
Can you post the sketchup file you made? I would love to play around with the design so it could work in my apartment.
Answer 2 years ago
Sure thing! Here you go: