Inexpensive Laptop Desk




Introduction: Inexpensive Laptop Desk

I was looking for a desktop to work at home with a laptop, something that allows me to get it as close as possible to work at my couch. Nothing was good enough to fit my needs, too big or too expensive. And then, an idea came to my mind when I received a donation of a few tubular chairs to create my own personalized laptop desk.

Here I´ll show you how to build a cheap desk with few materials and tools.

Step 1: Step 1. Gathering Materials and Tools

You will need the following:

1 tubular chair, that can be obtained for cheap in a flea market or from used furniture store (just the frame will be needed) ~$10.
1 wooden board 60 cm x 80 cm or just a little bigger than the frame (~$4).
4 Phillips flat head screws for wood (30mm long max.) or similar to fix tubular frame to wooden board   ~($1).
1/2 Liter of preferred color paint, or you can just leave it as it is, the wood smells always good.
2 Plastic belts (10 cm and 12cm)

Optional:  1 aluminum tubular profile 2.5 cm x 100 cm
   1 aluminum rolling door profile (C shape) 4.5 cm x 100 cm
   2  Phillips flat head screws for metal (30mm long max.)
   1 aluminum bicycle bottle holder and screw, a plastic one can be used too, but for experience is kind of weak to hold a bottle of half liter of German beer, :-).

   Tape measure,
   Electric screwdriver and bits, or manual.
   Saw for aluminum
   Driller and bits in case of need flat monitor stand

Step 2: Step 2. Disassembly of Chair

Remove all the screws from frame to release the seat.

Step 3: Step 3. Fixing the Wooden Board

Put the tubular structure upside down in the middle of the wooden board.

Place the verticals near to one longsides.

Fix to wooden board with screws using original holes from removed seat.

Stand up and paint.

And that´s it!!, now you have a nice table!

If you want to improve your desk, you can follow the next steps.

Step 4: Step 4. Optional Accessories (bottle Holder)

If you want something to hold the beverages (beer for instance) you can attach a bicycle bottle holder with a screw that usually comes with it. 

If you want the flat monitor stand, then leave this step for later.

Step 5: Step 5. Optional Accessories (flat Monitor Stand)

For the stand, drill a hole the size of tube diameter near to the "leg" (right or left depending on your preferences) of the tubular structure, and optionally one in the middle near the border to put the cables through it.

The hole should be tight enough just to let the tube pass through with little effort, not loose.

Fix the tube to the "leg" with a plastic belt.

Step 6: Step 6. Fitting the Monitor Holders

To create the monitor holder, cut the rolling door profile ("C" shaped) as long as the width of your monitor. This will be the lower part, the rest will be the upper part to avoid flipping towards front. 

Straight up the desk, take measures of your monitor hight and drill a pair of holes to screw tighly the profiles horizontally and parallel to each other to hold the monitor in between.

Slide your monitor through the profiles to test support, fix as needed to have your monitor in desired orientation and height.
Now, fix the bottle holder in your preferred side

Step 7: Step 7. Finishing

Is possible that the monitor has a couple of holes where the screws from the original stand were. You can use the same holes to pass through a plastic belt to avoid accidental side slips

As you can see the monitor can be turned to any desired position  having the tube as axis. As the chair´s tubular structure is made to support people (me= 100 kg) you can place a lot of your stuff over your new desk.

Fit the cables and hold them with velcro strips or plastic belts or pass the cables through the hole in the middle, in my case the VGA connector did not fit so I´ll do this later. Turn the monitor to see if the cables are long enough. 

As the whole thing is also lightweigth, you can easily push/pull it once you are seated comfortably in your coach, having a tasty beer by your side.

NOTE: As you can see, there is no back support in case you push it hard, to move it away, just push the desk from the corner near you slightly pushing down, this will avoid to flip the table backwards. I'm working how to improve this. I hope you like it. 

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    9 years ago on Introduction

    I myself would probably lean too hard on the keyboard area and bend the metal downwards. You could however turn the structure (see the poorly edited picture) and add some cross bars in the back (like this >< or like this ==) to keep it from rocking and I believe that would provide a more stable moveable piece of furniture. You can also attach a 12inch wooden bar on the back with some L bars which are pretty cheap. That will at least keep pens pencils and papers from falling forward. As for keeping it from tipping backwards, I guess you will just have to keep beers in line waiting to be drank! haha :] Maybe using U brackets you can secure sealed bottles with sand or cement to add weight under the keyboard area? Anyway...

    I love the use of the chair skeleton and I can see myself making one in the future! Great inspiration and Great instructable! Thanks!! :]


    Reply 9 years ago on Introduction

    Hi there!
    Thank you for your kind comment.
    I thought about the resistance of tubular frame from bending, but I as we have this type of chairs for our dinning room, we use them regularly and are quite reliable (my weight is 94 kg), so don´t worry because of that.
    Your idea of using another side of the frame is feasible, although the problem is the design of this chair that has a shorter upper part (arm support) than the lower part (base) by 5.5 cm, so the table will have a leaned side. Perhaps using this lower part towards you could provide an extra benefit of a more comfortable position for the keyboard, but at cost of confine your legs between the frame.
    The wooden bar sounds perfect because I have that problem of my pens and pencil are rolling all over the desktop, thank´s! And be sure that I keep an stable table with beers, I just found a brand with 1.5 Lt that can provide extra support hahaha!
    Finally I just fixed the computer and monitor chargers/cables down the table and an extension cord to avoid to have too many cables coming from the table (we have a baby visitor who likes to play cable-pulling), and looks more tidy.


    Reply 9 years ago on Introduction

    Oh I see!! I didnt realize the chair was uneven in that way! Thank you for the heads up. Now it wont trouble me when I tackle this project :] I dont think when commenting I fully recognized the chair as something people sit in specifically Haha So I guess I viewed it differently in my mind.

    I love the wire taming! I was wondering how I would have to avoid kicking all those wires! Again thank you for the inspirations!!


    Reply 9 years ago on Introduction

    You are very welcome and thank you for your comments! ㋛


    10 years ago on Step 6

    instead of using t bar as clamps buy the wall visa mount by vivitar at Micro Center. cost is 8 bucks


    Reply 10 years ago on Step 6

    Thank´s, any improvement is welcome!
    In this case I preferred T-bars because is easy to fit any monitor size, instead of some wall mounts that are for specific kind of monitors (screws position, monitor weight and depth, etc). The wall mount you suggested is for up to 22" and my monitor is 24" and as its design does not allow to use this wall mount. Anyway, for other people definitely is the easier way to do this, cheers!


    10 years ago on Introduction

    Nice job!

    Just don't start with an original Wasilly chair or you will have furniture design nerds up in arms.