Introduction: VersaDesX

About: Senior at The Derryfield School in Manchester NH.

Hi! Welcome to our Instructable for the VersaDesX, a transportable, convenient, standing-sitting desk. We are John and Rami and we are from the Derryfield School. We are enrolled in a STEM course at school and this desk was our final project. The criteria for the project was to make a helpful and innovative solution to a problem that you face in your daily life. So, this desk was made to assist our want for different working positions while doing homework. We were given about four weeks to complete the project and a budget of $80. For us, it took about 27 hours from start to finish for this project, granted many of those hours were problem-solving, but that is taken care of for you. If inclined, I hope this Instructable helps you out during your standing and sitting creation.

FYI, ensure that the desk is rather light, especially the top table. Keep in mind, that using power tools can be dangerous, so ensure that you use the proper safety equipment, especially if you’re inexperienced.

Step 1: Materials and Tools

With such a low budget for the build that this is, we had to be very thrifty with the materials that we used. This list is the list that we used not necessarily the best materials to use for the build. Before the list, two things should be noted: firstly, this project could be done with just one person, but depending on the time that you want to complete it, we would recommend 2-3 people. Secondly, it will be shown what tools we used for this project, but without a woodshop and woodworking experience, this project may be challenging.



  • Sander
  • Jigsaw
  • Circular Saw
  • Drill
  • Ratchet Set
  • Nail Gun

Step 2: Pallet

The pallet is the most crucial part of this project. Without a strong, and durable structure it is unlikely that it will be able to withstand the weight of the top table in the standing position.

Here are the steps:

-Deconstruct the pallet

-Cut (4) 48" lengths from the pallet (structured like a 2x4 NOT top sheet)

-Cut (3) 40" lengths from the pallet (structured like a 2x4 NOT top sheet)

-Cut (3) 7" lengths from the pallet (structured like a 2x4 NOT top sheet)

-Take 48"x30" and 48"x15" plywood and attach 48" lengths on either side

-Attach cross sections ((3) 40") for the 48"x30" tabletop AND ((3) 7") for the 48"x15" tabletop

Once you have fastened everything, check strength and make sure that there are not nails sticking out.

Recommendation: Use a nail gun to fasten these all together

Step 3: Sand

To sand, we recommend 80 grit sandpaper. We sanded pretty much every edge, corner, and face of all of our wood for two reasons: a. we didn’t want to get cut, and b. to stain.

While sanding, keep in mind: You want to press hard onto the wood to create a smooth surface. This process is very simple yet time-consuming, and the more patient you are the better the turnout. Know that your end goal is to reveal the grain in the smoothed wood.

Step 4: Stain

This part is optional but it does improve the aesthetic appeal exponentially. If you wish to improve the look of your VersaDesX than we highly recommend staining the project.

We first got rid of all residue/dust from the sanding with a dry cloth and brush. We then dipped paper towels/brushes into the stain. We wanted a darker look so we rubbed in the direction of the grain with the appropriate amount of force (NOTE: the more force applied, the darker/better the stain will come out). Then we dried and repeated the process one more time for an even darker look.

Step 5: Clamp

*We know that for our legs in the picture they are not yet stained, but that was solely because wanted to still be productive while other stain was drying.*

For this step, you want to manually secure the 2’x4’x30”s into the clamps. Once they are firm and at the correct height, screw them in.

Step 6: Prep the Tabletop

Main Table:

On the back end of the main table, on either side drill holes at the same distance. Remember that this hole is going to be where the bottom of the lever bar goes, so you will want to know how high you want the top desk to go and base the hole distance from that. For us, we had the hole about 19” from the back for a top height for a 5’3” person.

We also added a 2”x 2” x 30” on the sides of the desk for the support of the legs. At first, we used that bar for both the front and back pair of legs, but noticed that the table was very unstable and then cut a 2” x 4” into a 2” x 3” and attached them to the bottom front corners to have the legs clamp on them.

Top Table:

To prep this top table, you just need about a 30o angle between top and bottom. Granted we did not measure this angle just eyeballed it according to the length of the brackets

Additionally, we put pegs in the back corner as support. We cut about 6” per bar, which we then cut down to 2”. It’s that stained bar that you see in the first picture.

Step 7: Set the Tabletop on Legs

At this point, we still had the front and back pairs of legs going onto the sides of the table. It is this step that we noticed the instability of the table and proceeded to create those 2” x 3” mentioned in the prior step.

KEY: Make sure that everything is fastened tightly.

Step 8: Attach Lever Arms

From step 6, you should now have the proper dimensions and drill holes. Now you need to ratchet the bolts and lever arms in.

To do this, we used a washer then two lever arms, then another washer and then begun to ratchet into the drilled holes.

KEY: You want the preliminary drill holes to be 1/8" smaller than the blot in order for the thread to fasten into the wood.

Step 9: Build and Attach Support Rests

For this step, we drilled a hole 2” from the front edge of the table either side. We then drilled a hole into the 2” x 4” x 16” about half an inch high to make it easier to ratchet in.

We also attached a 2” x 4” x 5” on the front of the main 2” x 4” which is the actual piece the top table rests on.

Step 10: Adhere Top Layers

It's time for the finishing touches. Put the construction adhesive on all sides of the plywood and make sure to put extra on each of the four corners. Make sure you line up the desk correctly and apply the whiteboard and hardboard onto both top and bottom tables. Finally, use clamps for a seamless and strongly adhered top layer to maximize durability.

RECOMMENDATION: We found that "gorilla" construction adhesive worked the best.

Step 11: Attach Handles

We put the handles at 12” and 36” (¼ and ¾). Again, we predrilled holes into the wood to make it easier once applying the handles. We added the handles as another option of lifting the table. They are not needed, and we know that, but they add a nice aesthetic as well.

NOTE: This is great "bang for your buck"

Step 12: Test It Out and Deconstruct for Transportation/Storage

Now that everything is assembled, it's time to sit… or stand… or both! Test it out and see how you like it! If they are any changes to make do so. If everything is nice and structurally sound (like it should be), then congratulations, your VersaDesX is complete! If your desk is in the room you want it to be then you are all done! If not, don’t worry, the VersaDesX is easily transportable. For us, we had to transport it all the way to school for a demonstration and it fit perfectly in a midsize SUV. Enjoy your brand new VersaDesX and please let us know what you think!

email (for project inquiries only):

Step 13: Further Innovations

Originally, the goal of this project was to make a standing/sitting desk, but we realized that without knowing we created a third capability in out project. This was brought to our attention by our STEM teacher during our presentation and we thought it was such a good idea that we would share it with all of you! Now, if you follow our Instructable perfectly you will also have this capability in your project. Our teacher suggested that we could attach a covering layer (corkboard) on the bottom of the 48"x15" desk. This would allow you to attach documents/pictures/notes and maximize the whiteboard space!

This is a great innovation that we highly recommend pursuing! Please let us know how it turns out!

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    4 years ago

    Looks good, nicely done guys!