Converting an Executive Desk Into a Standing Desk

About: Progressive Automations is your primary source for electric linear actuators, motion control systems and automation accessories. For over a decade, we have supplied various industries with top quality automa...

Hey guys. In today's Instructable we are doing something a little different, we are sharing a post from one our talented customers, Joshua Mouch. He is responsible for building and writing this guide on how he created this application and was kind enough to share it with us. So we hope you enjoy these instructions on how you can build something like this directly from the man who designed it!

Step 1: The Linear Actuators, Control System, and Power Supply

First thing you need to do is get some the harder-to-find items. The legs themselves are linear actuators, which are connected to a control panel and power supply. For this desk, I headed over to Progressive Automations and ordered the entire thing as a package. I went with a package because it eliminates most of the problems associated with keeping the legs in sync.

I did quite a bit of research, and the Progressive Automations FLT-04 is the biggest, largest, quietest, fastest, and highest quality I could find. I wanted to make sure that these things could handle any weight I threw at them for a few reasons. First, I have multiple monitors. Second, I intend to continue this project by making the entire desk tiltable, allowing you to lay down while you work. I’m unsure how much that portion will weigh, so better safe than sorry.

Another benefit of this package is that it handles the syncing of the legs for you automatically. For example, the rear-left leg won’t raise or lower faster than the other three legs, regardless of how much weight you place on a particular corner. This is very important – because if you just use any old linear actuator, you’ll run into problems with the four legs not extending at the same rate.

Step 2: The Desktop

The next step was to remove the top portion of the desk from the “cabinet” portion.

Step 3: Adding a Mountable Surface

After doing this I found there wasn’t a large enough surface to mount the legs to. So, I decided to purchase a piece of high-quality plywood and cut it to fit the hole underneath the drawer.

Step 4: Attaching the Legs

Once the mountable services were added to the bottom of the desk, I was then able to attach the legs using #14 3/4″ sheet metal screws.

Step 5: Testing the Legs

Now that all four legs have been attached, I tested the desk out.

Step 6: Making the Desk Mobile

Since this desk is very, very heavy, I decided to add wheels. In general, you won’t see wheels added to a lot of stand up desks. I imagine the reason is because when the desk is in “stand-up” mode, you don’t want it rolling around on you. However, since I also have a desk base in addition to the four legs, I have something that I can attach the wheels to to allow the desk to be rolled around when not in “stand-up” mode.

I decided to add four casters to each “base”, or set of drawers under the desk. That means there are eight total casters. The casters I decided to use are called made by a company named Woodtek and are model #163703.

Step 7: Mounting Power to the Desktop

The problem you now run into is that when you switch between “stand-up” mode and “sit-down” mode, the electric plugs for your monitors and computer need to move with the top of the desk. To address this, I ordered a mount to hold my battery backup. The product description for the mount is “Oeveo Universal Mount 600-10H x 6W x 10D | Adjustable Computer Wall Mount, UPS Mount, or Other Electronic Device Mount | UNVM-600”. In addition to the battery backup, I also mounted a large power strip and then used J channel for cable management.

Step 8: Mounting the Control Box and Battery Backup

The Progressive Automations Control box easily mounts to the bottom of the desk. I then used the Universal Mount described above to mount the battery backup.

Step 9: Conclusion

I’ve been using my desk for over a year now, and I absolutely love it. If you’re looking for a much fancier stand-up desk than what you traditionally see out there, definitely give this a try. It is absolutely worth it!

I’ve uploaded a few videos, too. Check them out!

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