Duo: the Multipurpose Desk and Coffee Table




Introduction: Duo: the Multipurpose Desk and Coffee Table

About: I have too many projects going on to know where all the little cuts and scratches on my hands come from. Follow me here to catch up on my latest builds.

This instructable is a continuation of a project I did for one of my design classes at uni. The Duo Table is designed for people living in small spaces that want to maximize the functionality of their room. The table goes from coffee table height to a dinning/desk height in a matter of seconds. This is a completed fully functional prototype but future iterations will be constructed differently.

This list of tools and supplies is not definitive, there are many different ways to get a job done this is just how I did it.


  • Drill/screwdriver
  • Welder
  • Angle Grinder
  • Bench Grinder
  • Clamps
  • A square
  • Skilsaw
  • Sanding equipment
  • Measuring tape and marker
  • Computer with appropriate software


  • 1"x1" Square steel tubing
  • 2x Rollerblade bearings and hardware
  • 1/4" C-Channel
  • 1/4" Right angle
  • Black spray paint
  • Various length wood screws
  • Various small bolts, nuts, and washers
  • Wood for the table top

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Step 1: Research and CAD Design

In this step I researched the ergonomics of coffee tables and desks on the internet and by taking lots of measurements before starting to work out the design in CAD.


1. I took these measurements and modeled the table in Rhinoceros, a CAD Program. After the model was complete I projected it flat to make a 2D image which functioned as my rough blueprints.

2. I rendered the digital model quickly in Keyshot to get an idea of what it would look like when completed.

Step 2: Welding the Frame

This step takes you through the process of making the frame. This step requires lots of welding, I used a tig welder but any process will do. Choose whatever style of welding is most convenient for you.


1. The table started as 1"x1" square tubing, I bought around 35 feet of tubing and used the excess for other projects.

2. Then I marked my cuts and cut them with an angle grinder.

3. I ground down the edges down so they won't cut me and so any large burrs are smoothed out so the pieces can mate flush.

4. I lined the pieces up with a right angle clamp, this is a Pony #9166 and it's awesome. I've also use the right angle welding magnets but this works a little better for me.

5. Weld the whole frame up and paint it black. I lost some pictures when I dropped my phone in a puddle but you get the idea. I used the pony clamp and a large square to make sure everything is inline.

6. The mounting tabs for the bearing pivot were tricky. You can see it took multiple tries to get them into the right position to slide easily.

Step 3: Table Top

The table top was recycled from a previous project where I pinned and glued the boards together while clamping them under pressure, then trimmed the edges with a skilsaw and sanded it smooth. It wasn't quite strong enough for this project so I had to reinforce it with some metal angle.


1. The table top was coated in a ebonizing solution to help it match the frame and hide any imperfections from recycling the table top.

2. The aluminum angle to helps to stiffen up the surface .

3. The aluminum angle is perpendicular to the seams on the table top for the most strength.

4. The reinforcement doubles as a handle when switching the table to different heights.

Step 4: Pivoting Track

This step shows how I made the mechanism that the table pivots on. I wasn't so sure on how to model or measure this in CAD to simulate how it would work so I attacked the problem by prototyping in the workshop. The system liked to bind up and took several iterations to get it to glide smoothly and reliably.


1. Put the bearing and bolt into the tabs on the frame. I repurposed some old rollerblade hardware to make this portion.

2. I found some C-Channel and drilled a hole on each end so I could attach it to the board.

3. To shim the channel to the correct height I used 4 bolts so the bearing had enough room to roll. Dirty but effective as my hardware store didn't have the right size spacers I needed. Tighten down one side but leave the other side open so it can slide in on the bearing.

4. Slide the open side of the channel over the bearing and add the nuts to the other sides bolt.

5. Tighten everything down and make sure it rolls smoothly. Use lock washers or some other locking hardware to ensure it remains tight and doesn't get out of tolerance.

Step 5: Levelers and Lockers

This step shows how I installed the rotating levelers into the bottom of the tables surface. Once they where on I added some stops which help to lock the tabletop in place.


1. Drill the hole for the plastic insert, go slightly small so the press fit is nice and snug.

2. Press in the plastic insert and thread in the adjustment foot.

3. Screw in some L-brackets to the bottom of the feet (these where recycled from an old project which is why there are extra holes). They will act as locks, holding the table top inline with the frame.

4. Attach sticky back foam the the inside of the brackets, this will prevent it from scratching the frame when it comes into contact with it.

5. Left side locked into the frame. The one right pushes against the far side of the frame holding it in place.

6. Right side locked into the frame.

Step 6: Completed Table!

These are some pictures of the finished table being used at different positions. There is a video to show you how quickly it goes from tall to small in the first step. I hope you enjoyed this and learnt something! If you did please vote for me in the following instructables contests, thanks!



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Epilog Contest 8

Tables and Desks Contest 2016

Participated in the
Tables and Desks Contest 2016

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