Intro: Folding Stand Up Desk (yet Another)
I decided to test using a stand up desk, and found I like it. So, I decided to make one from some 12 inch wide scrap particle board shelving.
About 40 years ago I read that William Proxmire, US Senator from Wisconsin, had a desk built for him that allowed him to stand while working. After commenting about Proxmire and his desk on another Instructable related to weight loss, someone suggested I do an Instructable on building a stand up desk. There are already several published Instructables related to stand up desks, and they will certainly be displayed in the Related Instructables at the far right of this Instructable's pages.
Here is an article on why sitting at a desk hours at a time is not healthful and why a stand up desk is better.
Step 1: Tools and Materials
My goal was to use up some scrap chip board shelving. It is nominally 12 inches wide and I have 5 feet 4 inches of it. I also used four door hinges I found at our local Restore, an outlet for donated building supplies, the proceeds of which fund homes built by Habitat for Humanity. Naturally, I used some 3/4 x #10 bevel head metal screws to fasten the hinges to the chip board pieces.
For tools I used sawhorses, a 7 1/4 inch circular saw, a measure, a square, a straight edge, "C" clamps, a drill, a screwdriver, and a pencil. I also made use of something I built in another Instructable to assist in cutting stock with a circular saw. (I did modify it and will mention the additions to it when that part of this Instructable comes.)
Pictured is the shelving on my sawhorses. Note the text boxes for layout instructions. Make a pencil line. This line provides a gentle slope to the top of the desk that makes reading and writing on the desk more natural. By making this angle cut about a dozen inches inward from the end of the shelf, I can cut once and the same angle will be on both upright pieces.
Step 2: Cut With the Saw
I decided to do this project with only a circular saw because that is the tool many will have available who may not have a table saw or a sliding miter saw available. I know the distance from the left side of the blade to the edge of the shoe is 5 1/16 inches. I set the straight edge off to the side that distance and clamped it down. Then I checked my measurement again and adjusted as needed before cutting.
Step 3: Align the Sloped Edge and Clamp
Align the sloped edges so they are flush with one another. This is in preparation for cutting the shelving square to define the bottom edge of the vertical supports.
Step 4: Turn Over and Mark for Cutting
Turn the clamped assembly over and mark a squared line across the width of the shelving. This mark should be placed so a tiny amount will be removed from the piece already cut. With one cut, the bottom of both vertical supports will be exactly the same. There will be no misalignments because the cuts were made simultaneously.
Step 5: Length of the Desktop
I want the vertical supports to fold flat for storage when the stand up desk is not in use. I placed the vertical supports on the shelving so their ends almost touch. I allowed about an inch of overhang on the top at each end because the vertical supports will fold upward on their hinges. The framing square marks where I plan to make the cut. The vertical supports appear to be cocked because the sloped edges need to be parallel to the ends of the desktop when they are attached to the desktop with the hinges.
Step 6: Cut the Top to Length
This is a special cut off guide I made for use with my circular saw. Since the time it was an Instructable, I have made a couple of modifications. I originally used a welded construction, but that caused heat distortion. I ground out the welds and worked with a file to straighten what still had some distortions. Then I fastened the pieces by drilling, tapping, and using screws. I also added a piece of wood across the top. The first cut with the saw showed where the blade would cut forever afterward and makes aligning it with the saw cut easy.
Step 7: Layout the Hinges
Place the hinges at the corners on the bottom side of the desktop. I forgot that I planned to allow a one inch overhang from the last step. The hinges as shown here are set in from the ends of the desktop too much. When I finished the stand up desk, the ends of the vertical supports did not clear each other. I later had to move the hinges out a bit on each side. Drill holes that do not quite go through to the other side and insert the screws.
Step 8: Attach the Vertical Supports
I want the vertical supports to be canted (angled) outward for stability. To achieve that easily, I allowed them to rest on a piece of 1/8 inch strap iron as a spacer. Drill and insert screws through the holes in the hinges and into the vertical supports.
The second photo shows the vertical support canted.
Step 9: Almost Finished
This is the stand up desk ready to use. After this photo was taken, I dismantled it and moved the vertical supports outward for less overhang on the top. That allowed the sides to fold flat. But, the amount of cant on the vertical supports worked out well. The desk is very stable and works well. If I wish, I can turn the desk end for end and have a slight negative inclination on the keyboard.
Step 10: Fold for Storage
We plan to move within the next year to a house with less square footage of floor area. I will want to be able to use this stand up desk, but also to make it flat and store it in a closet or behind something. Folding it also makes it easier to carry.