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Thursday, September 29, 2011

My Treadmill Desk

I have a confession. I've been coveting a treadmill desk for some time now. Spending a lot of time on a computer (for work and recreation), it seemed an ideal way to get a little more exercise in. But the cost seemed prohibitive. So I designed my own.

First, I took a look at the treadmill:


(Ignore the mess behind it.) But the first thing I noticed is that the side grab bars would make a good support. Only if you just rested a plank on top, it would be awfully low to set a lap top. So I needed a way to attach to these bars, but also raise the height.

So during a trip to the discount hardware store, I purchased the following:

  • 1 oak board, 1x12x3' (on clearance. I love clearance)
  • 1 oak board 1x2x3'
  • 2 pine boards 1x4x4'

(Ignore the floor--I've been meaning to replace it.)

And then I went to the larger hardware store, and purchased:
  • four round fittings from the plumbing department (larger in diameter than the grab bars)
  • a roll of self-adhesive weatherstripping--otherwise known as foam tape.


I already had an assortment of fasteners (screws, nails, wooden dowel pegs) at my disposal. Amount spent? Just over $25.00.

Step one: Using four screws, attach the 1x2x3' oak board to the 1x12x3' desk surface. this will form a lip to keep a laptop from sliding forward.


Step two: Cut the 1x4x4' boards into equal length sections, based on the length of the your treadmill grab bars. I cut mine to 9" lengths.

Step three: 1. Use two wood dowel pegs to join two 9" sections together, end to end.  Repeat four times.


2. Using four screws, join two of these sections together.

3. Using four screws, add the top to the T.

4. Repeat to make a second 'T'.

Step four: Using a coping saw, cut off part of each fitting so that it fits over the grab bar.


Step five: Drill a pilot hole at the bottom of each of the round 'feet'. (These will fit over the grab bar) Attach to T as shown. (Optional--add a scrap of wood to one side of each T to level the desk on the guide bar. Otherwise, it will be pitched slightly forward)


Add weatherstripping to the inside curve of each foot (to protect guide bar from scratching)

Step six: Place both assembled Ts (inverted) onto grab bars. Place desk top assembly on top. Make sure all pieces are level and square, the screw into T's from desk top using four screws. You can also add a strip of weatherstripping to the lip of the desk for comfort.


Step seven: (IMPORTANT) Add an anchor rope to the front of the desk. This will keep the desk from pitching forward.


DISCLAIMER: THESE PLANS ARE ONLY A GUIDE. A TREADMILL DESK IS NOT PART OF THE STANDARD EQUIPMENT OF YOUR TREADMILL AND MAY INVALIDATE YOUR WARRANTY. YOU ASSUME ALL RISK OF INJURY OR DAMAGE AS A RESULT OF PROPER OR IMPROPER CONSTRUCTION AND USE OF THE TREADMILL DESK. DO NOT EXCEED 1 MPH WHILE THE TREADMILL DESK IS ATTACHED. CHECK ANCHOR BEFORE EACH USE.

This plan worked for me and my particular treadmill. You may have to make changes to the design based on your treadmill the height of the user.

And as always, I expect someone will read this and figure out a way to do it better (I'm not a carpenter). Please feel free to post suggestions in the comments.

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