My objective in creating and updating this blog is to chronicle my journey of building a treadmill desk, walking while working at my computer and the resulting weight loss.

Thursday, August 7, 2008

Finished the desk !

So life happens. Family life, work, trying to sell the house and move, kid falls and a broken bone, kid tonsillectomy, strep throat for me, a failed attempt at building the desk ( more on that later) etc etc.

But the desk is finally done. I'm actually writing this post while walking at the desk which is kind of cool.

1st desk attempt

I went to a hardware store and purchased a very nice piece of birch plywood for about $18.00 (4ft x 3ft ) and some of the pink insulation foam. My plan was to cut and glue the pieces of the foam to build up the height from the hand posts on the treadmill to the height I needed the desk top to be. I'm about 6'3 so I needed to build it up about 8 inches or so. So I cut and glued the desk top on and its about as wobbly as I am after a Monday Night Football game. The design failed because I incorrectly assumed the weight of the desktop and the weight of laptop/mouse/keyboard would provide the stability. Design flaw -I need the ability to secure the desk to the treadmill to provide the stablity.

2nd desk attempt

Used the same birch plywood and cut a U shape into the desk top. I did this to allow for the desk top to wrap around the outside of the treadmill. Phase two is to mount a desktop mount articulating monitor mount on one side and a desk lamp on the other. This reduced the desktop space but allowed me to walk more in the middle of the treadmill. Next I went to the hardware store a bought a few 2x4's and 4 C clamps from the electrical dept then fished out a 1x10 from another project from my wood pile. First I mounted the C-clamps to the 1x10 and tightened those around the treadmills arm bars. First objective accomplished - make a stable and secure platform mounted to the treadmill. Next I cut and screwed the 2x4's in an interlocking pattern using both 2 inch and 3 inch screws to build up the height. Then I ran two 2x4s the length of the mount to provide the stable base of the desktop. I then drilled counter sink holes in the desktop and screwed the desktop into the two 2x4's I ran the length of the mount. Filled the desktop holes with wood putty and sanded the desktop with a 100 grit then a very fine grit to give a smooth finish. I'm not going to paint or stain it until I'm sure I like this design. The great thing about the desk is that with the loosening of 4 screws on the C-Clamp I can slide the desk right off the treadmill. Hopefully the pictures provide enough detail to reproduce this design. If not I'm happy to asnwer questions.

First impressions

The treadmill emits a low humming sound. Not really annoying and cant be heard when using my handsfree phone mic. IPod and noise cancleing earbuds knock out the hum and I enjoy music / pod casts, etc when I work and not on the phone.

I'm starting out at 1.0 mph. Easy pace, I can talk on conference calls with no shortness of breath or general difficulty. I did notice that my lower back is a bit stiff. I'm assuming this is because I'm used to sitting and not standing for long periods of time. The more I walked my back loosened up and it feels fine after a couple of hours.

Next steps (pun intended)

Get a articulating monitor stand and mount to the desktop. Because of the way the desktop is anchored to the thread mill I can mount things right to the desktop with no worries and I need the desktop space and like the screen resolution and refresh rate of the monitor. Amazon has them used for about $65 as aposed to $375. Used is fine with me. I could have gotten the wall mounted monitor arm but would like the design to be free standing.

Add the walking map to chart my distance covered and wieght loss / body measurements at intervals along the "walk" I think my first walk will be the appalachian trail.

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