How To Build A Wearable Walking Desk

Forget about sitting or standing—wear your office while you walk

Stop Sitting

Stop Sitting

The author on the go—and at work—with his walking desk.Photograph by Andrew Chan

Sitting at a desk day after day compresses your spine, degenerates your muscles, and generally wreaks havoc on your health. But the standing desk, a popular solution, makes your feet ache. The fix: Walk while you work, by turning a bass-drum carrier into a wearable desk. This easy-to-make workstation gets you exercising, and is perfect for mobile computing jobs such as live blogging, managing inventory, and data collection. Walk this way!

Stats

  • Time: 1 hour
  • Cost: $80
  • Difficulty: Easy to moderate

Tools + Materials

  • Screwdriver
  • T-bar bass-drum carrier
  • 2 5/16-18-by-1-inch carriage bolts with matching wing nuts, flat washers, and lock washers
  • 4 1⁄4-20 wing nuts with matching flat and lock washers
  • Bench vise
  • Rubber mallet
  • Drill and bits
  • Wooden cutting board, 1 inch larger than laptop footprint
  • 2 1⁄4-20 T-nuts with matching 1-inch wing bolts, flat washers, and lock washers
  • 4 3/8-by-3/8-inch black rubber spacers with sheet- metal screws to clear inner diameter
  • 2 1⁄4-inch offset clips with matching sheet-metal screws, flat washers, and lock washers
Walking Desk

Walking Desk

The walking desk is made out of an old bass-drum carrierPhotograph by Sam Kaplan

Instructions

  1. Replace the drum hanger bolts with 5/16-18 carriage bolts. Secure them from the front with flat washers, lock washers, and wing nuts. Replace the height adjustment and belly-band attachment locknuts with 1/4-20 wing nuts and washers. This will make it easy to break down or adjust the desk.
  2. Temporarily remove the T-bar, clamp it in a vise, and bend it with a rubber mallet until the bar is horizontal. Drill a 1/4-inch hole about 1/2 -inch from each end, and remount the bar to the carrier.
  3. Position the cutting board on the T-bar, adjust for comfort, and mark the location of the holes in the T-bar on the cutting board from underneath. Drill two 9/32-inch holes where marked, hammer the T-nuts in from above, and secure to the T-bar from below with flat washers, lock washers, and wing bolts.
  4. Center your open laptop on the cutting board, and locate two drilling centers along the front edge near the corners. Drill pilot holes. Then install offset clips with wood screws and washers to hold down the keyboard. Finally, install one rubber spacer along each side and one against each back corner to prevent the computer from sliding around.

This article was originally published in the July/August 2016 issue of Popular Science, under the title "Wear Your Office."