DIY Sit/Stand Desktop

The finished Sit/Stand desktop with motorized lift on my desk at standing height

When a staff member asks for a standing height desk at the office, I raise their whole desktop to standing height, and then buy them a drafting chair or stool for when they want to sit. You can see examples of some of the desks I had built several years ago and then raised to standing height in December 2014 on my post My First Day of Winter Break from December 27, 2014.

Bruce and I have been talking about how to do standing height desks in our area without raising the more than 40 feet of continuous desktop that lines the walls of our office space. So I started looking at the desktops that sit on your desk and you pull them up to standing height, and lower them to sit. The problem is I’m tall, and Bruce is really tall, so most of the adjustable desktops that sit on your desk do not pull up high enough for either of us, and the pull-up desktops that do have a greater range of height are very expensive. I found hardware that I could build pull-up desktops with, but hardware that pulls up to a reasonable height, and is sturdy enough for daily use is also quite expensive.

While I was puttering around in my darkroom a few weeks ago, and messing with the enlarger, which has a sturdy, motorized chassis, I got a bright idea — if I can find a motorized enlarger frame on eBay for a reasonable price, I could build a motorized Sit/Stand desk. I searched eBay and found a chassis with no head for a Beseler 45 MX enlarger at a great price with reasonable shipping and bought it.

The chassis was delivered last Thursday, and I spent Saturday afternoon and Sunday morning making brackets, building the tops out of solid oak, putting it all together, with lots of help from and testing by the kitties. Then I took it all apart, put the pieces in the car,  drove it to the office, put it all back together on my desk, and loaded it up with monitors, keyboard and trackpad.

Now I’m working on getting another chassis so I can build one for Bruce. What’s really nice out using the motorized enlarger chassis as the base for a Sit/Stand desktop is that I can customize the brackets and shelves for the hardware and individual.

Sasha worked so hard helping me that she got worn out and had to take a nap


Najar had to test out the top before I took it apart to take to the office


Reassembled on my desk at the office


monitors and keyboard in lowest, sitting position


19 thoughts on “DIY Sit/Stand Desktop

  1. Thank goodness there was a cat around to help you with a great job! Can I hire you to rebuild my recording studio? Mr. Bowie can help you with testing out important things…

  2. What a fantastic project. Great job and now I want my husband to make me one. So you just added to his To Do List, I’m sure he does not thank you!

    • Thanks, Neasha! I’m sure your husband is thrilled. I’m going to make a couple more for staff at the office, and I will do each of those differently, especially the monitor mounts; so if you actually talk your husband into building you one, he’s welcome to email or call if he’d like details about how to go about it. So far this one is really great.

      • Thank you! Well, I haven’t broke the news to him yet! I have been looking around on Pinterest for ideas!! 😀

      • The desk I built cost about $235 for the enlarger frame, oak and parts with about 6 hours labor to build it.

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