I did some research for a few days, and took a chance on some stuff from Amazon. I returned a few items I didn’t need weeks back, totaling $100. I had Amazon credit, so I decided.. ok, let’s see if I can make a sitting desk/standing desk hybrid thing happen for DIRT cheap. Here’s what I found… I’m totally going to do a YouTube video about this, probably tonight or tomorrow.

I actually feel euphoric right now, because… well, you know the feeling. When you discover a cheap, EFFECTIVE solution for something you’ve been thinking about forever….. and you just nail it? That’s what happened, here.

What I Started With (which wasn’t expensive at all).

Here’s what my studio desk has been, for at least a couple years:

$46 IKEA Linmon Tabletop (59 x 29 1/2) / Adils legs combo
https://www.ikea.com/us/en/catalog/products/S49932670/

$15 IKEA Hemnes shelf (11 x 47 inch)
https://www.ikea.com/us/en/catalog/products/50178779/

$16 IKEA Capita legs (8 1/4 inch).. these aren’t on the IKEA website anymore, I don’t know why… I hope they didn’t get rid of them. Here’s a link to the 4 1/2-inch ones.
https://www.ikea.com/us/en/catalog/products/60263574/

I loved this desk forever… $77 total. You can’t really see it too well in this photo of my studio from May 2016, but it was perfect. On the sides, were other IKEA Linmon/Adils, and a dual-tier keyboard stand. Cheap as hell, but totally effective.

Here’s a better view of it, with one of my “Listen To _____ With Chris Caulder” videos:

You can see a couple other IKEA pieces on either side of the Mackie Control Universal— those little $6 laptop-in-your-lap or “angle whatever you want” trays. I forget the name of them, but they’re perfect. There’s a Fellowes keyboard tray under the IKEA tabletop… it’s one of those “don’t need to screw anything in… just clamp it” ones. It’s huge, too. I love it.

But, as most people start feeling… and as everyone says these days…. “sitting is more dangerous than smoking!” Well, I wouldn’t agree, but…. standing desks (especially for musicians) are really ideal, because:

 

  1. They keep you from being too lazy and distracted by the YouTube and internet black hole.
  2. They keep your energy up (oh yes, they do). I’ve done the “cardboard box / crate standing desk” thing several times over the last week and it really does keep the energy and motivation double, compared to sitting down.
  3. They keep you excited about whatever you’re working on. Every time I’m standing there, sipping from a water bottle, doing shit… I seem to move faster, and be more productive. I’m not the only one.
  4. They really do keep you active, and healthier, because when you sit… the gut just gets insanely fat, especially if you work at a job that has you sitting all day. You don’t have to stand ALL DAY… just… do a mix-and-match… and rest when you need to.

A concern: what about the studio monitors/speakers…. and their “magic spot?” Sure! I can’t think of anyone who wants to mix/master their music standing up. So that would be the time to sit down, and have the speakers angled at your ears properly… but when you’re writing/recording, and/or shooting a video? Stand! Fuck yes.

So, I wanted a hybrid thing… but I didn’t want to buy a $300 motorized desk frame… or a $150-to-500 “standing desk converter.” like the “Varidesk” or the “Flexispot” I wanted to find a cheaper, more simple option…. but more importantly, I wanted to be able to angle my displays.

I’ve always been obsessed with articulating arms… for TVs, for graphics designers, for gaming (I’m not a gamer but)…. these things just put the monitor display RIGHT IN YOUR FACE, at the height you want, at the angle you need, and it’s painless! Especially if the arms are gas-powered with springs. All of these things have universal mounts on the end of them, called VESA Mounts (I didn’t really know the name until last night). Most (if not all) flat-panel displays (TVs and computer displays) have VESA mounts on the back of them. Some are 75x75mm. Some are 100x100mm (my ASUS displays in this case, are). Some (larger TVs) are like 200mm.

I thought… what if I combined two of these arms……

with one of these guys (this specific one is the iCraze laptop desk/stand):

I took a chance.

I picked up two individual arms (only $20 each!) instead of the dual-mount (which was $10 more)–

the brand and model: North Bayou F100here’s the Amazon link for the exact one I got….  I opted for the two single arms, 1, to save money, and 2, so I had full control over the balance… by placing one arm about a foot from the left edge of my IKEA display shelf, and the other, a foot from the right edge of the shelf, it would mean the arms wouldn’t really rock my shelf too much, when clamped to the back.

Then I thought (after carefully measuring about 50 times to make sure everything would be at the ideal height)… “what about bed risers just to get a few more inches of height for the displays?”

I’ve bought these exact ones from Amazon for my bed ($15), which raises my bed off the floor about 8″, so I can store a ton of stuff underneath it, as the regular bedframe has about 6″ of clearance to begin with… so this gives me like 14″ of storage under my bed, which rules, for all those Rubbermaid bins (and not just the flat ones!)

So I thought… why not pick up another set, and use the thick risers (the 5″ ones) for the spare bedroom across the hall, for even more storage)… and put the smaller ones (the 3″ ones) under the IKEA shelf? Boom.

So, that puts the IKEA display shelf (the Hemnes, with the 8″ Capita legs) with about a solid 12″ of clearance. Sweet!

That little zig-zaggy laptop stand (which sells under MANY brand names… here’s a great video about one of the types)… is only $27-to-50. I got mine for $29.

The one I got is just like the one in this video, but slightly different (maybe better?). Mine is called the iCraze laptop desk/stand (this exact one from Amazon — again, only $29). 

So……. after over an hour sweating my butt off, opening everything, assembling everything (the laptop desk didn’t need much… just experimenting with the best angles), but the arms were a bit tricky at first, especially mounting the VESA mounts to the back of the displays, unscrewing the built-in stands, and finding a long-enough power cable for each display, so I could fish them into the arms, so the cables wouldn’t be seen/tangled… but, once I got everything going…. I got this (for the sitting part, which was nearly identical to how I had it before! Height/angle, everything. But the displays were even closer to me, which was dope (without moving the shelf… notice the bed risers can’t go much closer because of the those IKEA trays).

The Sitting Desk

 

And then… the “standing version”… which literally was my gently lifting the monitors straight up (the arms are gas-powered!), and then grabbing that little zig-zag laptop stand, then grabbing my wireless Logitech keyboard, and wireless trackball. Took all of… 15 seconds? Maybe 10? That’s less time than it takes to raise some of those motorized desks, fully………..

The Standing Desk

I freakin’ LOVE THIS!!! I can even get the displays to angle up more toward my eyes, because the arms allow for heavy angle adjustment. So freakin’ easy, and it looks AWESOME. The zig-zag desk is just wide enough (and I did measure and research the specs before I bought it) to hug my Mackie Control Universal… and since it just fits… it wobbles a little less (yes, it does wobble a little… but, it’s made from aluminum, so… no surprise.

I’m totally going to make a video tonight or tomorrow morning…. this upgrade only cost me $85 TOTAL…. and it’s exactly the way I want it…. why spend $200 on one of those standing desk converters which simply “raise” everything…. you can’t change your display angles with them. The computer keyboard is fully flat, which is fine, but I prefer a slight angle when I type… (these photos show the keyboard flat, but I upped the angle a tiny bit. The trackball stays perfectly in place, because it has rubber feet (and I prefer trackballs to mice… so much more logical/intelligent design.)

Bonus!

I also use a laptop a lot for work/internet stuff (this specific studio desk is not connected online, as it’s my main recording computer)… at any time, I can just “borrow” the zig-zag laptop desk, and put my laptop on it…. I often use my laptop, doing internet stuff, and having the TV on for company while I work (that blue chair you see is where I’m sitting 75% of the time)…. so, I don’t have to sit, while I do internet stuff. I’ll probably pick up another one, just so I can use it while I’m sitting in bed, too…. so friggin’ cheap and perfect design.

Oh and yes… one of my all-time favorite movies Can’t Hardly Wait (1998) is playing on the TV. Someone once said I “watch the same 90s movies over and over”. I do sometimes, but basically…. the real story is…. I watch ALL movies more than once. Doesn’t matter if it’s from 1974 or 2017. I love movies, and have them on all fucking day (and night) while I do my shit (music, videos, etc).

So, here’s a birds-eye of the “standing” version of the main studio desk… I LOVE THIS SO MUCH. Such a cheap, but perfect upgrade… all I want to do now is stand in front of those two “right-in-my-face” displays, and work on shit. But first… I have to go jogging… it’s ridiculously humid, but I gotta keep at it. I’m so stoked. Talk about being “in the zone.” Can’t think of a better way to do exactly what I wanted to do.

Today was a win.

-Chris Caulder
June 30th, 2018

 

Birds-Eye View

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