Thanks bdrhoa, for starting this Desk Design thread. Sounds like exactly what I need. I've been wanting a treadmill desk for quite some time, ever since I first read about the idea (may have seen an article about Robert Hess), and haven't sorted out how to go about setting up the workstation.
It seems that at first I wouldn't know how high the keyboard should be above the deck. Wouldn't want to go to the trouble and expense and then discover that I'd created a torture chamber in which I was hunching over or straining upward. If the distance between keyboard and deck proved to be too small, I suppose one could kluge up an adjustment by putting the laptop or keyboard up on books or boards. If the distance was too great, there's not much a person could do.
And maybe the right distance would vary throughout the day according to whether the treadmill is set for uphill walking at x degrees from the horizontal or y degrees, or set for downhill walking, or for flatlander walking. Maybe the optimal distance would even vary according to how energetic or how fatigued a person was at any given time. Maybe being able to change the height from time to time would enable one to use muscles differently at different times of the day, or from one day to the next, and thus avoid the painful muscles that can result from long keyboard projects.
Also, I wear bifocals, so there's not only a concern about the right height for typing; there's also a concern about the right height for vision.
And the walk-desk system should be something that one could adjust later on if one changed from using a laptop to using one or more separate monitors, and vice versa.
So I'm thinking that maybe I'd want to arrange to have an adjustable platform built for the keyboard, etc. Something that's convenient to use. Maybe something with a turn crank? Wonder whether a hydraulic lift would be affordable. (Is it a hydraulic lift that raises and lowers the chair at the dentist's office?)
Has anyone worked out an adjustable-height system?
And then there's the matter that I wouldn't want to (or be able to!) stand up all day; I'd need some easy way to change back and forth from a standing work posture to a seated one without getting all the many wires hopelessly tangled. (I know some people have wireless networks, but probably at present there's no data that would indicate whether that would create extra health risks with long-term use.)
Has anyone figured out how to design a satisfactory swiveling desk or otherwise change easily from striding-along work to sitting-in-a-chair work?
Maybe I should also ask: Does anyone have experience that indicates that some of the above concerns are less important than I think they are? How so?
Getting the height right is one of the reasons I'm planning to go with a TreadDesk treadmill and standalone desk. I'm currently planning along the lines of a moderately inexpensive (i.e. < $250) Mayline adjustable height desk that would straddle the 24" wide treadmill.
If you're planning to use the same monitor/keyboard for both standing and sitting you might consider a tall drafting chair/stool so you can use the same desktop that you use while walking. I know that TreadDesk's (and Steelcase's for that matter) adjustable height desks would solve many issues but they're awfully expensive if you're not absolutely sure it's for you.
Thanks, catfiend, for these suggestions. It hadn't occurred to me that adjustable height desks might be available. I'll check out Mayline (and may take a look at TreadDesk and Steelcase too). This is probably a better idea than my original one of re-inventing the wheel and having a carpenter build me a desk.
I set my treadmill desk height so that I could comfortably rest my elbows on it while walking. Essentially this is the same height as my traditional desk when I am sitting at it. This gives me enough stability to type (like I am right now) easily and keep up a good posture that is comfortable in the long run.
To ease moving to and from my traditional desk, I have installed a second keyboard/mouse (you can do that with USB devices) and used an video A/B switch to move the display back and forth.
So to move from the TD to the traditional , all I have to do is switch one switch. Easy. Although I did have the expense of a second monitor/keyboard/mouse.
I had wondered about stability for typing. Thank you, Scamp, and it would be good to hear from others about this:
Do you also rest your elbows on your desks while walking/typing?
If so, how well does this work out for comfort and function?
Have you found other ways to arrange enough stability for typing?
I have a stand-alone plywood and wood desk (about 1 1/2' X 4) built over my treadmill, so if the treadmill breaks it can be replaced.
A sliding shelf is in the middle under the keyboard/laptop area, so if I need more support or room it's there, held on by lag bolts in grooves on the shelf with wingnuts that can be loosened to move it, then tightened to secure them. There are also two 4" by 10" "flaps" on either side of the shelf, also with the bolts/wingnut set up, that can be rotated out of my way, to rest my elbows/forearms on when needed. This makes it so I can adjust things as I want them depending on what I am doing.
We also made a simple low 4 legged platform that just clears the top of the treadmill walking area with the treadmill raised up to the highest incline, to put my folding stool on when I am not walking. We built that when I injured my ankle and couldn't walk for a while, but still wanted to use the desk.
Additionally, I found that I needed things like my printer, scanner, drawers for various office supplies, and other things on a daily basis, so we built a two tier shelf on the right side of the desk (I am right handed, so put it on the right). Each tier is about 13" deep and 4' long, supported by 2 X 4's and the wall. It looks like enclosed stair steps, with a back on each tier. The second tier is about 13" above the lower one. The lower shelf is covered with waterproof shelf lining, so if I spill a drink it's no biggie, while anything that can't take water is in other places.
A floor lamp supplies light, while a small flexible LED lamp that plugs into a USB slot on my laptop supplies keyboard light. I also have an extra monitor in addition to the laptop screen, so needed the room for that.
A moveable detachable metal book holder is on the left, to hold any books I need to refer to while working.
Everything was made from plywood and lumber bought at a hardware store (except for the shelf lining and cork for my note board), so it probably cost less than $125 to do everything. I'm not sure exactly how much it cost because we already had just about everything here at home where I work. We keep building supplies around all the time so we don't have to drive to town to get them when we want to put something together. (We live in a very rural area.) The initial desk only took three or so hours to put together, while the shelf wasn't much more time, if that.
It's all bare wood, and isn't the most uptown/pretty treadmill desk, but the cost fits my budget and it works well for me. As long as I'm walking, I can keep the weight off, and I sleep better at night.
My treadmill desk is great and huge and heavy. I have cubbies to put my computer and even cord keepers like a regular desk. The only thing I might change is the piece that my keyboard and mouse are on to make that hinged so getting the treadmill in there was easier. When my treadmill finally dies, it'll be a pain to take it out and put another in there.
I have 12" extension tubes accessories on my desk to make it permanently tall, and use it with a drafting stool. I think you'd want to get extension tubes if you regularly use a treadmill. I'm only 5'5" but I just about max out the monitor arm height when I'm on my treadmill.
I really like the huge keyboard tray and the easy keyboard height adjustment. You can also incline the keyboard tray: I have mine in 'negative pitch' which I find more comfortable when on the treadmill. A non-corner desk with similar large keyboard tray: http://www.anthrocart.com/ppage.aspx?pmid=17 It comes in widths from 30" to 60". Hmmm, maybe you can buy the big keyboard tray and mechanism separately and put on another desk?
Um, the console unit is on sale for almost half price from October 27th - 31st http://www.anthro.com/cpage.aspx?pid=451
and looks like everything is 35% off in October. _Almost_ makes them reasonably priced.
I'm using a GeekDesk (www.GeekDesk.com), which isn't ridiculously expensive ; ), but could work perfectly for a treadmill desk (I'm currently only using a mini stepper under mine, but may look at getting another one for our exercise room, and creating a top it to fit around treadmill). I really think adjustable is the way to go, though.
@splashy -- great pictures you included! Thanks for posting them! : )