The final prouduct of team C.H.A.I.R.S. desine

Abstract[edit | edit source]

The purpose of this project is to offer alternative workspace to the typical desk in a middle school classroom. The project is an adjustable standing desk that students of different height may comfortably use to complete group work. The desk was made to accommodate middle school students and function as a collaborative workspace in the classroom. The design takes into account the tendencies of energetic, fidgeting students by providing a distraction-free alternative to students that prefer standing while doing work.

Background[edit | edit source]

This project was commissioned by Zane Middle School in Eureka, CA to be completed for the Spring 2019 Engineering 215 - Introduction to Design at Cal Poly Humboldt. Zane Middle School is a 6th - 8th-grade Magnet School with STEAM focus, dedicated to providing an enhanced learning environment tailored to the needs of middle-level learners. Team C.H.A.I.R. is a group of four engineering students tasked with designing a desk that gives students the option to work in a less restrictive space.

Problem statement and criteria[edit | edit source]

After a full day of learning, students too fidgety, energetic, agitated, etc. to focus while sitting at a standard school desk. The objective of this project is to offer an alternative to typical school desk with the choice to stand during class.

Criteria Importance Constraints
Safety 10 Must bare the weight of students without falling or presenting other safety hazards
Utility 9 Must function to adjust to different heights
Comfort 8 Must accommodate students of different sizes and ages
Cost 7 No more than $400 may be spent
Durability 6 Must withstand daily use by students that may unscrew loose parts
Inspiration 5 Inspire students to reuse materials and be creative while building.

Description of final project[edit | edit source]

Use gallery for descriptions of photos. Our final project is an adjustable desk that goes from 29 to 48 inches high. This size difference allows students of all different heights to be able to use it. By spinning the top of the desk to the right it will lower the size of it and when you spin it to the left it will make the desk be taller. The base of the desk is a four-legged base because it gives it the best stability so it is not unbalanced in any way. The spinning mechanism allows the desk to be raised and lowered with only one person doing it instead of having to have anyone else help them. The table top is the size of an average desk's top which gives the student a good amount of room to work and there is a little pencil indentation on the desk so they will not have to worry about their pencil falling off of the desk. Also, underneath the desk will have a little shelf area where they can store paper, folders, textbook, etc.

Prototyping[edit | edit source]

Prototyping for function

The first set of prototypes created were built to function as the final design would. This was accomplished by gathering wood scraps and constructing an X shape base. We also attempted to use a circular base to see which would be more sturdy and less likely to tip over. The circler base was more superior but it would require a large amount of space to truly be effective. The X base was sturdy enough and fit our circumstances better in lowing the cost and building time.

Prototype for desire

The second prototype was chosen to adjust to different heights, unlike the 1st prototype the table was fixed which would address the durability and sturdiness but wouldn't be accessible to all students in middle school (different heights).

Costs[edit | edit source]

Quantity Material Source Cost ($) Total ($)
1 Wood Craigslist 15.67 15.67
1 Cylinder pip personal 0.00 0.00
1 Pipe grips personal 0.00 0.00
1 Threaded pipe Humboldt Scrap Yard 27.67 27.67
4 Furniture felt pads Ace hardware 1.79 7.19
4 1/2 Washers Ace Hardware 0.45 1.80
1 Sand Paper Ace Hardware 0.49 0.49
Total Cost 52.82

Costs (Hours)[edit | edit source]

The picture below illustrates a pie chart of the total design costs in terms of hours for the design. Screen Shot 2019-04-30 at 2.39.56 PM.png

Testing Results[edit | edit source]


After prototyping the table top and playing with different shapes that would best fit the need of the students, we found that a hexagon would be the best shape out of a circle, square, and other like shapes. We wanted to have a circle for the benefit of making it easier to spin 360 degrees multiple times. However, a circle is not the best choice when it comes to using space efficiently. For group work to be more comfortable, a hexagon design was implemented. A hexagon shape as the table top would allow for more group space due to the surface area. It is easy to spin and provides an individual section for anyone around the table to work in. The only issue with the hexagon surface would be the sharp corners, which may be filed down for safety.

Adjustability function

The table is able to move up or down by spinning the table; left to go down and right to raise the table. We also really prioritized on making the desk adjustable but with the criteria of only having an operator in the design. The science behind the adjustability is the threading; threading is a form carving that lowers the friction when going up but still allows for the user to persevering the original friction so the table won't go back down. Doing this minimized the distraction that may occur in the classroom setting especially if the threading is small so it will have more variety in the range that will be available for people to use.

How to build[edit | edit source]


Go out and get a fully threaded pipe with a large wing nut and a plate attached to the top of the pipe. The threaded pipe should be 17-18 inches long.


Either cut a piece of wood or reuse an old desk's top for the top of this desk. The size of the desk's top width should be 20 inches and the so should the height.


Gather two small clamps or one large clamp to fit around the fully threaded pipe.


Get a hollow pipe that inches in diameter and inches in height.


For the base try to find something that looks like our base. We found it at a scrap yard or it could possibly be made out of wood.


Get two thru bolts that are 2 inches long.


Once you have all of this material you attach the desk to the metal plate on top of the pipe with 4 screws.


The threaded pipe should have a large wing nut where you can drill in the two very long nuts.


Use the clamps to go around the two nuts that are sticking out of the wingnut area. The clamps should go around the hollow pipe and have the two nuts inside of them.


Place the hollow pipe over the base and attach them.


Use splatter paint or aesthetics


Attach desk top to base securely

Maintenance[edit | edit source]

The adjustable desk will require minimal maintenance, but over time some pieces may need to be lubed or replaced.

Schedule[edit | edit source]

  • Disinfectant wipes for the table tops to ensure cleanliness
  • Check all screws and bolts to make sure tight
  • Lube as needed to ensure smooth rotation of desktop
  • Make sure structural integrity of desk itself is still holding strong
Every 5 years
  • Possible paint job if current paint starts to chip

Instructions[edit | edit source]

Backpack frame bike trailer

To decrease the height turn the table clockwise

Display case being splattered

To increase the height turn the table counterclockwise

Troubleshooting[edit | edit source]

This is how to troubleshoot basic operation. For complex issues contact the custodial staff or the Eureka School District Carpenter shop.

Problem Suggestion
When turning the table it makes noise Put some WD40 in the threads
Threaded pipe goes all the way off Two person job, one holds the top part of the table while the other guilds the pipe into the hollow pipe to the be twisted back on
If there a wiggle in the table Tighten the bolts or screws around the pips or table

Discussion and next steps[edit | edit source]

The alternative desk is being used by anywhere from 1-4 students at a time during a 7 hour school day, 5 days a week, from mid-September to about June. With that being said, the desk is going to be in use most of the time meaning ensuring the stability of the overall design is crucial. The desks main purpose is to allow for a space where students can still do their work without having the discomfort of sitting in a chair. The desk is adjusted by rotating the table-top clockwise or counterclockwise to move the table-top up and down in height depending on the user. The desk can be adjusted by one person minimizing classroom distractions.

Our first step was to create a base that could hold the weight of the table-top itself and be able to adjust freely and easily. These parts were acquired from the Arcata Scrap Yard. The next step was to acquire a tabletop that could mount to the current base and spin freely as well as allowing for enough space for group work. These steps required multiple hours of collaboration and deliberation to come to a consensus of the type of base that would work best with the shape of the table top used. With this product, students now have the opportunity to stand up from their normal and work at the standing desk to give to give them a chance to stand and stretch out during these prolonged periods of time where they usually sit.

Suggestions for future changes[edit | edit source]

This product was designed to allow students that find themselves fidgeting or tapping in their chairs to have more options when it comes to working in class. Whether it be sitting in a traditional desk or standing at an adjustable one. Having an adjustable desk gives the option to work at various heights thus making the work experience more pleasurable/bearable. To further compensate for students that still find themselves fidgeting, additions and simple modifications to the desk can solve these problems. For example, adding rubber band cords or a fidget spinner to the desk could solve these problems if they continue.

References[edit | edit source]

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