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Zane Middle School pedal desk

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ENGR215 Project Page in Progress
This page is a project page in progress by students in Engr215. Please refrain from making edits unless you are a member of the project team, but feel free to make comments using the discussion tab. Check back for the finished version on May 15th, 2019.

This is the final design as seen in the image above. The final design features an adjustable table thats has a whiteboard top with a pedal system attached.


The purpose of this Spring 2019 ENGR 215 project is to build a desk with an attached pedal system for our client, Zane Middle School. Since middle school students have tons of energy and sit in a classroom most of the day, pedaling while working on assignments allows them to quietly get their jitters out will getting work done. Our client representative, middle school teacher Paige Boone, had this problem and gave us the task to build a desk with pedal system to help improve her student's ability to work in the classroom.


Catherine L. Zane Middle School is located in Eureka, Northern California. This 6th-8th grade school focuses their curriculum on STEAM (Science, Technology, Engineering, Art, and Math). Spring 2019's team Education With Movement’s goal was to create a resource for students to utilize during instruction that allows them to fidget quietly.

Problem statement and criteria[edit]

Team EWM’s objective is to construct a desk that allows students to remain focused and on-task during class instruction while also safely fidgeting quietly by having access to a bike pedaling system under their desk.

Table 1: Criteria for Final Design

Criteria Description Weight
Safety Moveable components should be shielded, table should have a sturdy base. 10
Durability Design will be used daily, so it must be sturdy and not break. 9
Sound Level Must be as quiet as keyboard typing. 7
Child Size Design should be adjustable to account for all students' sizes. 6
Transportability Must be able to move around with ease. 5
Movement Must provide students with adequate movement to allow quiet fidgeting. 5
Cost A maximum budget of $400, but preferably less than $100. 4

Description of final project[edit]

Our final design features an adjustable table with a pedal system. The desk has two main legs attached to parallel runner boards on the bottom, giving the desk a strong base. The middle board is attached to the bottom of the table top and fits snuggly in between the previously said two main legs. The legs have five preset heights that utilize four nuts and bolts, to hold its position. To adjust the table, two wrenches and a rubber mallet will be provided to our client representative to aid in adjusting the nuts and bolts. In addition there are a total of eight 45 degree angle support boards that make the table top and bottom runner boards sturdy. As for the pedal system, it is a recycled bike frame secured to two boards with copper brackets as a base. The pedal system is easily detachable, but sturdy enough to stay in place when in use. As for the table top, it was created with a piece of plywood on the bottom for strength, then another was painted with whiteboard paint and screwed on top. A ¼" piece of trim also runs along the perimeter to keep things from rolling off.


Use a gallery of prototyping photos and lessons learned.

Prototyping for function Step 1: Prototyping for function: For our first prototype we decided to figure out a way to make a pedal system that would be able to be placed underneath the desk. We found our first donor bike at a local scrap yard in arcata. I took it home for a grand total of $5. The bike was already stripped down but the pedals and frame were intact. When it came to the design of this first prototype, we didn’t have anything in particular in mind. We were just going to use ideas we found on the internet and try to modify them to suit our needs. As soon as we made the first cut on the donor bike, we realized that we could have made a different cut that would have been significantly better, but it was too late to go back. In the end, we were able to scrap it together.
Prototype for desire Step 2: Prototyping for desire: The second pedal prototype was created using a $3 craigslist bike. We cut more strategically this time. This gave us a much stronger frame to work with. Then we took apart the bike to get down to the bearings. We packed them full of grease to allow for a smoother and quieter ride. We used copper brackets to secure the front part of the pedals to the 2x4, and we cut small grooves into a strip of cedar that was used as the back support.
Prototype Step 3: Prototype: Our group brainstormed up a foot roller design. Our first thought was to develop a track system that a piece of pipe would roll gently on. After more thought, using a rope track that the piece of pipe could follow was the better option. Our group decided this prototype was of the most efficient. However, this is something that was found to work with the kids’ existing desk.


Material and construction costs include any material or labor cost that became a part of our overall total cost of the project. We were lucky enough to be able to use all the tools needed for construction for free which significantly lowered the total cost and allowed us to remain under our budget of $325.

Table 2: Item and Construction Costs

Items Quantity Cost
2x4 wood 4 $12.69
Box of screws 1 $6.49
Washers 4 $0.92
Bolts 4 $6.00
Nuts 4 $0.92
Drill Bit 1 $7.04
Blue Bicycle 1 $5.00
Green Bicycle 1 $2.00
Wrench 2 $8.03
Whiteboard paint 1 $26.03
Plywood 1 donated
Tools 1 donated
TOTAL $75.12

Costs (Hours)[edit]

Figure 4 illustrates a graphical representation of the total design costs in terms of hours for the design.

Figure 4: EWM Design Hours

Testing Results[edit]

One adjustable bike pedal desk was made to help students get their wiggles out without disrupting other students. Also, being able to work on class work in Paige Boone’s classroom. The desk and bike pedals have given the students a resource to accomplish staying on task during class time while simultaneously moving their legs on bike pedals.

How to build[edit]

The following two tables are step-by-step instructions on how to build an adjustable desk and pedal system.

Table Instructions
Caption Step 1 : Cut 2”x4” boards and the plywood top to the proper length.
Caption Step 2 : Cut notches for the pedal system.
Caption Step 3 : Screw the two legs together, then drill five holes equal distance apart.
Caption Step 4 : Unscrew the boards, and begin assembly.
Caption Step 5 : Screw the plywood top to the middle board for the leg.
Caption Step 6 : Attach the 45-degrees support pieces to the top, along with the runner.
Caption Step 7 : Screw the leg boards to the runner, leaving a gap for the middle board.
Caption Step 8 : Attach the 45-degree support pieces to the bottom runner.
Caption Step 9 : Glue small tabs on the bottom of each of the 4 corners of the base.
Caption Step 10 : Screw all of the pieces together, only screw the top to the middle board on the leg.
Caption Step 11 : Add nuts and bolts to the legs to hold the top down at the desired height
Bike Instructions
Caption Step 1 : Map out the bike to figure out where you will cut, try to leave the frame as intact as possible.
Caption Step 2 : Cut supports boards for the base. One board should be two inches longer than the inner distance between legs, this will sit in the notch on the runners.
Caption Step 3 : Attach supports to the base using either screws or brackets.


Maintenance is not the most important thing in order to keep the pedal desk looking pleasant and functioning properly. Very little regular maintenance should be required for the desk due to the mount of use.


Maintenance on the bike pedal desk does not follow an exact schedule. If so, a daily task would simply be to wipe the desk top off at the end of the day when normal maintenance crew cleans the classroom. However, if something where to come apart the easiest fix would be to insert a new screw in the same location or near the same screw. As for the pedal the only maintenance it will need is when it starts to make any squeaking noises. The best way to resolve this problem is to apply WD-40 in the grease hole near the pedals.

  • Wipe down the desk top to disinfect any bacteria and to take off any marks that previous students made.
Long Term
  • Check the pedals to see if it needs oil, if so apply the oil in-between the pedals in the oil hole that’s included.


The following table is a guide that details some common problems found with pedal desk users and solutions to each problem.

Problem Solution
Desk gets marked up Wipe/scrub surface
Pedal begins to make high pitched noises Apply WD-40 to squeaking area
Whiteboard starts to come off Add super glue

Discussion and next steps[edit]

Team EWM worked collectively to accomplish the construction of the bike pedal desk system. Through the process our team members have gained skills working as a group, communicating with a client, time management, being accommodating, and stepping outside of our comfort zones.

Suggestions for future changes[edit]

  • Instead of using wood, use metal pipe and weld it to the bike frame for a stronger joint.
  • Manufactured pedal systems cans be found inexpensively on the internet.
  • Try to make the best cuts when cutting the bike frame.


Pedaldesk poster 1.jpg


This is a video made by Education with Movement to show how to build a pedal desk.