Pbur's Adventures

The life and times of Patrick Burleson

Treadmill Desk

Posted on by Patrick

Back in December my friend Jeff LaMarche posted that he had built a treadmill desk and then a little later wrote up the plans for the one he built. I also work with Jeff on projects for MartianCraft, so I was able to see that switching to a treadmill desk had no impact on his productivity. He’s also lost quite a bit of weight already, which as been very inspiring. So inspiring that I took his plans and built my own version a couple of weeks ago:

Treadmill Desk

I’ve been using it all this week for all my computer working time and I’m on it right now writing this. I’m walking at a 1.5 MPH pace right now and I expect to try and get that up to 2.0 MPH over the next couple of months. I’m taking it slow and steady so as to not overdo it, and that seems to be paying off. I find that my concentration and focus level is higher and my mind isn’t getting distracted as much. The only real challenge has been drinking coffee and walking at the same time. Marching band experience to the rescue there!

One of the great things about having a treadmill desk is it means that I’m never missing my chance to burn calories. Previously, like Jeff, I’d have some client deadline that that would make time spent at the gym feel like I was putting myself further behind since I wasn’t getting anything done while I worked out. Now, I get my calorie burning and client work in at the same time. Win-win!

Jeff’s plans are good and are easy to follow, although I made a few changes and have a few tips:

  1. I ended up needing a couple of pipe wrenches getting my pipes unscrewed when I messed up a little and then I used them again to tighten things together before attaching to the wood.

  2. My short cross pieces of pipe are about 17″ instead of 20″ so that the tops of the supports more easily fit to the edge of the wood.

  3. I’m 5′ 11″, so I went with 22″ pipe lengths for the legs instead of 23″.

  4. I put the center of the guy wire holes 1.5″ in from side and back. These measurements aren’t marked on Jeff’s diagram, so I guessed and this seems to work well.

  5. A swaging tool, used properly, makes crimping the wire very easy. Both Lowe’s and the Home Depot have them on the isle with the wire rope. It’s going to run you about $20-$30. Linking them here as I had a hard time finding them in the stores.

  6. Jeff’s Lowe’s must be awesome to carry the 1 1/4″ thick boards for this project, but mine didn’t, so I went with 1″ thick. No problems holding all my computing stuff. You’ll find them on the moulding and furniture building isle. They are NOT in lumber (they’ll just stare at you blankly if you ask).

  7. The treadmill comes almost fully assembled, but be careful taking it out of the box. The console comes attached and can drop and yank out the wires when you lift it out. I had to send my first one back because this happened to me.

  8. Be prepared to spend some time on this project, it’s not easy or quick. And I’d get the wood work done and painted to dry while you wait for the treadmill to be shipped. You really want to give the paint a couple of days to dry.

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