Work at your own comfort with this Ergonomic folding lap desk. Sit comfortably on your couch or bed or even on the floor. When not in use, you can just fold and store away.
- 2’x4′ plywood – 3/4″
- Hinges with lock – 4 nos
Tools I used:
- Circular saw
- Power drill
- Trim router
- 1/2″ dado bit
- 3/4″ spade drill bit
- Pencil, scale and square
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The shape is designed in such a way that you can rest your elbows and work for a long time without any discomfort. It is very comfortable for kids doing homework or work on laptop or have a nice meal while on your bed. One cool feature is there is a slot on the table top to hold your phone or tablet. You can have your breakfast on your bed and also watch your favourite videos!
DIY Ergonomic Folding Lap Desk
Step-1: Mark the shape
First lets mark the shape on 3/4″ thick plywood. You could do a 1’6″x 1’9″ rectangle for the top. But I wanted the top to be ergonomic. So, drafted the shape in autocad and transferred it on the plywood. The easy and quick way is to take a print out of the shape in actual scale and paste over the plywood. But if you do not have a printer at home, then use this manual marking. i.e grid marking method. This is a good old way of marking and transferring curves and any odd shapes to any surface you want.
Click here to download this plan where I have the grid marking plan ready to use. With the drawing reference, you can mark the shape on plywood. Start by drawing 25mm x25mm grids. I prefer using metric system as it is more precise for intrinsic details such as this. Hence you will find the plan in millimeters. Just follow the drawing and mark each point with reference to the given grid numbers. Once you complete the point marking, connect the points to get the shape.
The design of vertical legs are pretty straightforward. So, no need to do the grids. You can directly mark them using the given dimensions in the plan. To draw the curves, use any circular lid in approximate size like shown in the below picture.
Top: Clamp down the plywood. Use a jigsaw and cut the shape slowly. When you reach the small curves, it will get very tight for the jigsaw to pass. For such areas, you have to cut & clear some wood outside the marked line and then proceed along the line. Or drill a small hole along such curves and pass the jigsaw through it.
Legs: This has couple of straight line cuts. So, I used my circular saw to cut all the straight lines first. To make the arc cuts, first drill a hole using spade bit. This will make it easy for the jigsaw to pass.
Step-3: Putty and Sand
If you have any imperfections while cutting the shape, this is the time to correct. First even out the edges using 80 grit sand paper. If you have taken out more material from the shape while cutting, then use wood putty and cover the undulations. Wait until its fully dry and then sand over it.
Next, make a 1/4″ deep & 10″ long groove using 1/2″ dado bit and router. Mark the line at perfect center and 2″ from the top edge. Then clamp the piece and use a trim router or plunge router to make the recess.
Sand all the pieces with 100 & 220 grit sand paper. Clean with tack cloth and then paint or stain in any way you like. I did one coat of primer and two coats of white paint.
Step-6: Install folding mechanism
What din’t work: I installed normal folding hinges and added round neodymium magnets – 3nos under the legs where it gets into contact with the top. Holding the legs in position is very important as this is what makes the desk stable enough to use. Otherwise the legs are flappy and often tends to close even with little drag or lift. I thought the magnets will hold the legs in position, but it was not effective at all. The 8mm magnets were right size but they were not too powerful to hold them in place. So, I started to search for other options.
I found this hinge with lock on amazon. I was skeptical as it seemed bulky for this small lap desk. Its not ideal but gave it a try. Painted it in light pink and installed on the desk. Its functionally perfect. Only minus is that when you fold the legs, you will find 1.5inch gap because of the hinge. Otherwise it works great.
The recessed slot can hold a tab or phone in landscape and portrait. Have your breakfast on bed while watching your favorite videos.
See if you are interested in other similar projects.