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Thread: Height adjustable desk that can recess a machine - it's true!

  1. #1
    Super Member ArchaicArcane's Avatar
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    Height adjustable desk that can recess a machine - it's true!

    I was going to post this in the vintage machines forum, because that's where I spend the most of my time on the QB, but I hope that posting here can help more people out.

    A few weeks ago, I started planning out a desk that could accommodate any machine I have. It had to be able to recess a machine so the bed was flat with the table top. The biggest stumbling block I ran into was the height differences of all of the machines. A couple of days ago, I read a thread where someone mentioned they'd love this sort of thing, but had too many machines, it wasn't possible. So I "hurried" to get it all finished up so I could post this.

    The best part is, I did this on a budget almost anyone can afford (and if you can buy 2m of fabric, you can afford this! ) And this will save your neck, back, shoulders and wrists a lot of grief, so you can quilt longer. Yay!!

    As of tonight, I have only finishing touches to do on it: Some extra customization to the inserts, and shortening the "height adjusters" so I don't bang my knees on them.

    The victim,.. uhm,... I mean the "desk" is a government surplus buy: $10
    Modifications: $20
    Lexan for inserts: Sweat equity - a friend who does signs had scraps left, I helped out with some signage. Off-cuts should be cheap at a sign shop, or a glass shop.

    Total $$ investment: $30.

    With the 201 in it, and an insert
    Attachment 401626

    As a light table:
    Attachment 401627

    A view from the front:
    Attachment 401628

    A view of the "height adjustment" mechanism:
    Attachment 401629

    Height adjustment is accomplished via the following hardware:
    • 4 pentagon Knobs - or any knob you can get a good grip on to turn
    • 4 propell nuts - these are "sunk" into the lower platform that you see in the photo above
    • threaded rod
    • 4 nuts to fit the threaded rod - tighten these against the knobs so that they don't turn, and instead turn the rod up or down.
    • 4 wing nuts (not shown) - tighten these against the propell nuts to lower vibration
    • 4 cabinet nuts - use these as "platforms" for the moving shelf to sit on, install them on the top of the threaded rod.


    And most importantly, final approval from the quilt inspectors:

    Attachment 401630

    At least I think that's approval...

    Attachment 401631
    Attached Images Attached Images






  2. #2
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    Thank you for sharing this! What a great idea---and what a beautiful cat!

  3. #3
    Super Member kathymarie's Avatar
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    What a great and innovative idea. Thank you for sharing...do you have any idea how much money you've saved us? Of course you do....silly me....it really was nice to share pictures and details....Beautiful cat....love that little face and turned down whiskers. (I have 9 of my own---only one in the house who recently passed away and 8 outside -all neutered and spayed)....
    Kathy

    A mind is like a parachute...it works best when open....

  4. #4
    Super Member ArchaicArcane's Avatar
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    Weird. I saw two other responses in my email...

    The inspectors were onsite for the whole build, with the exception of the work that happened in the garage. For that, the dog was delegated. She was lazy though, she slept on her bed and ignored us. I can't count the number of times I had to pick a kitty up, put her on the floor, turn around and find another one on the desk.

    Stormi - the long hair with the really long whiskers - is 16.5 yrs old, she's a little more laid back. She's our queen, we do everything she says. Luckily, if it's soft, she approves. I put a bunch of rolled up fleece on my desk for her the day before last while I worked on a machine. She laid beside me the whole time. She's got some sort of weight complex though, because she's all fur, she's a tiny slip of a thing (just shy of 7lbs) and she has those enormous whiskers. Shadow is our ambassador. She wants to be in the middle of everything. She's 14.5 yrs. She walks around and yabbers at me. She'll also lay on my fabric behind the harp and yap at me through it. Sorry to hear you lost a fur baby. I lost one about 6 years ago. The hurt has finally faded, and I mostly just smile when I think of her now. She nursed these two, even though she'd never had kittens of her own.

    The whole goal of this build was to save as much cash as possible. If I can have sturdy and cheap, I'm all over it. I have way better things to spend that extra cash on. I was really surprised when it came in under $100 though.

  5. #5
    Super Member Marysewfun's Avatar
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    I think "the boss" was definitely giving her approval! Great idea - you've got me thinking now! Thank you for the detailed ideas.

    Marysewfun
    Marysewfun
    Have a great day!

  6. #6
    Super Member Teacup's Avatar
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    Great photos of your project! And thanks for detailing the hardware. Thanks so much for sharing!
    Remember the teakettle...it is always up to its neck in hot water, yet it still sings!

    A Proper Tea is much nicer than a Very Nearly Tea, which is one you forget about afterwards. ~ Winnie the Pooh (A.A. Milne)

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    Great ideas! I looked at your set up but I would have a hard time getting close enough to the machine - especially the pedal - because I have long legs and there is the shelf there (with the machines). Love the way that you insert that goes around the machines on top! It gives you a great area for quilting the large quilts. Nice details.
    Sylvia
    Central Maryland

  8. #8
    Super Member Rose_P's Avatar
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    This is sheer, elegant genius! Thanks for sharing it!

    The kitties are eye candy, too.
    "Those who can make you believe absurdities can make you commit atrocities." - Voltaire

  9. #9
    Super Member ArchaicArcane's Avatar
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    The "Boss" wouldn't get out of that hole! I took her out 3 times, and she kept going back. She was a little creeped out though, when we lifted that whole top panel over her head. I don't know why....

    Quote Originally Posted by MothrNatr View Post
    Great ideas! I looked at your set up but I would have a hard time getting close enough to the machine - especially the pedal - because I have long legs and there is the shelf there (with the machines). Love the way that you insert that goes around the machines on top! It gives you a great area for quilting the large quilts. Nice details.
    If you found a desk that had the shelf, I'd just remove it. This one is "knock down" furniture, it's held together with 16 fasteners,... other than the 20 per side fasteners holding the wheel plates on. Seems a little bit of overkill, but I guess I'm not an engineer. Those inserts were designed exactly with that in mind. I saw how far over the quilt migrated, and wanted to cover what I could, while still having the ability to cut the Lexan, as a newbie.

    I am so glad to see that this will help people out. I've always thought that a lot of the desks were just too expensive. I'd rather spend the $$ on fabric or (yet another vintage ?) machine or something.

  10. #10
    Super Member ArchaicArcane's Avatar
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    I had a couple of questions asked in PMs the other day, and am posting them here with permission.

    when you have your machine in it... does your machine 'vibrate' backwards? I see you have a gap at the back/right side of it and am wondering if you have something you insert in there or if you just leave that spot open. (to the right of your wheel)
    I haven't had it move backwards. I don't notice any vibration, but I did notice that the shelf liner does get a little messed up, so I picked up some cork board (with adhesive on the back) today for a couple of bucks and will replace it. It will also dampen any vibration more than the shelf liner. I just leave the spot open. This is pretty similar to the SewEzi table, and a few of the other tables I've seen in Googling around. I like it because I can easily plug things in without pinching cables. I dislike being able to "Store" my scissors down there by accident, but no table setup is perfect. The gap is quite small with a 301 in place for instance. Maybe tomorrow or the next day, if I get a chance, I will post a few other pics of the various machines in place. I couldn't think of a good way to make inserts for the right side for every machine without going a little crazy trying to keep straight what went with what. Hmm,.. maybe a "draft dodger" would work...

    (Pics to come tomorrow. I'm beat tonight. )

    also did you make different top 'inserts' to fit each of your machines or do you just have the one? (the white piece that is surrounding the machine) My machines are all different so I think I would have to make different ones for each one.
    Yes, there are 3 inserts currently. One for the flatbeds that were all within 1" of each other depth wise, and one for the Pfaff as an open arm, and one for the 222 as an open arm. I suppose I should have posted photos of those. (I think I was fading by the time I finished that post.) This was most of the purpose of this desk. I wanted it "universal".

  11. #11
    Super Member ArchaicArcane's Avatar
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    Ok, a little late, but as promised, here are some photos of the other inserts in use:
    Pfaff 6122, as an Open Arm
    Name:  IMG_5341.jpg
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    Pfaff as Flat bed:
    Name:  IMG_5344.jpg
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Size:  69.5 KB

    FW 222 as Flat bed:
    Name:  IMG_5342.jpg
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Size:  80.0 KB

    FW 222 as Open Arm:
    Name:  IMG_5343.jpg
Views: 405
Size:  74.3 KB

  12. #12
    Super Member SewExtremeSeams's Avatar
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    Wow, terrific!

    Linda

    Amazing Grace, how sweet the sound, that saved a wretch like me. I once was lost but now am found, was blind, but now I see.
    [John Newton (1725-1807)]

    http://sewextremeseams.blogspot.com/

  13. #13
    Super Member RkayD's Avatar
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    This is just the best idea ever. I love the idea of changing inserts to accommodate each machine. Any table that you are willing to cut can be used. My hub is gonna love this. =) Thank you for sharing.

    How do you cut the inserts to fit each machine? Thats the one thing that my brain can't figure out.
    A bed without a Quilt is like a Sky without Stars..Sew On!

  14. #14
    Super Member ArchaicArcane's Avatar
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    Thanks!! I have been using the desk for a couple of months now, and I think there's only one modification coming, and that's a better method of cable management. Currently, I string the cables up under the shelf and onto the machine platform. The other day, I left a cord sitting on the platform, and cranked the platform up, and pinched the cord. I will try to come up with another method. I may use those long narrow inserts for it.

    The cutting itself is using drill bits (for the corners) and either a table saw, router, or jigsaw, depending on what you find you're most accurate with. (or what you have available) Then smooth with either a belt sander, sanding block, or some people use a propane torch (seriously!)

    As for marking them, I put the cut template (cut to the outside dimensions) under the machine, then traced it with a dry erase marker. That's your cutting guide. I usually cut smaller and snuck up on the size. It takes longer, but typically it takes less time than having to re-cut because you cut too big.

    I think there's a good chance too that a glass shop may cut them better than I did, especially in the corners.

  15. #15
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    Awesome!!!!

  16. #16
    Super Member RkayD's Avatar
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    How about bolting a power strip underneath?
    A bed without a Quilt is like a Sky without Stars..Sew On!

  17. #17
    Super Member ArchaicArcane's Avatar
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    I already have that.

    The problem comes in that the cord for the machine needs to be on top of the platform, and above the level of the desk for most of the machines. So the way to bring power from the bottom, where the power strip is, to the top, means it has to be strung up and over the platform the machines live on. Because the platform is wider than the opening, I leave a cord pinch hazard. That's what I'm trying to work out. The other thing I could do is notch the platform with a slot big enough to accommodate the cords, and then not have to worry about pinching them.

    Actually, I like that better, because it's cleaner. I like having the cords hidden, and not on the desk when sewing.

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