Author Topic: Creating an Ergonomic Workstation  (Read 9101 times)

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Offline eternalmetal

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Creating an Ergonomic Workstation
« on: Tue, 22 March 2016, 18:15:53 »
For a long time ive used an old dining room table as my computer desk, and quite frankly it is an ergonomic nightmare.  I would have to ruin/modify the table if I wanted a keyboard/mouse tray, and instead of ruining an already good table, ive decided to give it away to someone who wants it and get a new desk.

About a month ago I went furniture shopping with a friend, and for the heck of it I decided to look at computer desks.  Every single one of them was made at the same height with a computer tray that was too small.  When I sat at the desk with my feet flat on the floor, my legs were touching the keyboard tray, so in other words all of these desks were too low.  I have been led to believe that there is a standard in computer desk sizes, and instead of shopping and spending lots of money on a desk that doesnt suite my needs, I would rather just build my own.  I also have some exact width dimensions that I want the desk to be, which would make it troublesome to shop for just the right desk.

Getting the preface of my post out of the way, I have a couple of questions that I would like to clear up before I design a desk.
  • Does anyone know of any good resources with preferably the newest research on what the ideal posture should be?  After a bit of searching, I found a few different conflicting results.  For example, http://www.fultonmassagetherapy.com/?p=539k has a diagram that shows a bit of angle at the knee, whereas the majority of other results show a 90 degree knee bend with the feet flat on the floor.  Also most of these show that ergonomically your eyes should be level with the top of the monitor looking down, and I clearly remember someone posting something recently about this not really being the current standard in ergonomics anymore (if anyone has the link, I would love to have it)
  • My next question comes down to keyboard trays.  Most that I have seen attached to desks are rather flimsy and move when typing on them.  I do not want a flimsy tray.  Ideally it would be height adjustable and able to be locked.  Also wide enough to support full size keyboards and a large mousepad, which is why a DIY kit would be preferable to a bolt on one.

I think that's about it.  Some tips from people who have designed and built their own desks are also appreciated. 
« Last Edit: Tue, 22 March 2016, 18:29:50 by eternalmetal »

Offline kurplop

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Re: Creating an Ergonomic Workstation
« Reply #1 on: Tue, 22 March 2016, 20:41:09 »
Check Computer Display Ergonomics thread in the ergonomics section for monitor discussion. As far as the eye level being at the top of the screen is concerned, I think that was in the days of 15" screens. If I had the top of my 40" monitor at eye level, I'd have to cut a hole in my desktop for the bottom half of the screen.

You can get good and sturdy hardware for a tray for about $65. The ones I use have all of the adjustments, are rock solid and are easy to attach to a desk. It may be best to make the tray yourself to your own specs. That's what I did.  http://flic.kr/s/aHsjFazJhh   

Offline eternalmetal

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Re: Creating an Ergonomic Workstation
« Reply #2 on: Tue, 22 March 2016, 21:03:51 »
Check Computer Display Ergonomics thread in the ergonomics section for monitor discussion. As far as the eye level being at the top of the screen is concerned, I think that was in the days of 15" screens. If I had the top of my 40" monitor at eye level, I'd have to cut a hole in my desktop for the bottom half of the screen.

Ah, maybe it was in that thread where I was reading that.  Im not very concerned about monitor height since both of my monitors (Dell 2412M and NEC PA272W) have really nice adjustable stands, but I was more concerned about the associated ergonomics research.  I dont want to build something based on standards that were developed in the 90s, including desk chair posture.

You can get good and sturdy hardware for a tray for about $65. The ones I use have all of the adjustments, are rock solid and are easy to attach to a desk. It may be best to make the tray yourself to your own specs. That's what I did.  http://flic.kr/s/aHsjFazJhh

Interesting pics of your ergodox, but I dont really see any pics on the tray.  Do you per chance have a link to the hardware that you used?


Offline MajorMajor

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Re: Creating an Ergonomic Workstation
« Reply #4 on: Thu, 05 May 2016, 00:20:47 »
I bought myself an adjustable standing desk, and it's been the best purchase I've ever made for my office.

The base cost around $350 on sale from Overstock, the desk top I bought from Ikea, I think it was around $100 or less. Had to trim about a foot off with a saw, coated it with some poly, and from there it was good to go.

The desk has 4 memory slots where I save my presets for standing, sitting (rarely do much anymore), or using a tiny elliptical stepper if I got the jitters and feel like moving.

I think the scientific consensus is, standing beats sitting.
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Offline zisb

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Re: Creating an Ergonomic Workstation
« Reply #5 on: Sat, 13 August 2016, 22:54:18 »
Standing desks seem to be the latest craze (For a lack of better words) for ergonomics. I would maybe go along the lines of that... just depends how comfortable you are with standing.

Offline tp4tissue

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Re: Creating an Ergonomic Workstation
« Reply #6 on: Tue, 16 August 2016, 11:10:22 »
have 2 computer stations next to each other..

one standing , one sitting..

That way, switching is instant..

I found adjustable desk to be a pain, because it's like a commitment each time to stand or sit..


Whereas having 2 stations, i just move 2 steps and sit or get up.. right away, 

it's faster and less fidgeting.

Offline Camineet

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Re: Creating an Ergonomic Workstation
« Reply #7 on: Tue, 16 August 2016, 11:55:41 »
i also like the multiple work stations thing and have done it before.  the committment problem with adjustables is a good insight.

i do mornings on the ball followed by afternoons and evenigns crashed out in the zero grav chair.

mid back, hip flexors, and core never been healthier from the ball.  nearly all problems i experienced for years and years from sitting in ANY chair other than the zero grav one from amazon are not exascerbated

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Offline tp4tissue

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Re: Creating an Ergonomic Workstation
« Reply #8 on: Tue, 16 August 2016, 20:20:59 »
i also like the multiple work stations thing and have done it before.  the committment problem with adjustables is a good insight.

i do mornings on the ball followed by afternoons and evenigns crashed out in the zero grav chair.

mid back, hip flexors, and core never been healthier from the ball.  nearly all problems i experienced for years and years from sitting in ANY chair other than the zero grav one from amazon are not exascerbated

(Attachment Link)

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I did the gravity chair thing for a while too..


But eventually I realized that if the head is in recline, then it increases cranial blood pressure..

So if you get excited while in that position,  you can get a mild headache..

probably also increases the likelihood of stroke for old / older people..



The reason we can Sleep in a flat position is because our blood pressure automatically lowers to compensate..


For example if you try to cell phone in bed or read fully horizontal, over a while you get a headache..

All to do with cranial blood pressure.

Offline Camineet

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Re: Creating an Ergonomic Workstation
« Reply #9 on: Thu, 18 August 2016, 16:35:36 »
sorry to hear zero grav didn't work out for you.  something you did might be different from my setup.

i'm just creating a diy version of this

http://www.ergoquest.com/

no headaches here

after a few decades of revisiting this matter several times and iteratively trying new things, i've found a great solution for my needs.  if anyone finds something better, i'll definitely try it  :)
« Last Edit: Thu, 18 August 2016, 16:37:17 by Camineet »

Offline tp4tissue

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Re: Creating an Ergonomic Workstation
« Reply #10 on: Sun, 21 August 2016, 17:15:18 »
sorry to hear zero grav didn't work out for you.  something you did might be different from my setup.

i'm just creating a diy version of this

http://www.ergoquest.com/

no headaches here

after a few decades of revisiting this matter several times and iteratively trying new things, i've found a great solution for my needs.  if anyone finds something better, i'll definitely try it  :)


That is exactly what I DIYED myself as well. 

It's ok for maybe 30 minutes to an hour.. But the head pressure issue is real. and not a good idea to stay in that position for long.

Offline ideus

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Re: Creating an Ergonomic Workstation
« Reply #11 on: Sun, 21 August 2016, 17:22:29 »
The Zero gravity chair is an interesting option.

Offline tp4tissue

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Re: Creating an Ergonomic Workstation
« Reply #12 on: Sun, 21 August 2016, 17:26:20 »
The Zero gravity chair is an interesting option.

Tried it, Cranial pressure problem..

When you support your neck, you apply pressure in the ventral direction against the neck..

This pressure can be felt over extended use.. leading to headache/ blurry vision

Offline digi

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Re: Creating an Ergonomic Workstation
« Reply #13 on: Sun, 21 August 2016, 17:28:20 »
The Zero gravity chair is an interesting option.

Tried it, Cranial pressure problem..

When you support your neck, you apply pressure in the ventral direction against the neck..

This pressure can be felt over extended use.. leading to headache/ blurry vision

LOLL!!!!!!!!!!!!!

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Offline tp4tissue

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Re: Creating an Ergonomic Workstation
« Reply #14 on: Sun, 21 August 2016, 17:31:14 »
The Zero gravity chair is an interesting option.

Tried it, Cranial pressure problem..

When you support your neck, you apply pressure in the ventral direction against the neck..

This pressure can be felt over extended use.. leading to headache/ blurry vision

LOLL!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Tp4 = Public Defender & Resident Expert GH Medical Advisor!!! Do you accept bitcoin?


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Offline digi

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Re: Creating an Ergonomic Workstation
« Reply #15 on: Sun, 21 August 2016, 17:35:48 »
The Zero gravity chair is an interesting option.

Tried it, Cranial pressure problem..

When you support your neck, you apply pressure in the ventral direction against the neck..

This pressure can be felt over extended use.. leading to headache/ blurry vision

LOLL!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Tp4 = Public Defender & Resident Expert GH Medical Advisor!!! Do you accept bitcoin?


Anyone can be paid off,   I'd be lyin if I said a million dollars wouldn't change my mind..  But rest assure, I would weight the con against the Pro I could do with the Payoff I receive...

That is my promise as a Rational Human Being..



 :)) :)) :)) Now we just need an in-house prosecutor and I could pretty much get through life with all these GH consulting services..
« Last Edit: Sun, 21 August 2016, 17:39:13 by digi »

Offline Camineet

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Re: Creating an Ergonomic Workstation
« Reply #16 on: Mon, 22 August 2016, 11:31:17 »
The Zero gravity chair is an interesting option.

Tried it, Cranial pressure problem..

When you support your neck, you apply pressure in the ventral direction against the neck..

This pressure can be felt over extended use.. leading to headache/ blurry vision

Sorry, can't let your findings stand as a notice of complete and authoritative knowledge on the topic. I understand you may have experienced these cranial pressure issues, but I can personally attest to the fact that they do not affect everyone.

I also fancy myself an ergonomics expert. As I mentioned, I thoroughly invested in this matter for my own needs and have found no major issue with cranial pressure.

Additionally, there is a product called prism glasses for the elderly which allow them to lay completely flat out in corpse pose otherwise known as shivasana in yoga. Using these glasses, injured or elderly persons may read or watch television. I also used these glasses extensively and found that while in the first day or two there is some mild dizziness due to cranial pressure issues, they subside completely thereafter, at least for me.  If such cranial issues were so dangerous as to cause a stroke hazard, the product wouldn't be on the market for the last 20yrs.

Your findings serve as a good notice of possible side effects, but I don't feel it's legit to authoritatively state that something some of us have found to be viable and extremely helpful to our daily routines is dangerous. It may be for some, but not for all of us  ;)

Full disclosure, I have a vested interest in my name as an ergonomics expert, having built what I have found in my investigation, building, and diligent testing to be the best game controllers available for middle-aged folks. Game controllers that allow us older guys to continue gaming without gradually creating RSI or other problems.

Although nobody really pays attention to my game controller work other than a few friends on this forum whose attention and friendship I greatly value, I'd be lying if I said that I don't someday kinda hope to make a company called Zero Impact Gaming. It is for these reasons that I don't adore having a solution I've developed over the course of 10 years be stated to be dangerous and nonviable. I'm sure you can understand that :D

Offline tp4tissue

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Re: Creating an Ergonomic Workstation
« Reply #17 on: Mon, 22 August 2016, 11:47:40 »
The primary problem with remaining flat  is that the spine is most generally not in neutral alignment.

This alignment is achieved naturally when standing because the body's muscle system is built to do that.

However, when those muscles deactivate when one goes horizontal,  you'd rely on the Curvature of the surface you're on top of to provide alignment.


I've found that it has not been possible with a gravity chair, because there's not a whole lot of customization possible to properly align the spine.

And when the alignment is off from the neck up, that is where the cranial pressure problems occur.


I also tried completely flat and hanging my monitor on the ceiling ..   This too did not work out, because  10 hours of bed + another 10 hours in bed gave me terrible back pain ontop of headaches..


So, from that I know that my bed is also not perfectly aligned and that I am only able to use it limited to the number of hours I sleep.




If all of these alignment issues could be solved, I'm sure a complete recline ergonomic station is possible,  however, as is, it's simply not practical, because the cost of such a setup greatly exceeds a Standing station which offers natural perfect alignment, limited only by fitness efficiency and the weight of the subject.

Offline Camineet

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Re: Creating an Ergonomic Workstation
« Reply #18 on: Mon, 22 August 2016, 11:52:37 »
Some good points. I'll have to keep an eye out for the problems you described. Thanks for letting us know.

I stuck a throw pillow in the lumbar of my zero grav chair. And it already comes with a neck pillow that slides up and down. But perhaps I am in fact causing some gradual postural problems that could lead to the cranial pressure issues you've experienced. I'll keep a lookout and continue vigilance.

I for one would really like to be an old guy who is pain-free. It's been kind of a major hobby of mine these past few years.