A counterweight powered standing desk has been on my mind for quite a while. Standing desks have a lot of advantages, but some tasks benefit from sitting (or when you are particularly tired) and having two desks is inefficient. A desk of variable height seems like an ideal solution. Many commercial options rely on screw type linear actuators which require electricity in addition to being slow and noisy.
Counterweights, on the other hand, require no electricity, have a reliability standard equal to that of gravity (high) and can be easily adjusted by changing the lever length. In that vein I’ve drawn up some “concept art” for my standing desk project. It raises 16″ (40 cm), from 30″ to 46″ (76 cm to 117 cm), which is a comfortable height for me. (Note that I am rather tall at 6′ 4″ (193 cm))
I’m planning to use hickory for the legs due it’s toughness, the bottom back joint needs to be strong. A 200 lb person leaning on the edge 30″ from the joint will produce 500 ft-lbs (680 N-m) of torque at the joint. While their are two legs I think it’s best to assume one carry the entire load as a load might be applied only on one corner. Add in things on the desk and a safety factor and you see why it needs to be a robust joint!