My 12-DoF sit/stand setup, $31/DoF

I’m a believer in making one’s work environment adjustable… being in any fixed position does’t usually serve the body well.

With this setup, I can adjust height, distance from body, separation, and orientation – all independently, with 12 degrees of freedom (DoF):

  • tray:(in/out + up/down + pitch) (3)
  • L keyboard/R keyboard separation(1)
  • keyboard halves:( oll,pich,yaw) (6)
  • mousepad: (pitch, L/R) (2)

Its major components are Camvate camera rails, two annoyingly expensive mini ball heads and a fairly slick keyboard drawer by 3M.

All parts are on this Amazon list.

I’d like to change out the bottom mounts for a rosette style mount which provides more positive locking than the friction screw on the ball head, not to mention incorporating the anti-rotation pin into the setup, since there is some tendency for the mount to rotate, possibly with a quick release plate to make taking the keyboard elsewhere viable.

On order: a 2"x2" center mount touchpad to avoid having to go to the mouse so often…

Cost: keyboard drawer $150 + 2* $60 ball heads + $100 for the rails and clamps = $370.

Add another $100 for the touchpad setup for a $470 total. (not pictured)
But this also adds an additional 6 DoF, bringing the $$$ / DoF down by over 10% to $27 per degree of freedom.

Submitted for your amusement… happy to answer any questions… :slight_smile:



That setup is AWESOME! Was looking into the slide rail system.Can you update list? It appeared empty for me.

Strange. Here’s the link… it works for me even when not signed into Amazon…

LMK if that doesn’t work for anyone else…

the primary source of play (lack of rigidity) is actually the plastic back of the keyboard itself. ill likely cut a 1/8thx4"x4" steel plate and add it to the mix… anyone have more clever solutions? Im primarily concerned with not adding thickness…

Nice! I’ve been thinking of building something like this. However, I was thinking about 3D printing instead, but I wasn’t sure if the parts would be stable enough. Makes sense to spend the money on the ball joint for sure, since that’s where the stress is gonna be at.

I looked at the parts list above on Amazon but it doesn’t say how many of each thing is required or how to assemble it, can you elaborate a bit?

Thanks for building this!

I will tomorrow. Ive replaced the ball joint with a z bracket, which is much more stable. Ive also switched to a different keyboard arm, I’ll have to look up the brand… It is more rigid and had better knee clearance. I used the old arm with a wrist rest from kickstarter/indigo to make fully independent wrist rest for the trackpad. This isn’t cheap to build. Maybe 5500, without the independent trackpad arm I’m waiting for about $50 more parts to move the rails under the mount to make it about 1-2" thinner still.

Attached are a couple pics of the newest revision .

It’s been a great setup and I recommend it. Besides and drill and screwdriver to mount the rails for the tray arm, you don’t need any tools, though a pair of pliers and some decent allen let wrenches help a bit.

Ergo works had the best price on the tray: 1x Workrite S2S Ultrathin System - 22" Track for $375.00 each

Z bracket :

Andoer Aluminum Alloy Z Flex Tilt Head Folding Quick Release Plate Camera Ball Head Stand Holder Max. Load 3.5kg for Canon Nikon Sony DSLR Tripod Slider Rail Stabilizer, $37 each.

Questions? Just ask.

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assembly instructions

trackpad assembly
1 tiny trackpad* -> cheese plate* w/velcro -> magic arm* -> single rod block*

2 keyboard assemblys:
keyboard half -> z bracket** -> fixed rod block**

upper assembly:
1 rotatable rod blocks* bolt to kbd arm* w/ wingnut/washer -> 1st short rod*-> trackpad asmbly and 2nd short rod*
repeat above w/ 2nd rotatable rod block*

2 offset blocks*, top holes -> either side of short rods of upper assemmbly
2 long rods* -> offset blocks, bottom holes
2 kbd assemblies -> either side long rods
8 rod caps*-> rod ends

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Wow! Thanks for posting all this!

Regarding the Z-Bracket, you said it was much more stable than the ball joint, but don’t you then lose that DoF (forward and backward) for adjustment? Am I missing something?

Yeah, I swapped in a rod bracket that has a tilt-able (roll) bracket, shown below. Documented poorly above if at all.

Given that you can rotate (yaw) the zbracket you could very closely approximate any position achievable with pitch and roll separately. and still be able to yaw the keyboard relative to the z bracket.

The challenge is this setup is NOT quickly adjustable. you have to loosen a bunch of stuff, and then tighten, awkwardly, one after another, and then try to match on the other side, you can’t just loosen everything and then WHAM, it’s all in place. And matching the two sides is surprisingly hard.

I’ve been thinking, and since the keyboard support has a pitch knob, you could just use the Z bracket for roll, use keyboard relative to z bracket for yaw, (plus the rods for left-right separation, and the keyboard arm for front back up-down. You might not have enough pitch, and you may have some issues trying to get a lot of roll and narrow separations or highly yaw’d inward positions, but that would relieve you of trying to find the tilt-able roll rod bracket I mentioned above, which I didn’t see last time I looked on amazon.

For the reason above (difficult to adjust quickly), combined with a need for a portable setup and a thinner setup, I’m trying a slightly different approach : two leveling tripod heads. They reduce the space between the low point of the keyboards and the low point of the supporting structure from about 3.5 to 1.5cm, which lets me put the keyboard closer to my lap, helpful given my gangly arms. I haven’t compared them perfectly head to head, so that measurement is approximate.

However they are VERY adjustable - quick, accurate, repeatable, rigid.

But they are pricey AF. I got ones with separate pan and level adjustments (sunwayfoto, $140 each), but now that I have it, Ive learned the the separate pan is for photographic convenience, and the leveling base is roll pitch and an independent yaw. This means a cheaper and thinner model ($80iirc each) might just work. The ease of adjustment is GREATLY improved, as is the rigidity, but they do have limited roll, and I may add a wedge to put them at a neutral 15dceg roll, which would then allow a 0-30 roll instead of a -15 - +15 roll.

For everything but price, this I think is a great choice.


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Honestly, this is the endgame. I agree that a wedge to do 0 to -30) would be preferable to -15 to 15, but I’d defer to you for how to do it.

I found the cheaper one you’re talking about ( SunwayFoto DYH-66i) so I will definitely go that route.

What kind of baseplate do I plug this into and can you do like the original solution and screw the baseplate into the adjustable keyboard mount (I have one of those too!).

Yeah, this is the end of my adventures in custom keyboard land, except perhaps for that wedge. Im trying to avoid fabricating anything so it accessible to anyone, but I don’t yet have a good idea without losing the left-right adjust-ability or making it thicker.

Here’s the underbelly as assembled onto the desk.

keyboard tray:
Workrite 2485 S2S Ultrathin Height Adjustable Keyboard Platform, $320

Levelling heads: (2) $80x2=$160
or (likely overkill) $140*2=$280

Base plate:
Neewer 11 inches/27.5 Centimeters Dual Flash Bracket Tripod Mount $16


total: $500ish.

1.Attach mounting plate to the keyboard tray in the middle using two 3/4"1/4-20 bolts / washer / wingnut, from below.

2 Attach leveling heads to keyboard halves.

  1. attach levelling heads to mounting plate using included thumbscrews.

Viola. Will show the pretty setup in the other thread.

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I think this is my final version, shown with independently adjustable keyboard and mouse trays. Both sit and stand work great.

Im not going to give instructions on how to do the mouse tray. The especially astute may notice it is actually a monitor stand upside down mounted on a spare keyboard arm. Gives me some yaw and a flat surface.

Thanks for coming along for the ride.

ps. And 17 degrees of freedom. But who’s counting?!


Send a pic of your setup when done! :slight_smile .

I’ve been contemplating on a setup that requires the least amount of hand-movement to access some cursor-input. A trackpad or trackball in the center could of been as far as I would have taken it on a flat surface. However with the right adjustable mount maybe one can get a trackpad attached at fingers-length away from home-row like in the top far left-or-right outer corner of the keyboards-‘wings’, tilted and mounted at the required height in order to reach with ones two longest fingers. Could become quite useful for short-throws/fast inputs.

#Maybe you have tried various positions and have some recommendations regarding trackpad-mounting in this aspect?
#I see your latest posted setup was with another trackpad-brand as ‘main-cursor’. Have you used other trackpads from the ergotouchpad-company and how do they fair in comparison?
#How’s the stability of the centered trackpad and how much usage do you estimate getting out of them in comparison on typical-usage?

Though I’m currently still working on nonrelated aspects like the layout there is a possibility that I’ll be adopting some of your engineering inspirations.(posts will follow) Gratitude for keeping us updated so far.

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