This post does not contain full directions how to assemble one but rather a description of an idea which showed to be functional as well as not so expensive. As a first prototype (also the last as the present model is good enough).
Working on a tree on an improvised unstable platform which doesn’t turn or change angle into any direction makes life more difficult.
Trying to buy one usually ends with paying a nice lump sum of money which I wasn’t ready to part with so I gave it a shot and made one.
A left over of one of old office chairs (might be an old Ikea, might be something else) served as the base for the workstation. It holds 5 wheels which are unlockable but can be changed. 2 should be lockable so that you don’t run after it when working on the tree.
The hole in the middle is 5cm on the top and 4.5 cm on the bottom so that the chair suspension would fit into it. It was a challenge to fit the pole into the hole so that it is stable enough. I added tension screws (metallic color in the photo) in the bottom to 3 of the 5 legs (all black in the photo) so that the pole is not connected to the 5 legs to only 1 point but 2. It showed to be a very good idea as the pole is stable like a pyramid of Giza 🙂
Weight they can hold is probably up to 120kg, way too much for the purpose.
Price: No clue what this part would cost but there are office Ikea chairs for 30€ so the highest price this could be is then 30€.
I shortened the moving tube 10 cm so that it goes as low as possible. The height can thus be adjusted: 90-145 cm. The highest point is ridiculously high but if my visitor is as tall as Bjorn Bjorholm perhaps it would work for him too 🙂
The pole itself was said to hold 75kg max. More than enough for my purposes.
For these ones I chose acrylic glass, the most bottom one 6mm thick, the other 2 of 4mm thick. I should have chosen 6mm for those too. All sized 30×30 cm. I had to cut the most bottom one into a circle so that the whole system can turn around it.
The most bottom one (6mm) is only to expand the surface of the poles holding piece.
The other 2 (4mm) are connecting hinges to the “lazy Susan devices” (see below).
These surfaces could have been done from a standard plywood, cheaper but heavier and non-transparent which is of no value but during assembling/experiment/research stage. If you know exactly what to do then transparency has not much meaning.
Price (piece): 6,5-6,9€
Any can do but have to be massive enough to be able to hold a heavy tree when under angle.
Price (a piece): 3€
Yes I know! It looks like a toilette seat 😀
A weird name I must say. Designed for different type of furniture, a turning platform for a TV desk etc. There are different sizes available, basically anything under 30cm and are designed for up to 120-150kg.
I used 2 pieces, one of 30cm diameter and another of 25cm. They should be as large as possible but I selected one size smaller for the bottom one to allow the center of the mass to be closer to the pole axis. I am not sure if that was necessary in the end. Having 2 x 30cm would work too but the hinges would be 2.5cm further away from the pole axis.
Why 2 turning platforms?
The bottom one does not change its angle and is always horizontal therefore it provides the main workplate rotation when working on a tree.
The other one is fixed to the acrylic plate fixed to the hinges so it changes the angle together with the tree. The top/main surface rotates on this device and so provides a possibility to tune the trees position when the angle is already set without the need to rotate the pot after it is already fixed to the surface.
It is questionable how much use this will find itself but it doesn’t bother being there. The whole system is stable enough that having one more lazy Susan did not make any difficulty.
Made of 2 square tubes. The narrower one is connected to the top “lazy Susan” (directly to the screw) .
The wider one lets the other be inside and holds the place for the screw which can squeeze/lock the inside tube into a position. The wider tube should be done of iron tube (aluminum on the photo, replaced later) because when tightening the screw the threads in aluminum can give up and let the sudden angle collapse which could be a bad thing if the tree is heavy.
With some small bits and pieces I designed the locking mechanism for the top turning surface as well as the bottom one. They both work perfectly even though I was afraid if they would really hold anything, they showed to be very reliable in the end. A hole in the plate, a threaded nut glued into the hole, a handy L screw and some rubber cap on the top. Holds the plates with no problems.
This one I made of 2 plexiglas sheets, 4mm thick, 60x60cm but into a 59cm circle and glued together to form one 8mm piece.
Plexiglass and not acrylic glass because it bends less. Plexiglass and not plywood (cheaper) because of its low weight and better weather resistance. And because I was already so much into metal+plastic that it fitted well 🙂
Price (a piece): 18€
- Top surface rotates even if under angle
- Adjustable angle to over 90 degrees
- Adjustable height (90-145cm)
- All surfaces lockable
- Weather resistance
- Low weight (9,5kg)
To prove its capability I tied a 9kg heavy tree (middle sized, height ~50 cm) and locked it under 90 degree angle:
The upper photo does show an extreme position and a heavier tree could not have been positioned like this without toppling the whole thing to the ground and without providing some extra fixers of the base to the ground.
I consider this experiment anyway just for “academic” purpose proving the workstation stability and engineering 🙂
The total estimate is thus 150€.
Having said that a couple of € could have been saved on selecting the plywood but I am not disappointed I have chosen the materials I did. Now I have a very much weather resistant system for a very long time.
The price is half of a similar available workstation with less capabilities and a third of a pro workstation which does have better characteristics.
Further to-be-done-maybe improvements
- Lockable wheels (update: done)
- All acrylic platforms of 6mm
- Tree tightening points on the top surface to be loops and not plain screws
I am very happy with the end result!
The weakest link regarding the weight is the pole specified for max 75kg load. I tested it with 45kg load with its center mass directly above the center of the top surface and the pole axis and did not find any instability nor shaking, the whole system is sturdy enough.
The load under angle is a different story. Tested with ~10kg under an extreme angle gives me confidence that I can use the angle adjustments without fear. I would though NOT use it in the position like in the photo above. On the other hand, I do not know how other pro system would behave and what is the load they can handle with such extreme angles. Nevertheless I do not see the limitation for my needs, at least for the moment.
And for the end, candy for the eyes 😀