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Hamster-wheel standing desk: Embrace the rodent race

Why should hamsters have all the fun? Follow an Instructables guide for making your own standing desk with a human-size hamster wheel for exercise.

Hamster-wheel standing desk
Take a stroll without going anywhere. Robb Godshaw

I have a standing desk that I use to alternate between sitting and standing while I work. I now feel completely inadequate since Instructables user Robb Godshaw posted his impressive hamster-wheel standing desk with a DIY guide for making your own.

You've seen standing desks. You've seen treadmill desks. You've even seen a desk with an exercise bike attached. A hamster wheel catapults the alternative desk movement into a whole new territory, a territory previously reserved for small rodents.

Designing a hamster wheel big enough for a person takes some serious design skills. Godshaw and his associates at Autodesk's Pier 9 fabrication facility ended up creating an 80-inch diameter wheel with a 24-inch-wide base. The wheel moves thanks to four skateboard wheels underneath. A preexisting standing desk was simply fitted inside the wheel.

One notable part missing from the giant hamster wheel is brakes. Brakes were on the table during the design process, but the team decided against it in order to make the desk's user really work for it. You pretty much have to walk when you're in the wheel.

The wheel itself is constructed primarily of plywood, glue, and a ton of wood screws. You can download the files to follow along and make your own. It took Pier 9 about 24 hours to complete the project.

If you do build this hamster desk for your office, then you'll probably want to practice getting into character by stuffing as many break-room doughnuts into your cheeks as possible, squeaking during conference calls, and biting the bars of your cubicle.

Since the standing-desk human hamster wheel has thrown down the gauntlet on rodent-toy-inspired designs for workspaces, I have to wonder when someone will take it to the next level and create a hamster ball with a standing desk inside. Granted, this ups the engineering difficulty considerably, but it would be totally worth it.

Hamster wheel for humans design
The Pier 9 team used Autodesk Inventor for the design work. Robb Godshaw