Surfaces and Supports

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Surfaces and Supports


Surfaces, desks, tables, or benches are what support your equipment and arms while working on it. Some people in the last 10-15 years, work with small data entry devices that don’t need large surfaces to support them. Think about a laptop computer on a cafe table or a tablet held in your hand. But, most long-term work is done with something holding up your device. There are some basics, wood, laminate, metal, poly-fiber-something, or a door. It should be flat, able to insulate you from heat-producing electronics, and be adjustable enough to help your body to be comfortable. This is also part of ergonomics, the mechanics of what your body does while doing your work. The depth of the surface will allow you to be closer or further back from your computer, think about a movie theater and how close you like to be to the screen. Power and Data cables can be routed and organized with grommet holes in the work surface.


The next idea is what is holding up your surface. Traditionally there were tables (without drawers) and desks (with drawers) and machine stands. The bases and legs sat at a fixed height, moved on wheels, and may or may not have been attached to the top. The purpose is to support your work in the best way, to position your body and equipment. It may have been machine stands were the first to be adjustable, to position the item to be worked on correctly near the tools. Further progress keeps replacing human hands with machine supports and keeps human body parts safe. Robotics can be seen in major manufacturing all over the globe.

Set the furniture and focus on the production

Back to people and our creative work. Ultimately, the furniture you use should fade out of our conscience as we look through our equipment and into our work, what we are building. Use what you have, innovate/gather what works better later and focus on your work. Much of the technology we use today was created on folding tables, cheap little chairs, pizza delivery, and small cartons of pricy ice cream. Real products may require some heavy-duty bench work, heavy-gauge base supports, 120v electrical built-in, lights, and ESD rated for electronic work.

Time Marches On

As time passes and bodies change… hopefully, our brains figure out how to help. The height-adjustable table has become a standard item in many tech workplaces today and many times can be purchased separately. Table bases can be used with almost any surface, screwed, double-stick foam taped, or clamped to keep them together. Drawer units can be used for supports, like a desk or post legs with a drawer set on the other end. Listen to your body and support it how you can. If you have been doing lots of computer work, you may have noticed the surface edge and how to avoid it. My personal preference is to rest my forearms on the surface to get the pressure off my wrists and elbows. Gone are the days of the box monitor on the desktop, because… flat screens RULE. Robotics has given us the ability to use mechanical arms to hold stuff, to bring the screen to “just the right spot”.

Surfaces and Supports

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