DIY Lift Desk Plans

Two plans for different options.

DIY Lift Desk
Desks lift to over 50 inches.

Cable and Leadscrew Desks

These desks will make a handsome and functional addition to any work area from the office to the kitchen or from the crafts area to the workshop.

There are two versions of the desks in the plans bundle.
The wooden leg components of both desks are similar. The legs' differences are the lifting systems.

The simpler desk is lifted with cables and uses around $100 in homecenter materials. It is a straightforward Saturday project that is built with basic tools.

The second set of plans is for a tilting top desk with a keyboard tray that remains level. It is lifted with leadscrews (threaded rods) and uses around $200 in materials from homecenters and online suppliers. The leadscrew desk is a more complex weekend project that requires drilling steel and aluminum.

The desks' heights range from 29½ inches to over 50 inches. They can lift a desktop computer or sewing machine.
The leadscrew desk can lift heavier loads, which makes it handy in the shop as a work surface or adjustable out-feed table.

The cable desk's top is 24 x 32 inches. The top of the leadscrew desk is 37 x 48 inches. The tops' sizes and the distances between the legs can be altered. The tops can be made from a variety of materials including a kitchen cutting board as shown below.

Adjustable kitchen work-top
The desk also makes a nice kitchen work surface.
DIY Drafting Table
Tilting top leadscrew desk.

DIY Lift Desk
Simple cable desk.


A hand crank lifts the cable desktop 3.2 inches with each turn. The desk is lifted and lowered with cables that are wound on spools. The cables pull the desk upward and downward to give smooth and even travel.

The leadscrew desk is lifted with Acme threaded rods that are turned through bevel gears with a hand crank or a small power drill. Standard 1/2-10 Acme rods give 13.3 crank-turns per inch of travel, which works well with a drill. Two turn per inch multi-start rods give 2.7 crank-turns per inch. The multi-start option adds over $60 to the price as compared to standard Acme.

Both desks are secured with knobs that tighten steel flat bars against the legs.

The plans include step by step directions with dimensioned drawings and hundreds of photos of the parts and the building process.


The desks were designed around stock sized boards to simplify construction. More information is on the tools page.
DIY Lift Desk Lowered
Lowered desks are 29½ inches.

Desk is made of standard lumber
Made of 1x4, 1x8, 2x3 and 2x4.
Desk as presentation board
Drawer-tray is always level.

Purchasing the Plans

The two plans are combined in one 41 MB PDF file that is downloaded upon purchase. It will take less than 7 minutes to download with a 1Mbps internet connection.

The file is large for an e-book because of the hundreds of photos. The document has been compressed so it can be downloaded with a variety of internet connections. The photos have compression artifacts at higher zoom levels; the text is unaffected.
Buy Now
Clicking the Buy Now button will forward you to PayPal via E-Junkie, which is the downloading service.
You do not need a PayPal account to use a credit card with PayPal.
Once the payment details have been completed, a link to the download will be given via the website and an email. (Make sure that your PayPal email address is correct.)

A download dialogue box will open when the link is clicked. Be sure to click 'Save' rather than 'Run' or 'Open' in the dialogue box. The file will not save to your computer if  'Save' is not clicked. The file's name is 'lift_desks.pdf.'

The downloaded plans can be printed and copied for your own use. The plans are edit locked and have a unique transaction ID on the margins.

The download link is active for 24 hours. Email me for a fresh link if needed.
Contact Email
The email address is:
ds -AT-
This address is also used to send the download links.

Email is answered frequently during daylight hours US Eastern Time. If you do not receive a response within 24 hours it is because an email was lost in route.
Possible reasons for no response include a misspelled email address, an over-quota email account, or an aggressive spam filter. Please check these potential problems and re-send the email.

Thank you for your interest, and good luck with your projects!

David Steele