As work from home is becoming more of a norm than a special case, it is high time to create a comfortable home office, even if it is just a corner of a room (or for some people a corner of a sofa). The end of August is typically quieter than other periods so this may be the best time to give this some time and thought – in upcoming posts we will discuss what the new normal can be and a home office will likely play a role there. So, on a more personal note this time: some thoughts on setting up a home office and how 3D printers can help in setting it up.
Take a Stand, in the Office
Terry Wohlers was probably the first specialized 3D printing analyst (now also an Additive Manufacturing (AM) analyst). As COVID-19 started, Terry shared his home office set up in the hopes that it will help those setting up their own offices. Terry’s home office is one of the largest I’ve ever seen and can accommodate several people (social distancing notwithstanding) but some of his suggestions work for all size offices. His strongest recommendation is a sit/stand desk – there is a lot of research that suggests it’s best not to sit all day. A sit-stand desk helps with that. While there are some DIY projects for sit-stand desks, they do not involve 3D printing. You do need to take into account your laptop or desktop so that it is conveniently set up for both sit and stand along with all its accessories and peripherals, like a 3D printed camera blind (such as the climbing thin man from Walltosh above – Walltosh book accessories up top). It can be handy to avoid inadvertently showing your surroundings.
Hook, Line, and Cable
Regardless of the kind of desk you use, there are plenty of 3D printed accessories and organizers to put on top of it. For those of us that like large headphones for the ever-present long zoom meetings, a headphone hook is important. Several people are selling 3D printed ones or people with some CAD skills can make their own hooks and customize them to the size of their favorite headphones. When looking for a model for free download, make sure it is for a desk (also works on shelves) rather than a cubicle. If your audio of choice are earphones with cables it’s good to keep the cable organized and wound on itself or on an aid such as a bespectacled cat (above, from Noah Li-Leger). Other cable organizers are important too for an organized desk: a simple desk mounted anchor array for those USB cables, a wall mounted one, or a cable clip to optimally organize those cables between the desk and the wall (below from Felix on Thingiverse) – always pesky!
There are also many many desktop organizers for pens and pencils (this is the favorite of LEO Lane’s CEO) and other office supplies. It is hard to resist adding some cute prints not because of their organizational capabilities but because of they make you smile. Our VP business has 4 of these and others in the company also occasionally adorn their desks with 3D printed tchotchkes.
Neat as a Pin
Walls can also help with organizing work areas, especially when the area is small or awkward. A peg board with 3D printed accessories can organize a lot of stuff away from the desk leaving more room on a small desk for the essentials (screen, keyboard, mouse in my case, most people at LEO Lane would add a coffee mug to that list). Below is one example of how this was implemented in a small space and using bright colors to create a home office corner when you are tight on space. If you include a cork board, there are make-you-smile flower push pin adornments (they don’t help with organization but they put a smile on my face…). Other wall mounted office organizers include solutions for your phone and for charging it. Wall Tosh (I seem to like his designs, too bad his website is down but Thingiverse survives) created a 3dprinted shelf that can be mounted on the electric plug for the USB cable for those that have their plugs above desk level. For those that have plugs below there are other solutions including one with many joints and articulations that is a takeoff on a Luxo style desk lamp and hangs on to the phone magnetically. Speaking of Luxo style, the most interesting lamp I’ve seen to date is the DIY one from Jesse Howard built from 3D printed joints and standard materials including rubber bands to enable articulation – they’re called database lamps and can be desk top or wall mounted (2nd below).
Whether you’ve organized a small corner or a huge home office for work at home, 3D printed items can make it more functional, personal, and sometimes even happier. In a few weeks we’ll have a post on our blog on what the “new normal” can look like and how that affects the Additive Manufacturing industry – working from home in some capacity will likely be a part of that so investing in a good set up is worth the effort and expense. If you want to make sure you don’t miss it, subscribe to our newsletter for weekly updates or follow LEO Lane on LinkedIn for more insights, information and inspiration.