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Show HN: Recycled a piano into a work desk (mrsamberapple.com)
83 points by stephenapple on July 31, 2012 | hide | past | web | favorite | 35 comments



Really nice. If he wants to spend more time on this, additional hacks would be:

- hook up the foot pedal to a KVM or some kind of software switch to switch desktops/environments

- put some speakers behind the 2 grills if it isn't done already

- make one or both of the grills openable and attach a power strip in them so the power wires can be hooked up hidden inside instead of outside

- cut out the flat part of keyboard cover and use it to extend the desktop for more desktop space and more leg room


- Nice!

- If you look closely I have some speakers mounted to the underside of the front face. They are pointed down and reflect off of the surface of the desk (iMac style). I originally wanted to fit them inside the grills but space is surprisingly limited once you try to fit a speaker box in there.

- Thanks! Been interested in better ways to hide the wires.

- I imagine that could be very difficult to pull off. ;)


If you do number one, please for the sake of geekiness make the una corda pedal do something with the computer's volume.


On a related note, the NY Times had an article this week about the rising number of pianos being dumped: http://www.nytimes.com/2012/07/30/arts/music/for-more-pianos...


yeah, I recently replaced my piano with an Williams Overture 88 ($500), midi out, headphones, weighted keys, sounds just like the real thing.


Nice! This was my first thought... digitize it! Didn't want to spend the cash for the keyboard though so it ended up being a desk. I would love to convert it into a digital keyboard one day.


Yeah, and that wouldn't be that hard, you can get a roland controller, one of the slim ones and just hook it up to the computer with some vst plugins.


I think this looks AWESOME, but I wonder if there are ergonomic issues with the height of the monitor. It LOOKS like it would be a bit too high up.


Haha... I knew an astute fellow hacker would pickup on that. :) Yes, the monitor cutout was originally the spot for the music stand. I had to router out about 1/4 an inch to fit in the stripped down apple 23inch display. Currently I have my MBP hooked up on the desk in the center to get some more screen space. Moving between the two screens helps with the height issue.


Have to agree. I'd get a very sore neck after a few mins with a monitor that high up. Apart form that, top job.


Given that almost everyone has their screens too low usually, I'm not so sure. Middle of the screen should be eye level if you sit looking to the horizon with a straight back, would be nice if it was vertically adjustable admittedly. The chair is a little low in that picture though for the height of the keyboard maybe.


Conventional knowledge says the top of the screen should be eye-level. Just google monitor ergonomics.


Thanks! Yes, first time I sat down to use it I thought, "Uh oh..." But now I find the experience to be quite immersive with the monitor close and vertical. Right, now that I look at it the chair is low. Usually the arm rests meet the height of the desk which seems to be the optimal height.


I did ergonomics as part of my course at uni. Having the top of the screen at eye level means your gaze is always from level and down, this is not good practice and encourages a hunched posture as you will tend to aim your head at the middle of the screen and use upward eye movement to look at the top of the screen. Having the center of the screen at eye level keeps your neck straight and there is plenty of movement in they eye itself to look to the top of the screen without having to tilt your head back, even when fairly close to a screen. The major exception to this is when wearing bifocals.


However I am re-reviewing the literature and might be able to be convinced that having it slightly lower is better, but I still think that having the top of the screen at eye level is too low. Has been ages since I looked at this properly, so I might be suffering from reality-distortion.


Someone should send this article to the guys who make a business out of taking old pianos and, when no one wants their donation, doing this and selling them.

edit: http://news.ycombinator.com/item?id=4317242


Saw the article on the front page! Thought about the business potential this morning. Trouble would be the cost of shipping, it's about 350lbs!

edit: That is the stripped weight! It was originally ≈400lbs (guessing). Evidently most of the weight is in the metal frame.


If you remove the working parts, do they get much lighter? I don't know much about the internals of pianos.


The working parts, no. The iron frame, yes. But getting the frame out can be pretty rough.


Years ago I recycled an old 8-ball table into a desk. Utilising a claw hammer to take off one side of the table rails, so as to be flush with the table surface. I threw away my mouse pad. Best table ever, it was amazing for FPS gaming.


Any photos?


Nah sorry - it was 19 years ago!


I love how the keyboard is (by design) at perfect keyboard height and the monitor is likewise at a pretty ideal viewing height, since the spot it's in was designed to be looked at while using a keyboard.


I'm interested in hearing how you feel about this in a year.


Challenge accepted ;) http://imgur.com/8Citc I'll let you know.


Thanks :)


There are pictures of a few piano desks someone else made here: http://www.tinkertunes.com/upright-furniture-co


Is there enough legroom? I tend to unconsciously wrap my feet around anything within reach while I'm working, and not being able to do that actually kind of impedes concentration.


Haha. No there's totally not as you see it in the pics. I removed the black panel at the base which gives 8 nice more inches and a foot rest on the lip. I find my feet playing with the spring mechanisms for the pedals while I code.


Makes me think the pedals should be used for something. Shift and Ctrl maybe? ;)



Yes! Yes, yes, yes. I saw this when it hit the front page awhile ago and have been waiting to stumble across the proper hardware to try it out. I love vim.


Well done, not bad at all. The only change I would make is to cut away a portion of the back-board under the desk so I could stretch my legs out a bit.


Ah! That's removable... and currently removed. You're right, it started to get a little cramped. There's a little ledge at the bottom now which makes a nice foot rest.


That is pretty freaking cool. I love how people reuse items and turn them into functional pieces rather than discarding them into landfills.




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