Frankly, you may tear your leg muscles out in disbelief when you see what you’re about to see, but it’s for real. It may be even more shocking to believe it’s possible to do anything but wither away at a desk while performing design and engineering tasks, but yes, it is.

To stay in shape, some of us resort to doing strange under-desk leg exercises, walking at lunch or worse of all, getting a gym membership we don’t use. But, what if you brought part of the gym to work? Better yet, what if you set up a freagin’ treadmill in your office to be your workstation? Well, that’s exactly what one person did. All without spending a peck-flexing amount to do it.

The DIY Treadmill Desk

Treadmill Desks actually are not that uncommon, but you’ll easily spend $2,000 to upwards of $5,000 on treadmills systems integrated with desks. Treadmills themselves are not that cheap, but if you’re clever you can get one cheap-er and construct your own CAD Work(out)station treadmill desk.

The person who actually put this together is my brother, Eric Mings. He was sick of sitting. So, he simply asked his boss if he could put a treadmill in an office and turn it into a work desk…. Who would believe someone would actually do that, right? Well, he did, and relatively cheap too.

I got the treadmill (Freemotion XTr) on sale from Costco, online for $999 with free shipping and assembly. It regularly sells for a couple hundred more. I used the IKEA BRODER modular shelving components to the tune of about $120. I could have spent half that now that I know what I actually use, but would like to make some alterations that would bring it back up to just below that figure.

The BRODER shelves work well because of adjustability, so I only had to have an idea of the measurements I wanted. I had to grab some scrap material from the shop to spread the load for the monitor clamp. The BRODER metal grate shelves would be a little too flimsy to put a monitor stand on and expect any real stability. In hindsight, it probably would have been better to get the wooden shelf instead of the metal grate shelves.

The total money invested is sitting at around $1120. I expect to recoup that money and then some in gym membership payments alone, not to mention all the medical bills I wont pay for problems I will have avoided due to increased health benefits of walking all day. In addition to those benefits, I save time by walking while I work. You can make more money, you can’t make more time.

The monitor arms, monitors and red Swingline Stapler you’ll see in the images below are all transferred from his old, stationary desk. The office that had enough room for a treadmill ended up having one of the nicest window views in the facility. After taking a few hours to set it all up, he was, ahem, off and running… or rather walking… briskly.

His first day he racked up over 5 miles on the treadmill desk while taking care of engineering issues from the production floor. He’s been averaging over 3 miles per day and can account for the exact amount of time he spends at his desk. How many of us are doing that?

Here are the images. This is Phase 1 of the project. If you have suggestions about what Eric should do, what would be cool to incorporate, drop them in the comments. More monitors? A fridge? Whatcha got?


Josh is founder and editor at, founder at Aimsift Inc., and co-founder of EvD Media. He is involved in engineering, design, visualization, the technology making it happen, and the content developed around it. He is a SolidWorks Certified Professional and excels at falling awkwardly.