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Converting Car Seats to Office Chairs

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Hi all,

I recently upgraded my car seats but decided to keep the original ones. Then again, I didn't want the stock seats to take up space at home, so decided to convert them to office chairs so that I could actually use them and move them about easily. Here's what they look like after the conversion. They're by no means perfect, but maybe those of you who would undertake this endeavour in future could learn from my lessons. Other comments welcome.


6249078878_d2cb05ae1c.jpg

The Result

My main worry was whether the seats would be stable. If you'll notice, the driver's seat (on the left in the picture above) has a wheel base wider than the passenger's seat. But both were surprisingly stable and I could even recline to the angle shown in the following picture (while seated) without feeling that it was about to topple over. Only if I reclined closer to 180 degrees would the chair be unstable.


6248569167_e8c8e6cd31.jpg

One thing about car seats is that they're much thicker at the base than normal office chairs. So if you're maybe 1.8m and below, you will find yourself climbing up onto the chair rather than sitting down on it. Your legs probably would not be able to touch the floor, which is fine when seated, but it would be a bit difficult to move about while seated. I've measured that the front of the seat cushion is about 57cm above the ground while the back is about 47cm.

The other thing about the thick base is that the arm rests need to be much higher than that in normal office chairs. You can see that the arm rests I installed are a bit low, and they're now more "hand rests" rather than arm rests. :P

The final result was a surprisingly comfortable set of chairs. I was amazed that I did not realise how comfortable they were even though I had been sitting on them for the past 4+ years. They're certainly much more comfortable than the current S$100+ office chairs that I have at home.

In future posts, I'll detail the process I went through in converting my car seats. Cheers.

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Main Parts Required

 

There are 3 main parts to the final office chair.

 

1. Car Seat

 

2. Wooden board

 

3. Wheel Base

 

The car seat would be secured to the wooden board, which would in turn be secured to the wheel base.

 

1. Car Seat

 

You won't need the railings and removing them should be quite straight forward if you have the correct tools. My car is a MY07 (Hawkeye) JDM Autorex. The seats have 4 bolts at the corners which are mostly 8mm hexagonal bolts. So you can remove them with the appropriate 12mm spanner (the "head" of the bolt is bigger than the threads).

 

My driver's seat has a feature which allows the base of the seat to incline. One of the rear bolts is a really large "star" bolt (size T50) which you may or may not have the tool for. Even using the correct tool, it took quite some "manpower" to unscrew it.

 

2. Wooden Board

 

The wooden board needs to be about 40cm x 40cm. In my first attempt, I bought a piece of wood from Homefix which was 80cm x 40cm since this could be sawed in two for the 2 chairs I was planning on converting. Here's a picture of the board after it was sawed in half and the holes made for the bolts (ignore these for now).

 

6249225836_31fd187192_m.jpg

 

My suggestion is to get the wooden boards with a laminate covering instead. I managed to break one of the above boards (I'll explain later *rolls eyes*). I then got another piece of laminate-covered wood from the "as-is" section of Ikea for only $5. This was much more sturdy than the above.

 

Using a thick board probably isn't a good idea because it will be difficult to fit the uneven brackets which would be attached to the seat. I'll explain more about this when describing how the seat is attached to the board. The board I'm using is 18mm thick. I found it to be sturdy enough.

 

So I guess you can see that you will probably need a saw, unless you're so lucky as to find a piece of wood of the exact size that you need. If you don't have one, I saw Daiso selling a hand saw which should do the trick (no prizes for guessing - $2).

 

3. Wheel Base

 

6249465085_cccc4e77c2_m.jpg6249464693_10deb58bb6_m.jpg

 

I bought the above wheel bases from the "as-is" section of Ikea. I at first found the smaller one (on the left) at one outlet for $30. This had a wheel base diameter of 50cm. I later found the larger one (on the right) at another outlet for $34. This has a wheel base diameter of 60cm.

 

I was worried that the one with the smaller diameter would not be stable. On hindsight, my worries were unfounded as the smaller wheel base provided more than enough stability.

 

However, it was the smaller mounting plate at the top which proved to be less desirable. The mounting points formed a square with edges which were 14.5cm apart. The mounting points on the larger wheel base was 30cm apart. This provided much more support for the wooden board and is one of the main reasons why the board on the smaller wheel base broke during my first attempt at assembling the chair on it.

 

 

Well, these are the 3 main parts to form the office chair. In my next post, I'll describe the steps I took to join these parts together. Cheers.

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It seriously looks good! But isit reversible? As in say, few months down you decide that you wanna fit the original seats and sell the car. Can you do that?

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yeah... is it reversable? i guess u missed out abt the arm rest, where u get it? diy? but cool post! cheers! got one siting in my room, maybe can consider if its reversable. icon_mrgreen.gif

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It seriously looks good! But isit reversible? As in say, few months down you decide that you wanna fit the original seats and sell the car. Can you do that?

 

yeah... is it reversable? i guess u missed out abt the arm rest, where u get it? diy? but cool post! cheers! got one siting in my room, maybe can consider if its reversable. icon_mrgreen.gif

 

Yep yep! It's reversible. This was one of my main considerations when doing this. I was thinking that one day I may want to change back to the OEM seats and may have problem buying them at the last minute.

 

So I have kept the original railings (which can be dismantled) and I can just unscrew the seat when I finally want to use them again.

 

Oh, the arm rests were bought from Ikea. They sell some of their chairs in parts. But the set I found was not cheap. $30 for one pair. This one not from the "as-is" section icon_razz.gif

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bro,

 

u engineer ?

 

at 1st sight, it was like, wow !

 

very creative ! it should be posted in utube for the whole world to see.

 

heh... thank you, thank you.

 

Me engineer, but computer engineer, so not very related to this... icon_razz.gif

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Securing the Seat to the Wooden Board

You will probably want to secure the seat to the board first, as the combination of the seat+board will help you determine the position to mount the wheel base (to be explained further in that section).

The original bolts for the seat are secured horizontally, so you cannot directly secure the seat to the wooden board by using vertical bolts. An L-shaped brace can be used, and the holes need to be at least 8mm for the original bolts to go through. The only place I found this was Daiso. Yes, $2 each, and I needed 8 of them (4 corners of 2 seats).

6253223852_8375642557_m.jpg

The following picture shows the bottom of the seat with 4 L-braces mounted (2 on each side). In addition, do note that the sides of the chair where the bolts are mounted are not flat, so some bending of these L-braces is needed. Can be done with 2 big pliers and some "grunt."

 

6253308178_5b3ac2fe81.jpg

 

 

Mounting the L-braces for the driver's seat this way will restrict the movement of the inclining mechanism. i.e. after the seat is mounted, the base of the seat will not be able to incline. The reclining of the back of the seat is not affected, though.

 

The other thing to note is that the position of the braces is not level (some higher than others). For the driver's seat, the rear bolts are mounted lower than the front. This is not a problem because I could mount the wooden board above the rear braces but below the front braces. You probably couldn't do this if you used a very thick piece of wood, and that is why I said in an earlier post that it probably wasn't a good idea to use a very thick piece of wood.

 

6253352762_41a2115086.jpg

 

 

Once all the L-braces are secured in place, you can mark out where you should be drilling the holes to secure the wooden board. Yes, so if you don't have a drill, you will probably need to beg, borrow, or steal one.  :mrgreen: For a more secure connection, I also used 8mm nuts and bolts to secure the L-brace to the board. As the board I used was 18mm thick, the bolts just needed to be 3cm long.

 

There you go. The seat is now secured to the wooden board. In my next post, I'll describe how I secured the wheel base to this combination of seat+board.

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even your diy photos are so pro. tumbs up!

 

Securing the Seat to the Wooden Board

 

You will probably want to secure the seat to the board first, as the combination of the seat+board will help you determine the position to mount the wheel base (to be explained further in that section).

 

The original bolts for the seat are secured horizontally, so you cannot directly secure the seat to the wooden board by using vertical bolts. An L-shaped brace can be used, and the holes need to be at least 8mm for the original bolts to go through. The only place I found this was Daiso. Yes, $2 each, and I needed 8 of them (4 corners of 2 seats).

 

icon_mrgreen.gif For a more secure connection, I also used 8mm nuts and bolts to secure the L-brace to the board. As the board I used was 18mm thick, the bolts just needed to be 3cm long.

 

There you go. The seat is now secured to the wooden board. In my next post, I'll describe how I secured the wheel base to this combination of seat+board.

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Securing the Wheel Base to the Wooden Board

 

With the seat attached to the wooden board, you can put this combination on the wheel base to determine where you want to mount the wheel base.

 

6253582631_ab5c11d494.jpg

 

The further front you mount the wheel base, the more easily the chair will topple backwards. As the seats can still recline, you would want to put the wheel base towards the back so that it can still support you even at a recline.

 

But during my first attempt at mounting the wheel base, I mounted the wheel base too far back. The result was that the chair would topple forwards whenever I climbed onto the front.

 

I suggest to do the following:

 

1. Point one of the wheel spokes straight in front.

 

2. Adjust the position of the wheel base such that the front edge of the seat is aligned with the front wheel.

 

You should find that the position of the wheel base would be somewhere in the center of the base of the seat, but slightly biased towards the rear. This should be the most ideal mounting point and you can go ahead and mark the positions of the holes for the screws.

 

The holes on the mounting plate of the wheel bases I got accepted up to 6mm bolts, so I needed 6mm drill bits to drill these holes and 6mm x 3cm bolts & nuts to secure the wheel base to the wooden board.

 

Before taking out the board to do the drilling, you may want to determine the positions of the holes to mount the arm rests (described in the next section).

 

 

Securing the Arm Rests to the Wooden Board

 

6253649211_f4c179cd88.jpg

 

I found these arm rests at Ikea for $30. These were not from the "as-is" section and so were not cheap. As mentioned in my initial post, as the base of the car seats are quite thick, this resulted in these arm rests being quite low. But I found it quite ok for placing my hands on although I wouldn't be able to lean my elbows on them.

 

I found that the side of the seats where the reclining lever is has this plastic that would probably be lower than the wooden board. The one for the passenger seat is still ok, but the one for the driver's seat would block your arm rests from being mounted flat on the board. To solve this, I used two oversized nuts so that the arm rest could be mounted lower and avoid the plastic. I used 10mm nuts since my bolts were 8mm.

 

6256288797_a0c16536a6.jpg

 

 

A Final Word

 

I must say that this project took up quite a bit of my time and effort, but I certainly had fun doing it. A lot of time was spent looking for parts and accessories, so hopefully these posts can help save some time for those of you who will undertake this project.

 

That's about it! Do post any queries that you may have. Cheers!

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D.I.Y & Recycling..i like.. icon_thumbsup.gif

 

wow! icon_eek.gif nice

 

even your diy photos are so pro. tumbs up!

 

Excellent Stuff.... Car Seats Conversion for DUMMIES.... icon_lol.gificon_lol.gif

 

Thank you, thank you icon_mrgreen.gif

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How about need new sofa at home and dun wana waste $$$ to buy new?

 

hee... my sofa still very good leh... and if take out my rear seats, need to buy to replace... i still need to ferry my elders leh... icon_neutral.gif

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Hi all,

 

I recently upgraded my car seats but decided to keep the original ones. Then again, I didn't want the stock seats to take up space at home, so decided to convert them to office chairs so that I could actually use them and move them about easily.

 

Here's what they look like after the conversion. They're by no means perfect, but maybe those of you who would undertake this endeavour in future could learn from my lessons. Other comments welcome.

 

icon_confused.gif

 

The final result was a surprisingly comfortable set of chairs. I was amazed that I did not realise how comfortable they were even though I had been sitting on them for the past 4+ years. They're certainly much more comfortable than the current $100+ office chairs that I have at home.

 

In future posts, I'll detail the process I went through in converting my car seats. Cheers.

 

 

There is already available in SGcarmart. If you have yr seat, you may be able to buy the stand for DIY to save some $ and time.

 

http://www.facebook.com/pages/ARK-Motorsports/141294065920840

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