Do you have an office chair that keeps sinking under you? Chances are, you’ve got a failing gas lift cylinder on your hands. If you are the owner of a 3D printer, you can permanently fix your chair to the desired height with a simple 3D print job. In the past 10 years, we’ve bought 4 office chairs and 2 of them started sinking within a year. Turns out, this is a common problem with any chair that has a gas lift cylinder. Even chairs from well-known brands like IKEA may fail, which is why you see gas lift cylinder replacements for sale everywhere.
Gas Lift Cylinder
After watching a few YouTube videos, I discovered that replacing the gas lift cylinder is not the easiest task and requires a special tool. Although most sellers will include this particular tool into the replacement set, it is still a rather tedious and time-consuming job. And it may not be worth paying $30 for the kit if you are planning to buy a new chair in the near future.
Disclaimer: The image above is affiliate link to the Gas Lift Cylinder Replacement Kit on Amazon
Just moments before clicking “purchase” on my new cylinder, I came across an incredibly easy fix that seemed far more practical. I saw a few sellers on eBay selling a little plastic piece that resembles a pipe. It’s a 3D printed component that is supposed to stop the chair from sinking. As I needed to fix my sinking chair urgently, I decided to give it a try. Actually, I managed to fix the first chair with a piece of sink pipe I had lying around. I just cut it lengthwise so I could place it around the gas cylinder.
As I didn’t have a second plumbing pipe, I designed a simple model using TinkerCAD after taking all the necessary measurements with a caliper. The first attempt in blue PLA lasted just 2 weeks. The 2nd in ABS lasted 2 months. The 3rd was also ABS, but the slightly shorter, reinforced design kept falling off the chair. I suspected that something was missing from my system. And sure enough, I needed to incorporate cable zip ties.
Sinking Chair Fix
With these simple 3D prints and cable zip ties (2 for each chair), both of my office chairs are currently operational. I haven’t tested it out, but I believe that this inexpensive system would also work if 3D printed in PLA, using more cable zip ties.
Source & Links
The STL file that worked for me is as follows: 3D Printer settings: 3-4 perimeter layers, 0.2 layers high.
I would recommend taking measurements of your own sinking chair, as they may differ from mine; but you can easily change them in the slicer software. And don’t leave out the cable zip ties – they’re a must-have.
In case you are still not convinced and want to entirely replace the gas lift cylinder, I recommend that you buy a kit that includes the specific tool you will need to un-jam the old cylinder before proceeding with the replacement.
Disclaimer: Affiliate link to the Gas Lift Cylinder Replacement Kit on Amazon
If you don’t have a 3D printer but want to try this inexpensive system anyway, just order the little pipe piece on eBay.
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