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That is the sound made by a rapidly decompressing pneumatic cylinder like the ones you find at the bottom of most office chairs.

I learned two very important things about drilling into the pneumatic cylinder of an office chair today.

  1. If you have removed the chair's base (i.e. the star shaped bit with the wheels) and you drill into the cylinder, it will rapidly decompress and become a rather high powered projectile capable of flying across the yard (a good 30 feet or so).
  2. Standing at the bottom side of the chair while drilling is a very very very baaaad idea.

Fortunately, I discovered fact 1 independent of fact 2 (something I am most happy about).

Now why would I possibly want to drill into the pneumatic cylinder on an office chair (specifically my office chair)?

Well the cheap-o leather office chair I bought last year is in perfect shape except for one thing. The cylinder kept sliding through the base and it would end up dragging on the chair mat (good thing it was there otherwise it would have been gouging out chunks of wood floor instead of scraping up a $20 chair mat). I've tried a few different solutions and they've all failed after some period of time. So, I finally came up with this solution:

Which works quite well. However, given that I wasn't too far away from personally testing out item 2 on the above list, I think it's time to put the power tools away for the evening and enjoy my newly repaired chair.

(I've been doing home improvement and office improvement stuff lately though so you should see some pictures soon... assuming I don't do anything else that might kill or maim me ;)


jale chicano LOL

dude, just break down and get a new chair :-P
We have a REALLY large woman at work, ok, I'll say, gianormous. We have yet to find her a chair with the correct amount of pressure in the cylinder to hold her up. After a few hours, she slowly sinks down. Or, if she sits down too quickly, the chair just sinks all the way. She broke a few chairs, and these are not the cheaper ones, these are made as extra wide executive chairs.

The point of my rambling was that I often thought about drilling and putting a pin in a chair for her, since that seems to be the only thing that will hold her mass. Glad to hear the pointers!
Fortunately I'm not "ginormous". I may not be dainty, but it took several months to develop the dragging problem (and I always keep the chair at it's maximum height)

The big design flaw with this cheap-o chair was the base and how the cylinder went into it. It's a pretty cheap (soft-ish) plastic base and the cylinder is slightly tapered so over time the cylinder would slowly slide through the base because there was no place for it to really stop (it's a smooth taper). It probably made great sense from a manufacturing standpoint, but as you can imagine it really needed a more substantial stop (my other office chair which I've had for 6 years or so has metal ring for the cylinder to lock into and the cylinder is also stepped so there's no way for it to slowly work it's way down from use.

Having gone through the hassle of drilling out the cylinder (which was a major headache and it doesn't look all that wonderful) I'd suggest finding a piece of pipe (PVC might actually work for this) with an inside diameter greater than outside diameter the pneumatic cylinder on your co-worker's chair. Measure what the ideal height would be, cut the pipe to size, remove the chair's base and slide the pipe into place then reattach the base.

In retrospect that would have been a much simpler solution (and withouth the exploding pneumatic tube! ;)
Ahhh, PVC. I didn't even think of that! The hard part is that she doesn't think she is "that big" but she has issues fitting thru her office door sometimes (literally). I've always wondered HOW you let yourself get that out of control. All she does is eat, 24 hours a day. Her keyboard and mouse are GROSS because she is always eating... *ICK*

Thanks for the advice :)
"I'm sorry Doris, I know you don't think you're that big, but the chair does and it cries out to me in pain"