M3 Desk Chair: Build thread
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12-10-2012, 02:01 PM
Join Date: Dec 2012
Location: New Jersey
My Ride: 2006 MINI
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M3 Desk Chair: Build thread
Hello all. This is my first post. I don't own an M3 but I've always loved the style and comfort of the e46 seats and decided I wanted to make a desk chair out of one.
Here is the final product sitting on the showroom floor.
I was inspired by a lot of racing seats converted into desk chairs I've seen online. Only a handful of e46 seats have been converted to desk chairs. The only other person I could find that has built one was build by Brett who I found on this forum thread (
). His came out very well and he gave me some tips on how he mounted his seat to his chair. This is his chair pictured below.
I wanted mine to be a bit different and decided I wanted to use an M3 wheel as a base for the chair. Although heavy and cumbersome I liked the style and how it eventually turned out.
First I started with an e46 M3 seat I bought from a gentleman in Pennsylvania who wrecked his M3 and was parting out the interior. I requested the passenger seat as it would have minimal bolster wear. (car only had about 50k miles)
Next I removed the electric motors and rails from the bottom of the seat. Grinding off the metal arms that would normally be used for height adjustment. Picture of the underside of the seat below.
Then I picked up an old office chair from a friend who was getting rid of his to use as a donor for the cylinder. Thanks Jarek!
Next I bought an M3 CSL replica rear wheels from Steve in Connecticut. Steve and his father own a garage where they part out M3's (mostly e46) and had every part I could imagine. The wheel is a bit scuffed and had a piece of the alloy cracked off in the back so it wouldn't hold air, making it useless as a wheel but fine for my application. In addition to the wheel I bought an SMG shift knob that I would eventually use for the height adjustment lever.
My friend Dave (
) helped out with spraying from wheel cleaning compound to remove the large amount of dirt and brake dust that had initially been on the wheel. Thanks Dave!
I needed a way for the seat to all come together. Initially I was going to get a brake rotor and weld the bottom of the height cylinder to it, but the 1/8" metal of the cylinder didn't seem adequate for supporting the weight of myself and the seat, so I constructed a sleeve out of 2" galvanized pipe which I welded to a 5.5" x 5.5" x 3/16" steel plate. After drilling the holes to match up with the bolt pattern I did a quick test fit before painting it red.
To mount the cylinder plate to the chair I needed to get come steel stock (3/4" x 1/4") and bend it to clear a rod on the seat. I then U-bolted one side of this bracket to one of the black horizontal bars and welded the other side of the bracket to the other horizontal bars. These black horizontal bars were originally connected to a motor and would be used for the electric height adjustment.
From here the chair with the cylinder and wheel with the painted red steel sleeve were separate components. I wrapped electrical tape in rings around the cylinder to allow a tighter fit when I slid it into the sleeve.
Then the finished product. It sits a bit high and I will need to use longer carriage bolts to space out and lower the height of the sleeve. Otherwise it is very comfortable, although I will need to mount some casters or something to make it slide around the floor more easily.
Thanks for reading and any questions/ comments are appreciated.
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