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Car headrest for office chair

This is a project I worked on very briefly a couple months ago when my office building at the City of Longmont was reorganized and I had to spend several days in a row working in-person. I’m kind of picky about the furniture that I use in my office, and one thing that irritates me is using a chair without a headrest. My office chair was pretty nice with a spot for a headrest to attach, but mine came without the headrest accessory. I decided it was worth a bit of effort, so I cobbled one together.

This project started when I cleaned up in the garage and realized that we had a couple of spare car headrests from the backseat of our Fiat 500. We fold the backseat down all the time for the dogs and those headrests get in the way, so we took them out to see if we would miss them about a year ago. I figured that adapting a car headrest would be pretty easy, and we definitely weren’t using them.

I took the blank cover that hides the headrest mounting point home with me me and modeled the interfaces in Onshape, then added in some screw holes and printed it. I normally try to use “Eco PLA” or similar filament with a lower environmental impact from production for things like this. The surface finish and layer adhesion aren’t great, but the part is over-engineered anyway and it’s going to live inside the chair where no one will see it.

I had a piece of scrap wood from the cat shelf that was almost exactly the right size, so I carefully drilled two holes in it for the headrest posts, then screwed the wood to the plastic adapter. To hold it in place, I used a very large pipe clamp that I had left over from another project to squeeze the posts together.

At work, I couldn’t quite get it to fit on the chair, so I used a knife to carve the adapter and got it to fit.

Honestly, this is a huge improvement without very much effort. I doubt my plastic bracket is going to be very helpful to anyone, but it is available on Onshape.