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Behind the design: Engineering the Secretlab MAGNUS Monitor Arm (Heavy Duty Edition)

By May 24, 2024 May 31st, 2024 No Comments

You’ve been asking for an ultrawide monitor arm for a while now. So our engineers set to work building the ultimate monitor arm capable of lifting the biggest and heaviest screens — including the Samsung Odyssey Neo G9.

The Secretlab MAGNUS Monitor Arm (Heavy Duty Edition) was built to be a seamless extension of the Secretlab MAGNUS desk, flowing from the desk to lift your monitor effortlessly. Taking cue from the MAGNUS, our designers sketched out clean lines that extend elegantly outward to create a sleek, angular form.

But in order to support bigger and heavier screens, our engineers knew they had to beef up individual joints and mechanisms, which would mean a larger arm. However, the first few iterations of the Heavy Duty Edition were simply too bulky.

“We spent weeks playing with the proportions to find the perfect balance between form and function, without compromising on strength and stability,” said Gabriel, Senior Industrial Designer at Secretlab. “This meant redesigning and creating custom components that were even more sturdy.”

From the weight distribution to simplifying the installation process, everything on the Heavy Duty Edition was meticulously tested and fine-tuned to perfection — a process that took the team more than two years to complete.

samsung odyssey g9, ultrawide screen, ultrawide monitor

Striking the right balance

Ultrawide screens make the physics of keeping them in place very complicated. They’re usually curved, which shifts the center of gravity forward. The center of gravity and thickness of displays also vary between models. This makes for a very fine balancing act between the screen and the monitor arm. Achieving optimal stability requires meticulous analysis of weight distribution, screen curvature, and more. If even a single element is out of balance, your screen may tilt forward and sag.

“This made the Samsung Odyssey Neo G9 the perfect candidate for testing,” said Gabriel. “At 57” wide and weighing a hefty 35 lbs with an aggressive curvature, it presented the ultimate challenge. If our ultrawide monitor arm can handle the G9, it can handle anything.”

ultrawide monitor arm

Even if the ultrawide screen is within an arm’s weight limit, its length and curvature put additional stress on the tilt pivot mechanism, causing it to tilt forward and sag over time — a problem faced by many ultrawide monitor arms on the market. The team included an extra sturdy heavy-duty tilt pivot that could withstand the sheer heft of the biggest screens, ensuring your monitor stays exactly where you want it.

Many ultrawide monitor arms accommodate heavier monitors by installing larger tension springs — but this fails to account for the multiple points of stress placed on every single joint in the arm. “Because off-the-shelf parts did not meet our specifications, every component of our ultrawide monitor arm had to be designed and tested at our in-house lab,” said Gabriel. “It’s the same for our chairs and MAGNUS desks.”

To ensure that our Heavy Duty Edition could withstand even the most extreme use cases, our engineers made sure to meet the BIFMA standards — and exceeded them for internal static load testing by 20%. While the Heavy Duty Edition is built for lifting screens weighing up to 35 lbs, it has been tested to bear up to 44 lbs for additional safety. 

Every point of movement and articulation, from the tilt pivot to the mount rotation and arm extension, was also put through rigorous cyclic load tests of up to 8,000 cycles, using a load exceeding the recommended weight to simulate additional stress on the arm.

ultrawide monitor arm

Effortless movement

However, the reinforced heavy-duty tilt pivot also increases the resistance when it comes to repositioning your screen, especially with lighter monitors that do not add enough weight to counterbalance the tension spring. To address this, we added detachable VESA-mounted handles for extra leverage — allowing you to easily reposition your screen without having to grip the edges of your fragile, bezel-less monitor, and leaving fingerprints all over its surface.

ultrawide monitor arm

At the same time, our engineers wanted to simplify the installation process. Mounting a 16 kg ultrawide screen can be incredibly challenging — especially when you have to lift it up with one hand, and align the VESA plate to the mount with the other. When even two of our engineers struggled to mount the G9 during testing, we knew something had to change. We turned to something most people would throw away without a second glance: the packaging.

“The simplest solutions are often the most effective. We designed the packaging to be just the right height to prop your screen up before you mount it, so you don’t actually need to lift it up yourself,” explained Gabriel. The tensile spring is carefully calibrated so the arm is at the right height the moment you take it out of its box.

The packaging helps raise the screen’s VESA mount to the same height as the VESA plate. Special grooves then help to hook the VESA plate onto the bottom of the VESA mount, instantly aligning and locking it in place. Finally, a unique double lock mechanism was added to the VESA plate, so your precious screen — worth up to $2000 — stays extra secure.

ultrawide monitor arm

To ensure that the arm would retain the same smooth movement and a consistent level of resistance over the years, the team opted for a tensile spring over the traditional gas spring for added durability.But it was difficult to determine whether they were over-tightening the tensile spring mechanism.

“We had to set up the monitor arm thousands of times during testing. It became incredibly frustrating to adjust the tension every single time, so we introduced a tension indicator to show you how far you can tighten it for just the right level of resistance,” said Gabriel.

ultrawide monitor arm

Relentless prototyping

Our approach to design has always been rooted in a simple philosophy: Every Secretlab product should feel like an effortless extension of our chair and desk, allowing you to customize your setup to fit your unique needs. But crafting the perfect solution requires time and countless iterations — and the Heavy Duty Edition is the result of years of research into the unique needs of users who own ultrawide monitors. 

“We first hit the drawing board two years ago,” said Gabriel. “We wanted our monitor arm to solve all the issues that plague other monitor arms on the market. It took a ton of testing and multiple prototypes, but we’ve finally built an experience that we’re all really proud of. The Secretlab MAGNUS Monitor Arm (Heavy Duty Edition) is built to last for many years — and it is incredibly simple to set up and adjust.”

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