Adjustable Laptop Stand

by jpearce, published

Adjustable Laptop Stand by jpearce Aug 15, 2013
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Worried about the news reports that "sitting is the new smoking"? Are you sitting now? Stand up at your desk and tone your backside while you work with this handy completely adjustable laptop stand. The open-source stand is made from 3-D printable joints and open-beam. Press on the spring loaded button in each joint to change the angle - it can adjust from flat for storage to "tv-tray" height or anywhere in between.

This is but one of many useful products our group, Michigan Tech's Open Sustainability Technology Research Group has found can save consumers money by fabricating it themselves with the use of a 3-D printer. For more information see our economic analysis here


Bill of Materials

 3 or 4 - 1m OpenBeams depending on the size you want   
 (6) 13/32" x 1" compression spring  
 (44) 3m x 5mm screws  
 (44) 3m nuts  
 1.75mm filament  
 4 corner open-beam corner pieces  
     (optional for improved stability)  
 2 OpenBeam endcaps (optional for aesthetics)  
 1 plastic/metal or wood sheet cut to the size of your laptop  
 blue painters tape  
 razor blade  

Assembly and Construction Instructions:

  1. Button preparation

    • print on your 3-D printer with 100% fill
    • wrap a piece of blue tape around the "x" part.
      This makes a tighter fit and slide easier (see image)
    • use the razor blade to trim the notches.
      Make each notch to have a point on the button side
    • make sure it fits in the top cover easily and can slide in
      and out of the bottom cover
  2. Top cover preparation

    • carve out the filament hole on the side. 1.75mm filament
      should be able to fit through it
    • file the top edge for easier rotation of joint
  3. Assembly
    • insert spring into hole in button
    • put button with spring into the bottom cover so the "x"
      lines up
    • connect the two covers until flush
    • when holding the parts together, insert a 2" length of
      1.75mm filament into the side hole of the
      Top cover. This secures the two parts of the hinge
      together. (see image)
    • insert a 12'' (or a length of your choosing) length of open
      beam into the side of the top cover.
    • secure the beam using two 3m x 5mm screws and nuts.
    • insert a 12'' (or a length of your choosing) length of open
      beam into the side of the bottom cover

Design and Future Work

This version of the stand was developed and prototyped by Michael "Buck" Poszywak. It uses OpenBeam which is really handy for prototyping things but both a little expensive and a bit less rigid than we would like for this application. We included the OpenSCAD file so you can adjust the hinge parts that attach to the OpenBeam so you can fabricate similar laptop stands with thicker Al extrusions, wood, etc. To out compete even the highest-end laptop stands you could also put fancy art work on the sheet with a laser cutter or cut in vent holes and mount USB powered fans. You can also add a lip or holder for being able to use the stand at weird angles e.g. upside down in bed.

Other Applications

The open-source laptop stand can also be used as an art table for both the young and old. The joints can be used for any application where you need an adjustable but long-term fixed position. So for example in the office you can use it as a document holder or bed as a book holder...and on and on.

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Hello, I had a question about the tray. Is it possible to position it at an angle so the laptop keyboard would be at an adjustable angle? If so I'm assuming I might have to add an edge to keep it from sliding off.

Yes + and you would want to add a lip -- which would be pretty easy to do with a 3D printed component to fit onto the OpenBeam.

Great thank you!

I like this design, I've been looking at the many designs on here and this suits my needs best. One caveat though - openbeam/maker beam/t-slot is very expensive, about £60 for the length I need (2.2m). None of this design absolutely needs that type of extrusion though. Box section tube is much cheaper and I can get 2mm walled for about £11 for 3m. I am planning to make the top open and sized for my laptop which will help cooling and join the front corners on the top piece with some printed 90 degree join parts from here and the rear ones with some 90 degree corner braces. hopefully self tapping screws will hold it all together.

Thats a good idea -- please let us know how it turns out. Good luck!

Blew my mind with your filament lock for rotation. Very nice sir. I'll be using that in the future.

indeed, I'm just amazed how simple and effective the mechanism is ! congrats to the designer !

How many pieces of the openbeam need to be cut? And what might be an optimal length? I'm trying to figure out whether I will need 3 or 4m lengths of openbeam. If I make the legs 330mm, that will give me 9 cuts out of 3m . I can't tell if the top cover uses 3 or 4 lengths to make the cover. Alternatively I could make the legs 250mm to get the most out of 3m of openbeam but that's pushing it for my 11" macbook air. Thoughts here?

Optimal length is going to depend on your preference - do you want an external mouse next to it or not? --Up to you and the laptop size.

The top cover uses 4 lengths -- for rigidity.

Ah ok thanks! The stand will be to hold laptop at eye level for proper ergonomics. Keyboard and mouse will at desk level.

Also, I plan to modify design a bit as openbeam seems expensive and hard to source additional parts for(eg corner pieces). 20mm tslot seems cheaper and easier to find. Question though, what would be proper compression spring size if I scaled things up to support 20mm tslot. Thanks again.

Bed bound gal with MS would kill for something this easy to operate. Do you sell them? Would you sell one?

Sorry - university so we can't do that kind of thing - but if you know a local maker - they should have no problem assembling one from our designs -- Best of luck!

Man, that filament-lock is ingenious!

Smoking is the new running.