Laser-cut Laptop Stand for Macbook Air

by AndrewSleigh, published

Laser-cut Laptop Stand for Macbook Air by AndrewSleigh May 10, 2012


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A simple, slot-together stand for a laptop, designed to raise the screen to a more comfortable height.

It's intended for a 13" Macbook Air, but it could be used for a different computer. Also sized to allow room for an Apple bluetooth keyboard to be stored underneath.

Designed to be minimally intrusive, stable, and enable easy handling of the computer

An experiment in open design, documentation and hardware



Top plate angled at 30° down from horizontal. For a laptop that opens to 135°, that lets you push the screen back to 15° behind vertical. I was aiming to raise the screen as high as possible while making the stand as unobtrusive as possible. A steeper angle enables this, but the trade-off is less stability, especially when opening the laptop.

Hand-sized cutout on the top plate. When the laptop is closed, you can easily grab it from underneath to lift it off. The same cutout also lets you lift the lid (on a Macbook at least) with one finger.

Sized to fit an Apple Bluetooth keyboard underneath. The sides are spaced at about 29cm. The crossbars are positioned so that you can leave the front lower bar out, to leave space to slide the keyboard underneath. (Or you can leave the crossbar in for added rigidity). The front edge of the top plate is about 6cm off the work surface, which gives you just enough room to put your hand under to drag the keyboard out when you need it.

Slots shaped to reduce stress. As detailed here (http://blog.ponoko.com/2010/06/17/how-to-make-snug-joints-in-acrylic/), I added small radii to the slots to reduce the chances of the acrylic snapping.


These files are designed with 3mm acrylic in mind. You will need to adjust the slots if you use a different thickness of material.

Slots are sized at 2.8mm to allow for the kerf of my laser (A Full Spectrum 40W CO2 Hobby Laser: http://fslaser.com/products/lasers/hobby-lasers/40wbasic). Again, you may want to adjust.

The laser I use has a cutting table that measures about 22 cm by 31 cm. I ordered acrylic at this size to maximise the space I had to play with. The main constraint is the width and depth of the top plate, which is only just big enough to fit the laptop. That’s why the top plate is pushed back 1cm from the front - so it’s deep enough for the rear feet to fit on the plate. If you have a bigger cutting area, and bigger sheets of acrylic, you could adjust this.


There are 3 files, and I’ve provided each in two formats, SVG and PDF:

  • LaptopStand-Sides-v3.0.pdf - the two sides
  • LaptopStand-Top-v3.0.pdf - the sloping top plate on which the computer rests
  • LaptopStand-Crossbars-v3.0: the slotted bars that hold the sides together

Customisations and improvements

A design problem inherent in all these tilted stands is that the force you apply when opening the laptop (or just if you accidentally push against it when open) can be enough to lift up the front of the laptop above the tabs that keep it in place, sending it skittering across your desk. I’ve tried to address this by having only a moderate angle, which improves stability, but I’d be interested to see what other solutions there are to this problem.

Acrylic and other materials are commonly sold pre-cut to A4 size sheets. This design requires sheets of about 22 cm x 30 cm. It would be more useful if it could be made from A4 sheets (but see note above about size constraints).


To be fair, this design is based on many others I’ve seen on Thingiverse and elsewhere. I’ve not listed it as a derivative, as there is not one single design I based it on.

More information

I’ve posted about this project on my blog here: http://andrewsleigh.com/projects/open-laptop-stand

You can see more photos on Flickr: http://www.flickr.com/photos/andrewsleigh/sets/72157629650528920/

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Please note that the SVGs in Inkscape are much smaller than the PDFs. Unluckily i recognized it after printing. I am still trying to figure out if that's Inkscape's problem or the file's.

OK, thanks for the heads up. I use Inkscape, but only because it's what we have installed on the computer that drives the laser. I made these files in Illustrator, and it seems the possibilities for confusion along that software path are numerous...