Monday, November 26, 2007

D.I.Y. MacBook Stand

Okay, this is pretty much the most awesome thing I've ever made.

My work MacBook gets really hot sitting on my desk. The world is full of ready-to-buy laptop stands. Buying one is boring and also a waste of 30 bucks of The Man's money.

I decided to make my own crawdad. Here's what I built:

Materials:
  • 4 large binder clips
  • 4 8 1/2 x 11" sheets of paper
Time:
  • Under 10 minutes
Instructions
  • Fold a sheet of paper along the short dimension into a strip of about 1 1/2"
  • Clip strip of paper between two binder clips, one at each end of strip.
  • Very important: Open chrome "handles" to their extended, "prayer" position so that assembly lays flat.
This will be the back edge of your stand. Position the clips under the space at the joint of your open MacBook. You should find that the rounded edge of the black metal fits satisfyingly into the space. The laptop should be elevated like so:


You can stop here, or go for the full elevation. This works best if you are using an external keyboard. I don't really know how well it will work under the duress of typing. Full elevation is a little more complex.
  • Repeat steps above for the front edge.
  • Fold last two sheets of paper as above.
  • You will now have to clip these side strips at 90 degrees between the clips at the end of your front and back strips.
The joint should look like this:


The finished product will look like this:


Awesome, huh!?

You will most likely find that the side strips are too long. Carefully fold them down until they are the right length. I suggest shortening them until the front binder clips sit about 2 inches or so from the front of the laptop.

The elevated front looks like this:


Notice the attractive elevation above the work surface! Your laptop will run cooler, and love you for it.

21 comments:

J T said...

That's more laptop "squat" than "stand".

Ms. Courtney said...

If it's really overheating I also tried putting my laptop on a couple of cold packs (cute little Hello Kitty ones were available this summer at Target for 2 for $1). I figured any condensation was going on my table and not up into my laptop (heat rises and all). My computer seemed to like it.

J T said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
J T said...

I run iStat to track temperatures of my Macbook(s). It's a sweet piece of software, and it's free. Get it here (ignore creepy domain name, its ok):

http://www.islayer.com/

t said...

ms. courtney: I like your idea. I'm a bit limited at work, with no ready access to refrigeration, but you're onto something. I'd love to get the temperature down a bunch lower.

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Anonymous said...

so... i think that you're spending way too much time trying to design something complex. when its even easier.
1.get 4 rubbermaid erasers.
2.place them at the corners however you want.
3. laugh at whoever is using large paper clip holders as a stand.
4. KISS - keep it simple, stupid!

J T said...

@anonymous,

We really appreciate your comments! But sadly, while I enjoy the snarky tone of your post, I find your analysis lacks depth, and your resulting solution is thus fatally flawed.

You need to consider the following:
* implementation vs maintenance
* materials at hand
* results

Your rubbermaid eraser solution certainly lowers implementation complexity, but ongoing maintenance costs far exceed your savings. A laptop implies mobility: your laptop will be moving around (daily), which means you'll be shoving little pink erasers around regularly (daily). A binder-clip implementation requires almost no tweaking, even when it goes with you. KISS is a double-edged sword.... over time, the binder clips win the long tail of the simplexity curve contest.

Pink erasers are also somewhat more difficult to come by in many enterprise work environments. Most Fortune 500 companies have binder clips in abundance, but the same cannot be said for rubbermaid pink erasers. Here in the big leagues we write in PEN.

Your naive analysis also assumes equivalent heat savings, which is (sadly) in error. You'll find the binder-clip based stand runs noticeably cooler. Install a tool like iStat to measure temperatures. It's a critical piece of the macbook cooling puzzle.

Thanks again for your comments! I think we'd all love to see you continue to work the problem. Keep those cards and letters coming!

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