Step 7: Other Thoughts

The most noticeable area of improvement is the joints. They have to be tightened fairly tight to stay put, and this puts a lot of strain on the relatively soft wood. The commercial stands have ribbed disks that go between the two sides to lock the joints in place, and therefore use less pressure. If you can make something similar, or find something cheap, let me know.

Update: view Supafly's comment below for the "leg-nail" mod. Supposedly it works great, and it seems the best/easiest way to assure no slipping. Thanks supafly! If you can't find his comment below, then here's a basic description: Drill holes in the bottom leg starting near the joint and going out along the leg. When you assemble the leg and open the joint, you can put a nail in one of the holes and it'll stop the upper leg from sinking. You can move the nail from one hole to another to accommodate different angles, and you can remove the nail to allow the whole thing to collapse.

The length of the legs will be determined by your stomach size, arm length, and how comfortable you want to be. I make it as short as will fit over my gut. If you wanted to get creative, you could cut out the portion of the lip/tray that touches your stomach, as long as there is enough lip on either side to hold the laptop from sliding off. A small indent like this may give you an inch or so (till the laptop is resting on your stomach), which may make a difference in comfort.

If you make one, please post up and let us know how long it took, how much it cost, and what it's like to use it. If you have suggestions, post them up. Good luck!
where does the air flow pass through for heat build up?
jumpfroggy (author)  ladyharley056 years ago
It depends on your laptop, as each has different air vents for heat radiation/convection. On my laptop, the vents are on the sides & back. Since there are no sides or back (just a flat bottom) to this laptop stand, this laptop stand design works perfectly for my laptop. If your laptop is designed this way, there is no "heat buildup" unless a fan is broken or something is stuck in one of the air vents. Some laptops, however, have a single air-intake port on the bottom. If this is blocked, then the laptop has a hard time cooling itself. This is horrible design, since most of the time a laptop is used it will be on a flat hard surface. It is even worse when it's used on a soft surface like a bed (since then the port is completely obstructed and the heating issue is worse). If you have a poorly designed laptop like this, I'd recommend figuring out where the air intake/exhaust ports are and cutting some holes for those areas. A few of the other builders have posted pics of this type of modification, I'd look to those for examples. I'm not trying to be condescending about your hardware; I know you didn't design your laptop, so any deficiencies are not your fault. They are the fault of bad laptop designers/manufacturers (of which there seem to be a whole lot). I have both a Core 2 Duo 2.4ghz laptop and an old G3 powerbook, neither has any trouble cooling itself. However, many laptops I've worked on or fixed do have cooling issues, and it's amazing that manufacturers are fine creating such garbage. The fact that there's such a huge marking for "laptop cooling pads" points to one thing; badly designed hardware. Sorry for my mini-rant, I'm off of my soapbox now.
yeah...I have a Sony FZ490 and it's a great laptop but the heat build up is awful. I took one mod... took a CPU fan (the 12 volt obviously wouldn't work) and wired it to a USB cable and I have the lap top on two 4x10 blocks of wood on each side of the laptope with the cpu fan blowing up towards the hard drive which is underneath the vicinity of the touchpad... I'm going to be building the PVC stand which I think is cool as heck. I paid enough money for this laptop and should have gotten an a different one for less money. This sony is dual core, 2G mem ..... I appreciate what you had to say :-) The fan blows out the left side but the vents are underneath...
jumpfroggy (author)  ladyharley056 years ago
I would definitely cut a hole right beneath the intake vent, and it'd be very easy to add a slimline fan underneath there screwed onto the bottom. If you USB powered it, it'd be running at 5v instead of 12v and would run very slow, but very quiet... that's a good thing in my book. I'd look at the 70mm x 15mm fans or something similar, and pay attention to the noise rating (dB)... I just got one from svc.com, it's loud! Good luck, post up pics once you build!
thanks...absolutely! :-) thanks for your input