Introduction: Hand Truck to Cheap Portable Computer Stand (station)
I've built a CNC mill and have it on a bench now that can be rolled around the garage/driveway. I was going to put the computer under the bench but that presented a few issues... being under the CNC mill would result in a computer choked in dust. The computer would sit low and the CNC work surface it up high, I need to be standing so I can watch the computer and manually operate the CNC with the computer.
While I didn't want to, I knew it was going to be best to have a separate computer station from the CNC bench. So I needed something I could stand at, something portable but stable when in use, and lastly, cheap as possible and still be useful. While brain storming, I had the idea of using a simple hand truck, they are stable when upright, and very easy to move around.
Step 1: Group Photo of the Basics.
Once I had the very basic idea of using a hand truck, how do I pull it off? What luck, I couldn't sleep last night so I pondered how I would this, with cheap being an important factor. Once I had the game plan, was able to go to sleep.
I purchased the following items:
1 hand truck from Northern Tools, on sale so it was only $20.74 total.
2 utility shelf brackets, 10" in size, got them from Lowes.
1 plain white shelf that seemed like it would be large enough while in Lowes. $7.37 spent at Lowes.
I had self tapping screws on hand already for the CNC mill project.
Tools... hammer, drill with Phillips bit, some tape, bubble level, Monster Magnet Spine of God playing.
Step 2: Reshapping With Violance!
To shape the utility shelve brackets as needed, I laid the hand truck down and then started to hammer on the bracket to form it to the shape of the tube on the hand truck. I spent maybe 15 minutes total hammering until the longer legs of the utility brackets fit fairly nice around the tubes of the hand truck.
Step 3: Mounting Brackets to the Shelf.
With the brackets hammered out as needed, I put the hand truck upright. Place the shelf on the base of the hand truck and center it up. Put the brackets so that the hammered legs are flush to the hand truck, this will create a gap between the bracket and the shelf. Then put just one screw for each bracket at the ends, going into the self.
Once you get just the ends of the brackets mounted to the shelf, move the shelf away from the hand truck and let the brackets rest flat on the shelf and finish securing it with screws. I added a few extra screws. You can see how the utility bracket no longer has a flat surface in the second photo.
Step 4: Mounting the Self to the Hand Truck
I sized up where I wanted the shelf to be, then laid the hand truck down and put the shelf on it, wrapped a piece of tape around the bracket and hand truck to so it wouldn't fall right off, this frees up both hands. Using the self tapping screws and my drill with phillips bit, I ran screws though the bracket into the hand truck on on bracket.
After the first bracket is secured, put the hand truck upright and put a bubble level on the shelf, move the free bracket until the shelf is level and then secure the other bracket with self tapping screws.
The utility brackets have 3 holes on each leg, but I added some extra screws though the legs into the hand truck. With self tapping screws, this was a snap.
Step 5: $30 FTW.
BAM! Portable work station. The self is very solid feeling. I'll just put the computer on the bottom and secure with plumber's strap or something. With the computer tower on the hand truck, it will help keep it stable. I'll mount a keyboard to the white shelf and put some sort of mouse caddy so when I move it around stuff can't fall off. I've got about 25-ish minutes in this project.
I'll edit this later on when I get the monitor mounted up and post some final pictures. But I proud of how cheap/simple this was, wanted to share right away. I couldn't find on here were some one else had done it... to simple for me to be the first.
Step 6: The Money Shot.
An overall shot of the hand truck with the computer mounted up and ready to go. The side cover is off in the photo but fits on without issue. I can open up the computer case and clean out dust with compresses air in a snap.
The monitor has a base that folds flat against the back of it, and is just resting on the shelf, leaning back against the handle. There is nothing securing it (no hardware or screws). Rolling the hand truck around my garage isn't a problem. Loading it into a car or on my trailer might be, but how often does one move stuff like this across town?
Step 7: Little Details.
I ended up using electrical tape to secure the wires into place. Not how I would really want to do it, but it is dirt cheap and can be cut off to remove if needed.
The computer case is kept in place with a couple of L brackets and self tapping screws. There was just barely enough room inside the computer case for the screws I had to go though the case, but not into something important inside.
Might be nice to take an extension cord and cut off the female end and put it onto the power strip so it has a long cord that plugs right up, but that isn't a major concern right now.