I usually carry a laptop computer with me when I travel to keep in touch, and to check what things are worth before buying them at estate sales, yard sales or bidding in auctions. I have a broadband access card for the laptop, so I can get online from anywhere. I've always wanted a built-in laptop / notebook computer tray for my truck. The commercially made units are pricey though. Several models I have looked at cost close to $300. Ouch! I suppose I could make one like the commercially made units, but they are made of metal, and I'm not much of a metal-worker. The commercially made units also bolt to the floor and take time and tools to install and remove. I always thought there had to be a better way.
One day I had a brainstorm. I figured out a quick and easy way to build a laptop tray for my Tacoma that only cost a little over $30! That's 1/10 of what the commercially made units cost! And it only took me an afternoon to build it. This instructable will show you how I did it. Please Visit my web site for more information on this and my other projects.
Before you all start writing me and saying how unsafe it is to use the computer while driving, don't panic. I don't use it while driving. I use it while stopped, usually at sales. It's a lot more convenient than trying to balance it on my lap or the armrest.
Step 1: Brainstorming
I drew up my idea. It looked good, but I needed to know what size PVC pipe to use. I measured the inside diameter of the cup-holder and found that it is almost exactly the same size as the outside diameter of a 2 inch PVC pipe coupler. So the tray would be made of 2 inch PVC pipe and fittings.