Introduction: Laptop Bubble Stand

Picture of Laptop Bubble Stand

Everyone is always making laptop stands that, albeit functional, are rather hideous to look at. This becomes less than ideal when you consider that typically, when the laptop is not on the stand, you have to look at it. I wanted to fix this problem by making a laptop stand that was sleek, stylish, inexpensive and kept my laptop cool. With this in mind, I arrived at wicked cool laptop stand that can be made for under $10. The best part is that not only is it cheap, but it's also dead easy to make.

Main image courtesy of Sarah.

Step 1: Go Get Stuff

Picture of Go Get Stuff

You will need:

A 16" x 16" sheet of 1/8" acrylic (this leaves a little room for margins/scrap)
A heat gun
A ruler
Oven mitts
Two table clamps
A workbench
Some plywood scrap
A laser cutter

(if you don't have a laser cutter, you can download the file in the next step and have a service like Ponoko cut it for you.)

Step 2: Prepare to Cut

Picture of Prepare to Cut

Peel the protective material off both sides of your acrylic. Position it correctly in the laser cutter and close the lid.

Download the file attached below and open it in Corel Draw.

Step 3: Cut

Picture of Cut

I am using a 75 Watt Epilog laser cutter with the following print settings:

Cut type: Vector
Power: 100
Speed: 20
Frequency: 5000

To start cutting my material, I simply hit the green button on the machine and then babysit the machine for twenty minutes while it does its thing.

Step 4: Poke

Picture of Poke

Poke out all of the circles that haven't fallen out on their own. Since there are so many and some are quite small, you can hold the acrylic up to a source of light to determine which holes still need to be opened up. I find a very thin screwdriver or thumb tack works well for poking the circles out of the really small holes.

Step 5: Clamp, Measure and Bend

Picture of Clamp, Measure and Bend

Place a piece of plywood over top of your acrylic. Clamp your acrylic and plywood sandwich to your work bench such that 1" of acrylic is sticking over the edge (and no plywood is). Measure carefully on both corners of your material to make certain that 1" is truly hanging over.

Heat up the 1" strip of acrylic with your heat gun, by moving it back and forth along its surface until it visibly starts to droop. The acrylic is now very hot. Put on your oven mitts and bend the acrylic down towards the floor to a 90 degree angle and hold it in place until it starts to cool and maintain this shape on its own. Let go and wait a few more minutes for it to cool more.

Step 6: Second Bend

Picture of Second Bend

The next bend is done the same way as the first, but this time you are measuring 4" from the table. The other thing to keep in mind is that there is now a 1" lip pointing up, so you will need a piece of plywood less than 10" long (as not to press down on the lip you just made when you clamp it).

Step 7: Fix Mistakes

Picture of Fix Mistakes

Bending acrylic by this method isn't always the most precise. Invariably, you are going to make a mistake or two, especially on the 1" fold.

My 1" fold came out very crooked. To fix it, I just re-heated it and clamped it under even pressure two times. This got it to a reasonable state. If I did it a few more times, it would probably have been even better.

Step 8: Add Laptop

Picture of Add Laptop

Put your laptop on it and make certain that it works.

Comments

gabbygabs2 (author)2016-01-07

Very Classy, Love it..

manfredpw (author)2014-02-28

Simple idea and beautiful design.

But laser cutter, i don't know, so much expensive.

I think it's totally possible make it with other (less expensive) tools.

But i agree: very nice work.

Tks for sharing.

rwilliams234 (author)2009-05-16

Daen, I left my laser cutter in my other pants!

Mr. Thumbs (author)rwilliams2342009-05-26

Alrighttt - We have a reader with the right idea - let us see who among us can make an inexpensive instructable laser cutter. Can it be done? At a low cost and with our ingenuity?

mguima (author)Mr. Thumbs2012-11-04

If you were born in Planet Krypton, you could do it with your eyes.

randofo (author)rwilliams2342009-05-17

You must wear some pretty big pants. A laser cutter weighs a few hundred pounds.

professorred (author)randofo2009-07-05

The one in my mind is much lighter. It does not weigh anything.

MRedu (author)2011-12-28

This is by far the best laptop stand on instructables (there's a lot of them).

mvan heemst (author)2011-12-12

Can I buy one from you? I would like a clear one (not clear blue, just plain clear) I would buy one for $30 including shipping. You are right! No one else makes one that looks as good as yours.

Klayton Kress (author)2010-12-30

What does the red button on the wall do. It makes me curious and I have the urge to press the button. On a side note great instructable

pingo6 (author)Klayton Kress2011-03-07

do you mean in like a tech ed room? do not push the button!!! it is an emergency elctrical button that if pushed will shut off power to the WHOLE room. like if someone gets their arm stuck in a woodchipper

ostomesto (author)pingo62011-03-13

my school's workshop has that. It reminds me off the game dont press the red button. BUT ITS SO TEMPTING TO PRESS THE RED BUTTOM

The nerdling (author)ostomesto2011-09-22

my school's workshop has one too, but it is so crap, you don't need the key to turn it on; you just push it down then pull out and hehy presto power!!

DONALDTMCKINNEY (author)2011-08-16

Has anyone used Ponoko to do the laser cutting yet? What kind of a price?

mg0930mg (author)2010-10-17

To everyone complaining about not having a laser cutter. Ask around, your local high school or college may have one, and cut it for you. Also search for laser cutting business on google. You may be able to find one near you. Good luck.

Randofo, great instructable, I love how it looks.

theawesomeninja (author)mg0930mg2011-06-27

Not many laser cutters where I'm from, surprising considering my proximity to silicone valley!

mg0930mg (author)theawesomeninja2011-06-27

Then it looks like you should go to ponoko or some similar service.

thepelton (author)mg0930mg2011-01-31

I have one. I'm in Colorado Springs. My Email is donaldpelton@gmail.com

BBurak (author)2011-06-13

Really perfect. Good luck with your works.

pingo6 (author)2011-03-07

i dont think a laser cutter is under 10 bucks

randofo (author)pingo62011-03-07

You don't already have one?

pingo6 (author)randofo2011-03-12

why would i? i dont really need one. plus you cant cut stuff too thick.

ultrauber (author)2009-05-20

If you didn't have a laser cutter, you could just use gigantic drill bits, right?

sethcim (author)ultrauber2011-03-12

You could probably use hole saws.

ItsTheHobbs (author)ultrauber2009-07-23

Yes, but be REALLY careful... Don't want it to crack...

mg0930mg (author)2010-10-17

You can't spell...or read.
It said for most lasers.

Alyakpink (author)mg0930mg2010-10-27

ok well im sorry. all i said was: "ya, $3000, real cheap!" u ddnt need 2 comment on tht at all.
PS: i accidentally clicked remove above 4 the comment so ya thts y it says "removed by author or community request"

mg0930mg (author)Alyakpink2010-10-28

You didn't need to comment on this either, then why did you? That's a stupid point to bring up.

j03tv (author)2010-08-08

Please put "Using a laser cutter" in the title of your instructable. Most people dont have a laser cutter which makes this project far from affordable and nowhere near $10/

anres321 (author)j03tv2010-09-15

I aggree :D

randofo (author)j03tv2010-08-08

As it states in step 1:

(if you don't have a laser cutter, you can download the file in the next step and have a service like Ponoko cut it for you.)

Again, that is ponoko.com. It may cost slightly more than $10 to have them cut it, but not much more.

I'm not going to put it in the title. I don't have a welder, but I don't go around complaining on every single welding projects that I don't have the tool and it needs to be branded as such. If I want something welded, then I figure out how to get access to a welder or have someone weld it for me. I don't go around complaining to the person who has made something with their welder about how I can never do their project because I don't own one.

Templarix47 (author)2009-08-22

Under $10? How bout the laser?

randofo (author)Templarix472009-08-22

I already had the laser, heat gun and clamps. Doesn't everyone?

x z i t (author)randofo2010-03-16

nobody has a laser cutter!

Templarix47 (author)randofo2009-08-22

Nope! That's just me but how bout everybody else who doesnt have those things? Just buy those just to make a laptop stand and then never use them again? But still cool instructable.

stephenniall (author)2009-12-24

Ive been looking at laptop stands and ive had the same problem as you there all ugly !

Im going to cut one like this but at the back im going to cut room for 4 usb ports (from a usb hub) a fan and a wireless card antenna Hopefully ! 

Now to bribe our schools Technology teacher to let me use the laser cutter , Shouldnt be too hard

bowmaster (author)stephenniall2010-01-17

How to persuade a tech teacher.
Pick one:
A: $500 cash.
B: Give them the latest piece of Japanese tech.
C: Hit them with a $10 wrench.

Ender Wiggin (author)bowmaster2010-02-04

 Sounds like C is the most effective (and cheapest) option!

bowmaster (author)Ender Wiggin2010-02-04

Actually, a is most likely to work, C is the least.

323maderas (author)2009-09-25

If you bent/folded in 3/4 inch or 1 inch at the bottom of the back of the stand, it wouldn't cut into your legs when you put it on your lap. Also would be very easy to velcro-mount a usb hub to the backside of that, keeping it handy without flopping around. Or a couple of small clips to run your wires (power cable, network cable, usb cables) together to one side. Just ideas...

porcupinemamma (author)2009-09-14

wondering the same thing as cmyk

randofo (author)porcupinemamma2009-09-14

Yes. You should get special acrylic drill bits to prevent cracking. I've seen them up to 1/2"

immadoc (author)2009-06-04

seriously, you could start an ebay store with this...

ki10 (author)immadoc2009-07-30

Or Etsy. Great work. I would totally buy this, since I'd have to get the holes done anyway.

pavadrin (author)2009-05-14

can you cut the acrylic with hole saws and drill bits? i know this will take longer but i do not have access to a laser cutter and are unsure whom could cut this (i am in australia, on the forgotten side =] )
cheers

bikerbob2005 (author)pavadrin2009-05-14

A brand new hole saw will work. The worst thing for the acrylic is heat build up, water works as a coolant. Also saws tend to tear/stretch acrylic so work slowly. I like to clamp the acrylic between thin wood to drill/saw keeps chipping to a minimum.

DrBlind (author)bikerbob20052009-05-18

that is a fantastic idea, and it makes it a lot cheaper for those of us without lazer pants, thanks bikerbob. Great instructable, thanks for sharing, have you tried gluing two sheets of acrylic together to make a multi color stand (you know like in jr high shop class when you made a weird 6 sided dice)?

professorred (author)DrBlind2009-07-05

BTW, on your planet, how many sides do dice have?

DrBlind (author)professorred2009-07-06

"like in jr high shop class when you made a weird 6 sided dice"

pavadrin (author)bikerbob20052009-05-14

okay thanks for the reply, so something like mdf board will be okay? (the cardboard like plywood) thanks

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Bio: My name is Randy and I founded the Instructables Design Studio. I'm also the author of the books 'Simple Bots,' and '62 Projects to ... More »
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