During my 3rd tour in Iraq, about four years ago, I came upon some one-inch scrap copper strip and heavy-duty copper wiring that was lying on the ground. I used a hammer, bench vise, hacksaw, wire cutters, and a file to make what you see here: a laptop stand that allowed cooling air to run through my laptop, keeping it cool in 100º + temperatures.
Unfortunately, I don't have pictures of the build, but if you look at the pictures closely you can see it didn't take much to do it. There are five pieces altogether: two identical triangular pieces and three straight pieces, along with copper wire lashing to hold them together.
The copper stripping is approximately 1 inch wide by 1/8 inch (2.5 cm x 2.5mm) thick. It is normally used for electrical grounding. You can find mild steel of that size at your local steel yard pretty cheaply. Home Depot & Lowe's sell it too, but it's much more expensive there. Both materials are easy to work without heat and with basic tools.
The wire is solid copper 12 gauge (standard household wiring).
The dimensions of the triangle pieces are: 8.5 inches (21.5 cm) tall, 10.5 inches (~27 cm) deep, and 11 inches (28 cm) on the diagonal. Total length of each piece is approximately 31 inches (79 cm).
The straight pieces are of the same dimensional material, 13 inches (33 cm) in length.
The laptop in the photo is approximately 13.5 inches wide by 10 inches deep (when closed).
NOW, PUT IT TOGETHER!
I used the hammer and the anvil on the bench vise to straighten out the twisted copper strips. I bent one end into a rough triangular shape, then hammered the curves into each end. The difficult part was making the second end piece match the first. Once I massaged the second piece into a reasonable facsimile of the first, it was all downhill from there. It didn't take much to cut and straighten out the three straight pieces. I filed all the edges smooth and rounded off the corners.
Final assembly involved stripping the heavy copper wiring (watch your fingers!), then lashing the pieces together. The pieces fit fairly snugly, but allow for some adjustment. Hammer the ends of the wires out of your way, then place your laptop on it.
Voilá! You now have a laptop stand. Your laptop will run cooler and you get to look straight ahead at the screen, instead of down. It works best if you have a separate keyboard and mouse, as the keyboard ergonomics aren't so good. This can be made out of iron almost as easily as copper, and much more cheaply. I've had a few offers to sell this stand, but since it's my first, and made in the middle of The Sandbox, I'm kind of attached to it.
Enjoy making your stand. It's seriously simple to do!