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In the mid 1970s I got my first calculator - a Rockwell 21R. It was a simple five function calculator with a single memory and tiny LEDs. It was thrilling to own my own calculator, but within a couple of years it was obsolete and I was using much more sophisticated (for the time) scientific calculators. My guess is the Rockwell 21R calculator retailed for about $100, although it may have been more.

I also got a very nice adjustable wood stand for the calculator.



Now, 37 years later, (can it really be that long?) the calculator no longer works, but I'm still using its stand.

Step 1: Presto - a Cell Phone Stand

The calculator stand is just about perfect for my Smartphone. It holds it at a very decent viewing angle on my desk and makes it extremely easy to use.

Step 2: Okay, Well It's Not So Perfect

My old cell phone had its connectors on the side. My new phone has the microUSB power-data connector on the bottom of the phone.

Instead of drilling a hole in my calculator stand I decided to make a 'shim' out of LEGOs. A flat LEGOs rectangle forms the base and two sets of standard 2x4 LEGOs are positioned on the bottom of the phone with enough of a gap in the middle for the microUSB cable.

Step 3: Conclusions and Reusing Other Retro Technology.

The calculator-cell phone stand is as useful today as it was as a calculator stand a generation ago.

I use a 5.25" floppy disk drawer to hold CDs.

One of my previous Instructables described how to reuse an old power center.

Old composite video monitors can be hooked up to DVD players for simple entertainment in kids rooms or vacation homes.


For me it's not as practical, but others have converted old computer monitors and cases into trash cans and aquariums. I've seen pictures of one computer case which was converted into a BBQ smoker.


Every time you reuse a piece of old electronics you prevent it from ending up in a landfill.
Great repurposing of an old device! Brookstone would probably charge you $40 or $50 bucks for such a fashionable stand;-) To me this stand is begging for a steampunk makeover... $3 or $4 dollars on some brass corners, and you've got a really cool steampunk phone stand!

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Bio: Writer, engineer, techie. I've been using computers since the original Apple II in 1978 and have always been interested in technical topics. Check out ... More »
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