Introduction: How I Converted a Cube Cart Into a Dual Over/Under Laptop Stand (w/cooling Pad)

My subconscious was already searching for solutions for two problems: A new lower-profile cooling platforming for my ageing gaming/development laptop, and a stand that would accommodate two laptops, more or less vertically, with screens open. A storage unit clean-out set the wheels in motion. Read on...

Step 1: 'Find' Inspiration:

Finding this Cube Cart lid in my storage cruft tipped a brain flag. I'd never rally needed/used the lid, and the pattern and low-profile rigid surface might be ideal for a laptop cooling pad? And could I exploit this model further for the vertical laptop stand?!...

Step 2: What About the Virtical Notebook Stand...

My 2nd, lesser-used Ideapad needed more love than it had got to date, living its days stacked below its' elder Sager. Still, that Lenovo had showcaseable qualities, including a touch screen, and 360deg screen hinge. It could be staged vertically!

Ahh! The cart - w/the broken handle!

Having seen better days and having a busted-out handle assembly, my over-used classic Cube Cart gets a quick dose of repurposing. Its parts could be salvageable, along with that original lid from the storage unit.

Step 3: Breaking Down the Bits...

Ok, So far, I was feeling it, but I needed tactiles, and 3D visuals - a tear-down/disassembly was in order:

You will need:

  • heavy needle-nose pliers
  • some attitude

That Cube Cart itself was still in the trunk/boot of my vehicle, but seldom put into service due to overuse hauling 50# jugs of water across graveled campgrounds and other abuses, and a broken handle assembly.

I figured I could sacrifice the cart as a whole, but salvage additional parts for the cause - that is the base and the front panel.

Heavy pliers helped pull the plastic pins from the side hinges and now I had core components:

  • lid
  • bottom panel
  • front panel

Now, a bit of re-plasti-factoring would allow these components to assemble into a new purpose.

Step 4: Hand Re-Tooling

Some cutting, drilling, snapping, filing, and gluing was in order to prepare surfaces to fit together.

You might need:

  1. a marker
  2. a box cutter
  3. a hack saw w/fine-tooth blade and/or
  4. a trim saw w/fine-tooth or metal cutoff blade - for panel trimming
  5. pliers for snapping extraneous plastic tabs
  6. a wood file for smoothing cut plastic edges
  7. ~1" chunks of wood (or MDF in my case) and
  8. all-purpose adhesive - for spacers

You will spend most of your time refashioning the front panel. I found that it had several inside tabs and other bits that would get in the way of laptop snugness or access, but easily removed. (see the photos)

The most notable trim was that of the roughly top third of the front panel. Fine-toothed 3 3/8" trim-saw blades proved difficult to procure, but a friend gave me a metal cutoff wheel which worked great. Note I needed to ream the arbor hole to size, but this is easily done w/a cone bit or heavy blade.

I also trimmed sides from the top 2" to accommodate power and output plugs/cables (with no loss of rigidity), but your requirements may differ.

Step 5: Fit and Finish

Rarely is a DIY project complete without at least one trip to your favorite home improvement/hardware'ish retail habitat. This one not being an exception, I decide I'd need some thin/stiff metal supports for the vertical bit.

You may need:

  • a couple of pan-head machine screws
  • 2 3"x7" tie plates ($.96/eh @ THD)
  • a handful of pan-head machine screws -or-
  • double-sticky tape or screws/bolts/washers

Now, that cut-down, snipped, and filed front-panel needed to be afixed to that bottom panel, and then as a unit secured in a vertical fashion to that inverted lid-cum-cooling pad:

A couple of screws through base into the MDF spacers glued to the front panel secured them together nicely.

Next a pair of tie plates, hand-sadwiched into 90deg braces and a few nicely placed screws was all that was needed for vertical sturdiness. Trust, it helped that hing-side of the base fit nicely against the front side of the inverted lid, replete w/pre-engineered holes for cable access.

Note that a nicer finish would be had w/short bolts and cap nuts, especially for the fasteners coming up through the lid, but hardware was not at hand.

Step 6: The Reveal!

TaDaah! Project complete and put into service.

I am happy with these results and hope that you too find inspiration in repurposing gently abused plastic items :D