Introduction: Space Saver Laptop Dock for IKEA Office Desks

About: I'm a Mechanical Engineer turned IT Professional and Author. I came into the Information Technology world because someone challenged me to. But at heart, I'm still a grease monkey with no desire to lose touch …

I made a few quick changes to my home office so that my laptop camera faced the wall and not towards the rest of the house to avoid any Zoom gaffes or distractions. This meant moving to a smaller desk with a laptop and a monitor. I was shopping for a monitor stand but couldn't find anything that would help me dock the laptop alongside my monitor, and I didn't want to buy a second monitor. Therefore, I gave myself this challenge to design and build a dock myself and in the process also achieve the following:

  1. Tweak my 3D Printers to print strong and usable nuts and bolts - this is one of the most painful aspects of practical 3D printing
  2. Avoid another Order Now Click on Amazon and save myself from buying another piece of needless equipment if I can avoid it
  3. Make some space on a small desk without having to move my laptop every time

Step 1: Functional Requirements

  1. bring the laptop screen to the eye-level and minimize neck strain
  2. work with the tiny IKEA office desk - and free up considerable space on the desk
  3. have no holes drilled into the desk to make the dock fit
  4. mount on that large, unsightly wire conduit hole visible on the desk
  5. blend with the desk - basically be all Black
  6. be a bolt on, bolt off set up using threaded knobs & bolts
  7. be stronger than a normally created 3D Print
  8. be 90-95% 3D printed - if something broke or needed improvement, I should be able to print a replacement!

I've been trying to be a minimalist and not type too much. Instead, you can watch Part 1 of the YouTube video on my channel to see how the dock actually works.

Step 2: The Fusion 360 Design Overview

I designed this in Fusion 360 and the whole concept is pretty simple in nature

  1. The main bracket #1 rests on the Hole Adapter #2 that is pressed into the conduit hole in the IKEA desk
  2. A large Main Bolt #3 with a collar on the top-end runs through the bracket #1 and adapter #2
  3. An X-Brace #4 is used on the underside of the desk to hold the assembly together with the help of two large nuts.
  4. Two large and identical nuts #5 provide friction grip when tightened on the top side and underside of the desk
  5. The nuts don't have to be tightened a large deal because the mating surfaces have large amounts of friction. Normal hand tightening to the point where the dock will stop swiveling about is sufficient.
  6. The laptop actually mounts on to the Laptop Adapters #6 that are bolted on to the main bracket #1 from the underside of this bracket
  7. The adapters #6 should work with most 15 inch corporate laptops (such as Dell or HP) that have a narrow profile as demonstrated in the Part 1 video

I've now been using this dock for more than 4 months and it's still in active service without any major problems.

Step 3: Results First, Details Later!

The pictures show the end results! You can watch the Part 1 video to see the whole thing in action.

The whole assembly is almost 100% 3D printed - no holes drilled into the desk!

The Laptop screen is at the same eye level as the second monitor.

Obviously we lose the use of the laptop keyboard and mouse - that could be mitigated by a wireless keyboard & mouse.

Around the back, there are 3 wires (in my case, the laptop power cable, the HDMI cable, and the USB wired headphones) running to the laptop - undocking the laptop is pretty much an easy effort.

Finally, the laptop can be folded down to a more stable position if you wish to before leaving your desk.

Step 4: Coming Soon! Part 2

In an upcoming Part 2 video, I will be touching on a bit more detail on the 3D printing considerations, assembly, and set up of the Space saver laptop.

The STL files have been attached to this IBLE. I hope you will take the time to 3D print and set up your own if you have a standard IKEA home office desk.

Thank you and be safe!