Introduction: Space-Saving Monitor Stand

About: I tinker with things at Instructables.

All Raspberry Pi users understand the struggle of organizing the Pi's necessary peripherals (keyboard, external monitor, mouse, etc). I certainly do. Here at Instructables my entire desk space is filled with laptops and external monitors. Even if I manage to keep my desk tidy (a grand feat in and of itself), there is still limited space for other non-computer endeavors. That's why I built this external monitor desk stand for my Pi. An external monitor sits on top of the stand, but there is enough room underneath to fit an open laptop. Not using your laptop? Slip it into the stand's convenient shelf. It also has hooks on the back to organize all your cables. This stand is easy to build and a blessing to have. Your desk and coworkers will thank you.

Step 1: Collect Your Materials

For this project you will need:

  • (x1) 16" x 16" sheet of 1/8" acrylic
  • Acrylic glue
  • (x2) Command Wire hooks
  • (x2) table clamps
  • Measuring tape
  • A workbench
  • Lasercutter

(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: Design the Stand

I custom designed my stand to hold an LG LED 22MP56 external monitor on top and fit a 15" macbook pro below. The stand is 11" deep x 17" long x 12" high. The laptop shelf is 11" deep x 16.75" long x 2" high. I designed the stand in Inventor, converted the parts to a 2D drawing, and exported it as a PDF. I also decided to cut designs into my stand to give it some personality. You can design your own stand or download my file included here. If you download my file, open it in Adobe Illustrator.

Step 3: Cut

I cut the pieces with 150 Watt Epilog laser cutter tuned to the following settings:

  • Cut type: Vector
  • Power: 90
  • Speed: 20
  • Frequency: 5000

Step 4: Prepare the Pieces

I carefully removed excess acrylic from the decorations. It was helpful to loosen extra material with my hands before poking out finer details with a pencil. I peeled away the protective material on both sides of my pieces and wiped the edges clean with a soft cloth. Clean edges help acrylic pieces bond better.

Step 5: Glue the Legs to the Shelf

I placed one leg of the stand flat on a work table and fit the shelf piece into the leg's slot. I clamped the shelf piece to a right angle bracket to ensure it stood perpendicular to the leg.

I used acrylic cement to glue the two pieces together. It is best to suck a little acrylic cement into a syringe. Acrylic cement is very viscous, or runny. This means you can apply minimal pressure to the plunger to create a continuous stream of cement. Position the tip of the syringe at one end of the joint's seam, apply gentle pressure to the plunger, and quickly pull the syringe along the length of the seam. Let the new connection dry for at least 15 minutes before cementing the other leg.

Use any random item to support the first leg when connecting the second leg to the shelf. This will keep the leg from snapping off while its bond is new and weak.

Step 6: Glue the Supports

Use the cementing technique described in the previous step to glue triangular support pieces between the legs and the shelf.

Step 7: Don't Do This!

I accidentally added too much cement to one of my joints, and this is what happened! If you want a clear and clean monitor stand, make sure to apply just enough (but not too much) acrylic cement.

Step 8: Glue the Hook Platform

I marked the center of the shelf and hook pieces with a pencil, aligned the two marks, and glued the pieces together. Make sure to the hook and support pieces are on the same side of the stand. This will be the back of the stand. I also recommend slipping extra pieces of acrylic under the two opposite ends of your stand (as shown in the picture here), so the stand won't wobble while you glue.

Step 9: Glue the Top

Finally, glue the top of the stand to the rest of the structure.

Step 10: Attach Cable Hooks

I attached command strips to two hooks and mounted them to the stand's back panel. I eye-balled their placement to make sure they were in line with each other.

Step 11: Work on Your Laptop

Work on your laptop while it sits underneath your external monitor.

Step 12: Stow Your Laptop Away

Slide your laptop onto the shelf to clear room for other projects.