Someone gave me a DirectTv satellite dish a few months ago, and I wanted to make use of it, but I had no ideas at the time.
I've been using a number of different DIY laptop stands that worked, but didn't necessarily give me the comfort and level of functionality I wanted. I have this weird thing where I draw the computer's heat to my body and find myself in discomfort, but the thing is, I'm supposed to be writing screenplays for a living. I'm neurotic, so I can't sit at a desk to save my life. Anyway, I've always craved a laptop stand that would be able to hang over me in more casual position. Now, that I have a tablet, this is even more so for artistic purposes.
So, I noticed cybergaps laptop stand, which was kewl, but lacked some of my specific needs, but it was always on my mind. I didn't necessarily have the right parts on hand, but I was frothing.
That is when I noticed my neighbors had an extra dish that I guess had fallen from their home, so I after a week or two, I finally mustered the courage to ask them for it. They are an old Spanish speaking couple, so I brought over my arm of my dish to show them what I meant, which at first made the old woman's eyes grow. She called for one of her sons, and without much fuss, he said go ahead.
Step 1: Jack Neighbor's DirectTv Dishes for Parts - Okay, Don't Do This. Stuff You Need.
So, what we need for this instructable:
1. Failure, because trial and error is where the real genius comes in.
2. Two DirectTv Dishes with mounts and arms.
3. 25lb weight and 5 lb weight
5. Plastic Drawer Handles
6. 1/2' Wood Screws
7. Plumbers Tape - Metal Tape With Holes
8. Assorted Nuts and Bolts that mostly come from the dishes themselves.
1. Electric Jigsaw
2. Drill with Titanium Bits
3. 7/16 wrench
Step 2: A Few Steps on One PAGE!
First thing we need to do is connect the two arms from each dish to create a branch. Long end to elbow to short end to short end to long elbow. Using one of the couplings that is used to mount the satellite's mount, I was able to connect to the two arms.
Secondly, it is time to trace your laptop on a piece of plywood. Now we need to cut that sucker. Then we have to mount that plywood tray to the bottom of are metal arms using four wood screws. Now we need to add the plastic drawer handles.
@I just added an air vent on the wood panel, so my laptop fan can have full range. This is a must.
The next challenge was to create a mount for existing parts, so that the weight of the laptop stand would be balanced, but this is where things got sketchy.
The incarnations started out with a parts from a lamp that I had dismantled, which had a 10lb base weight that I thought looked right because of the shape. Check out my goof as I created this aesthetically beastly incarnation, which failed to support any real weight.
Step 3: FAILURE and How I Was Crushed.
I was crushed. It stood up, but failed under any weight. I was slightly annoyed and frustrated, but never deterred. I'm the kind of person that works on something until he makes it work, no matter what.
My neurotic brain constantly creates reasons why I can't write in comfort, so not having this stand working started to eat at me and my writing duties.
I tore it back apart and looked at my pieces, noticing the neighbors mount being a bit more sturdy and bigger with mounting holes, so I decided it would become my new mount for the base.
Step 4: Drill Baby, DRILL!
I decided to sacrifice one of my 25lbs weights to the madness. My drill is a 9.6volt black and decker re-chargeable and has no power, so this was probably the most arduous part of this creation. It took me a number of days to man through the wrought iron weight, having to re-charge my drill frequently. I eventually drilled two holes. I still haven't drilled the other two, because well, I need to get to work. So many projects.
Looking at the mount, I realized I had to drill another hole for a bracing bolt. I drilled and was successful, but the failure wasn't to leave me yet.
Step 5: Configurations After Configuration and Then Success!
As I tried the new mount, the configuration was still off, the laptop leaning over and laying in my lap, so I went back to work.
I finally figured out the last configuration that seemed to balance everything perfectly. I even found a spot for my secondary weight. I am so happy as I type this. The raised hands over the keyboard feels like I'm flying a spaceship of my own design. :)