Insulating Laptop Pad





Introduction: Insulating Laptop Pad

About: Building energy efficiency/construction industry consultant; woodworker; casual (not hard core) cyclist.

When using a notebook/laptop computer actually in your lap, the heat buildup can get annoying. This pad is meant to insulate you from the computer-generated heat, while still allowing it to dissipate heat from below.

Step 1: Cut the Insulation

I used extruded polystyrene (XPS) insulation board (the pink stuff; the blue stuff and green stuff are similar). I would not recommended expanded polystyrene (EPS) board--the white coffee cup foam--it tends to crumble when cut.

Note that you can cut XPS by scoring it about halfway, and snapping it.

Step 2: Cut Dimple Mat

I am in the building research field, so I have some of this plastic 'dimple mat' hanging around my lab. This product is typically used to waterproof foundations--it creates a drained air space, so that any water that gets in drains out.

The idea for this piece is to space the laptop off of the insulation board, with a ventilated air space underneath. Admittedly, you can use a laptop on a table or a bed without a problem, but I figure more cooling=better.

The dimple mat comes from a company called Cosella Dorken; another company that makes a similar product is System Platon. Unfortunately, you might have a hard time finding it--I have seen Platon at only a few Home Depots. It also comes in big rolls--way too much for the project.

A similar product that you might be able to use is Dri-Cor; I have definitely seen this at a lot of Home Depots--it is 2'x2' squares that you lay down on your basement floor, to create a warmer/dryer floor.

Step 3: Attach It Together

I used rubber bands for this--I originally planned to glue it (using foam board safe construction adhesive/Liquid Nails), but the rubber bands seem to work well enough.

Step 4: Done! (and Notes)

This is what it should look like when done.

Ideas for improvements:

- Non-skid material so the laptop doesn't slip off (hasn't proven to be necessary yet)

- Cloth cover, to improve user interface portion (sweat buildup, etc.)

- If you have one of those recalled Dells or Apples, you might consider adding a layer of 5/8" Type X Drywall (one hour fire rating). Or maybe Kevlar.



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    12 Discussions

    I tried to make a notebook pad that I could use professionally while travelling but decided it was just easier to buy one. I decided on a ThermaShield RFI because it protects from radio waves (WiFi, Bluetooth) as well as heat.

    It is lghtweight, portable, does not use batteries, and packs easily for my travel. It keeps my notebook computer and lap cool. Anyway, that's my 2 cents!

    nice work fella i used a plastic breadboard covered in 3 layers of tinfoil then wound up with duck tape works a treat and keeps microwaves off ya nuts!

    studies have shown that heat from laptops (if you use them on your lap) causes lower sperm counts. So, good work.

    4 replies

    Actually There have been a Good number of Laptop batteries exploding inside of the laptop and destroying it because the battery was insulated.It would probably be wise to add a heatsink to this insulator.

    a hole could be cut in the center of the styrofoam/plastic and one of these ( USB powered fans could be put in there to help keep your laptop cooled (for it's own health). Then when you put your laptop on the thing, you just plug in the usb fan, you and the laptop stay cool and healthy.

    I have a tray thing that does that exact job here at home. Its made out of alloy and has two fans built into the bottom of it. It also has two USB ports on it that stops you from losing a usb from plugging this device in. It isnt designed very well however as it was made to sit on your desk and not on your lap so its very uncomfortable, i think your idea would work much better than this one. Thanks for a great instructable buddy. Great work.

    How about a dimple mat (Or simular substance) sandwich? Assuming you don't have one of those light up laptops. After all the stuff vents and drains right? Oh and for a cover a spandex sleave would work nicely. As I knew a guy in the 90's that used the stuff in a hack that allowed him to wedge his portible CD player using foam rubber in his VW van dash. He even included wire access in the back to hook up to his car stereo. Besides it can come in so many colors

    Our local dollar store has plastic tiles at$1 each. 12x12 and interlocking they would make an idea mat.

    I would certainly want to cover the foam with something to prevent (possibly toxic) bits from shredding off. Might also extend the life of the foam.

    great first instructable