Laptop Bubble Stand

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About: My name is Randy and I am a Community Manager in these here parts. In a previous life I had founded and run the Instructables Design Studio (RIP) @ Autodesk's Pier 9 Technology Center. I'm also the author ...

Everyone is always making laptop stands that, albeit functional, are rather hideous to look at. This becomes less than ideal when you consider that typically, when the laptop is not on the stand, you have to look at it. I wanted to fix this problem by making a laptop stand that was sleek, stylish, inexpensive and kept my laptop cool. With this in mind, I arrived at wicked cool laptop stand that can be made for under $10. The best part is that not only is it cheap, but it's also dead easy to make.

Main image courtesy of Sarah.

Step 1: Go Get Stuff

You will need:

A 16" x 16" sheet of 1/8" acrylic (this leaves a little room for margins/scrap)
A heat gun
A ruler
Oven mitts
Two table clamps
A workbench
Some plywood scrap
A laser cutter

(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: Prepare to Cut

Peel the protective material off both sides of your acrylic. Position it correctly in the laser cutter and close the lid.

Download the file attached below and open it in Corel Draw.

Step 3: Cut

I am using a 75 Watt Epilog laser cutter with the following print settings:

Cut type: Vector
Power: 100
Speed: 20
Frequency: 5000

To start cutting my material, I simply hit the green button on the machine and then babysit the machine for twenty minutes while it does its thing.

Step 4: Poke

Poke out all of the circles that haven't fallen out on their own. Since there are so many and some are quite small, you can hold the acrylic up to a source of light to determine which holes still need to be opened up. I find a very thin screwdriver or thumb tack works well for poking the circles out of the really small holes.

Step 5: Clamp, Measure and Bend

Place a piece of plywood over top of your acrylic. Clamp your acrylic and plywood sandwich to your work bench such that 1" of acrylic is sticking over the edge (and no plywood is). Measure carefully on both corners of your material to make certain that 1" is truly hanging over.

Heat up the 1" strip of acrylic with your heat gun, by moving it back and forth along its surface until it visibly starts to droop. The acrylic is now very hot. Put on your oven mitts and bend the acrylic down towards the floor to a 90 degree angle and hold it in place until it starts to cool and maintain this shape on its own. Let go and wait a few more minutes for it to cool more.

Step 6: Second Bend

The next bend is done the same way as the first, but this time you are measuring 4" from the table. The other thing to keep in mind is that there is now a 1" lip pointing up, so you will need a piece of plywood less than 10" long (as not to press down on the lip you just made when you clamp it).

Step 7: Fix Mistakes

Bending acrylic by this method isn't always the most precise. Invariably, you are going to make a mistake or two, especially on the 1" fold.

My 1" fold came out very crooked. To fix it, I just re-heated it and clamped it under even pressure two times. This got it to a reasonable state. If I did it a few more times, it would probably have been even better.

Step 8: Add Laptop

Put your laptop on it and make certain that it works.

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    119 Discussions

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    gabbygabs2

    2 years ago

    Very Classy, Love it..

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    manfredpw

    4 years ago on Introduction

    Simple idea and beautiful design.

    But laser cutter, i don't know, so much expensive.

    I think it's totally possible make it with other (less expensive) tools.

    But i agree: very nice work.

    Tks for sharing.

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    Alrighttt - We have a reader with the right idea - let us see who among us can make an inexpensive instructable laser cutter. Can it be done? At a low cost and with our ingenuity?

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    mguimaMr. Thumbs

    Reply 6 years ago on Step 3

    If you were born in Planet Krypton, you could do it with your eyes.

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    randoforwilliams234

    Reply 9 years ago on Step 3

    You must wear some pretty big pants. A laser cutter weighs a few hundred pounds.

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    MRedu

    6 years ago on Introduction

    This is by far the best laptop stand on instructables (there's a lot of them).

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    mvan heemst

    6 years ago on Introduction

    Can I buy one from you? I would like a clear one (not clear blue, just plain clear) I would buy one for $30 including shipping. You are right! No one else makes one that looks as good as yours.

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    Klayton Kress

    7 years ago on Step 8

    What does the red button on the wall do. It makes me curious and I have the urge to press the button. On a side note great instructable

    3 replies
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    pingo6Klayton Kress

    Reply 7 years ago on Introduction

    do you mean in like a tech ed room? do not push the button!!! it is an emergency elctrical button that if pushed will shut off power to the WHOLE room. like if someone gets their arm stuck in a woodchipper

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    ostomestopingo6

    Reply 7 years ago on Introduction

    my school's workshop has that. It reminds me off the game dont press the red button. BUT ITS SO TEMPTING TO PRESS THE RED BUTTOM

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    The nerdlingostomesto

    Reply 7 years ago on Step 8

    my school's workshop has one too, but it is so crap, you don't need the key to turn it on; you just push it down then pull out and hehy presto power!!

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    mg0930mg

    8 years ago on Introduction

    To everyone complaining about not having a laser cutter. Ask around, your local high school or college may have one, and cut it for you. Also search for laser cutting business on google. You may be able to find one near you. Good luck.

    Randofo, great instructable, I love how it looks.

    3 replies
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    BBurak

    7 years ago on Step 8

    Really perfect. Good luck with your works.

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    pingo6

    7 years ago on Introduction

    i dont think a laser cutter is under 10 bucks