Portable Netbook Station




Hi All,

This is the cabinet, I made for my netbook, it enables you to use a larger screen size, and fullsize keyboard. It is portable, easy to take from room to room.  The built in drawer allows you to store all your accessories, such as  cd rom drives and usb cables.  The screen is built in which makes it  more secure and usable.

The netbook is constantly charged, as you are using the PC, so ready for use the next day - the best of both worlds!  I can honestly say that this has transformed the way I use my computer and I hope that this inspires you to make your own version.

Step 1: Making the Unit Side Sections


Determine the width of the monitor you are going to use, I used a15” monitor, and use this size for your shelf widths, but remember to add a few mm to accommodate the screen. Use a section of quadrant beading, as a means to retain the monitor front.( see overview section)

Cut the side piece diagonally to make side section, draw a line, from the top left edge of the wood, down to the keyboard shelf level

Use a circular item as a template e.g.: plastic food bowl, and draw a curve, near the top of the diagonal section, the idea is to have a curved section, as seen in the picture, to accommodate the handle, so make sure you leave enough clearance from the top of the monitor screen, for the handle.

use a template to mark out cut out sections .  The size of this cutout section, as seen in the picture was 13.5inches height and 7 inches depth . This will give you a reference of how to create the cutout .

Clamp the side piece of wood on a workmate using g clamps, making sure that the marked section is clear of obstructions.

Cut out section with jigsaw. You should end up with a wood section very similar to the picture. Repeat this process to make opposite side, or alternatively – you can easily make the opposite side by laying the side you have just made on top of the new section of wood, and using it as a template. Draw round the piece - you will have basically a mirror image, any excess can be trimmed with a plane, to ensure accurate matching. Also you can use the jigsaw to trim any obvious difference. The main thing, is to make sure you have two very close matching, if not identical sides.


Step 2: Shelf Assembly


Assembling the Unit/ Shelf layout


Support the two side pieces on the floor, and put the shelves in their correct positions. It would help at this stage to use bar clamps to hold the unit together, when positioning shelves. (test fit the monitor at this stage, to make sure it will fit) base shelf, lower base shelf, monitor shelf. At this stage join the sections, by drilling pilot holes, through the side section, and into the shelf. Attach with screws, slightly wider than the pilot holes, Make sure that each shelf is completely level by checking with spirit level, check side to side level and back to front level, before securing shelves.

Step 3: Fitting Keyboard Rails



Fit 2 metal sliding rails for the keyboard. The rails are fitted above the cut out section, make sure that the metal rails are level, and positioned, so that the gap between the base of the monitor shelf, and the top of the keyboard shelf, will accommodate the keyboard you are using. I am using standard size keyboard with touchpad, but you can  also use a mini keyboard with touchpad, which will slide back into the unit.   Look at the wood extending below the monitor shelf – it is essential that you leave enough wood, when making the cutout section, so that you are able to fit the keyboard shelf rail, as seen in the picture, remember also that this denotes height adjustment of keyboard shelf, as you may want to customize the unit to suit your needs.

Step 4: Fitting the Drawer Rails

Fit the drawer runners at each side of the unit as in picture

Measure the gap between the 2 sides of the unit, and taking into account the fitted rails, get ready to construct the drawer.


Step 5: Make the Drawer

Make the drawer by cutting 4 batons of wood, according to your previous measurments of the drawerspace.

Mark out a concave semi circle on the front drawer piece - clamp it very securely, and cut out the shape with a jigsaw, as you can see in the picture, this makes for a convienent handle for the drawer.,drill pilot holes at joins,  then join the pieces to form the drawer, , at this stage fit the drawer rails, making sure the drawer is as square as possible.

test fit the drawer into the drawer space, and make sure that the drawer moves freely. Make sure that the position of the rails is level, and that the drawer front is fixed in the correct position relative to the front of the unit, so that the drawer ends up flush fitted into the unit.

Please note that these dimensions are intended as a guide, and that as you make your own unit, you can adjust the dimensions, as you go along to suit your project. Eg: Monitor sizes may differ slightly, which would affect the overall size of the unit .

Step 6: Make and Fit Handle



Obtain a brush pole, and cut to size, to fit between upper section of unit above the screen.

Fix the handle in a workmate/vice. Drill pilot hole into the centre of pole, then position between the top of the unit, as seen in picture. Draw round the pole to mark the final position of the handle, then drill through the centre of the marked position, and attach the handle, by putting screws through the drilled holes in the unit, and into the pilot holes in the handle.

Step 7: Overview


This picture shows the basic construction of the cabinet, note the screen retaining wood pieces, I cut

2 strips of wood, rounded the ends with a jigsaw – the lcd screen rests against these, and is retained by the quadrant beading as seen attached to the front of the monitor shelf.

unit height, excluding castors = 83cms
Unit depth  = 27cms
shelf width = 34cms

I used clear varnish to enhance the unit.

Step 8: Update:


It is possible to make this unit easier by leaving the sides complete, without the cutout sections - this means you could add an extra shelf for accessories etc, also you could leave out the drawer section, and just use a folder type box for storage in the recess made by the lower shelf.

To improve the sound of the unit, I built in ricco usb speakers behind the screen which greatly improved the sound, and added small speaker grilles on the outside I also added a tablet dock section to charge/sync my arnova tablet, by adding in an angled piece of wood, with micro usb plug fitted, and a support bracket/guide above, I also added a small keyboard with touchpad, which makes the unit more compact.



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    4 Discussions


    Thanks for your comment, I think I would have to change design aspects to make a simpler version. I added features to this project as I went along, but it would be possible to make a more basic version, I will try to update instructable regarding this.


    6 years ago on Introduction

    Do you have a simpler design for a shop net-book cart?

    When I use the netbook outwith the cabinet, the battery runs down, and I just reconnect it to the cabinet to recharge. I agree, It's not a good idea to have it on constant charge. The netbook is being used as my main PC, hence it is always connected.