This instructable is about how to create a wire basket on the side of your desk to mount your laptop in. This way you can connect it to a full monitor and keyboard desk setup without taking up a bunch of desk space.
This design is flexible and can be adapted to laptops of almost any size. Airflow is not a problem due to the open design, and getting wires to the ports is easy for the same reason.
Its easy to assemble and only costs around 10 dollars.
Step 1: You Will Need
Wire Cooling Rack. This is going to make up the body of your basket. One for the front, one for the back. The carabiners act as the links between these two racks. You can find them in the baking section walmart, or most grocery stores. They cost me about $3.60 each, and you need two of them.
Carabiners. Also called D-Rings. These are to snap the 2 wire racks together and turn them into a basket. You will need at least 3, but more will give you better flexibility on how the end result will turn out. You can find these in the hardware section of a harware store, near the fasteners (near the nails and screws.) These vary quite a bit in price, but I found mine as a 3-pack at the dollar store. They vary in price from 30 cents each up to 2 dollars each. If you dont want to use carabiners, you can use basically anything to attach the 2 racks together. Wire, string, chain, rope, quick-links, zipties, twist ties, velcro straps, tape, anything you have handy that can make a loose yet strong connection between them.
The next two are for mounting your basket to your desk. This may not apply to you based on how your desk is laid out. You may need woodscrews or cuphooks or magnets or something instead of these two depending on how your desk is designed.
Hose Clamps. These are what attaches the basket to the desk leg tightly. Hose clamps are metal rings you can shrink or expand by turning a screw. If you unscrew them all the way they open up completely, so they are no longer rings. They are used to hold rubber hoses onto fittings in cars, but are generally useful to bind circular things together. I found mine as a big pack at the dollar store, but they also sell them in the plumbing section of hardware stores, and also carry them in most auto stores. They will cost about 50 cents each depending on quality.
Electrical Tape. This is to give a better surface for the hose clamps to bind onto. Steel on steel has a very low coefficient of friction, so they will slide easily. Steel on nice rubbery vinyl tape is incredibly grippy and the clamps won't move even with a sizable load on them. They also prevent your table legs from getting scratched up. This costs maybe 2 dollars a roll and can be found in the electrical section of hardware stores.
Step 2: Test Fit
Time to get a feel for how your laptop will fit. Put the two racks together with the metal feet sticking away from the center. Clip the rings on, one on the bottom in the middle, and two on the sides towards the top. Slide your laptop in there to see how it fits. Make sure it wont slide out. Also check to see where the ports on the side of your laptop rest. You are going to want to clip to an area that wont block any wires from getting to the ports. The clip locations will be different for every laptop so you are just going to have to experiment a bit. If you get it wrong the carabiners can be popped right back off easily.
Step 3: Mount to Desk
This step may not apply to you depending on how your desk is designed. Im just going to show you what worked for me. If you have a different desk design you are going to have to get creative.
Once you have got it figured out how you want to clip the racks together, take the clips back off and completely separate the two racks again. Its time to mount the basket, and this is much more easily done with only one rack.
Find an elevation you like that allows for enough clearance to get your laptop in there. Mark the elevation on your two table legs, and cover those spots with a layer of electrical tape. Unscrew two hose clamps completely so they come open, and run them around a leg and through part of the wire rack. Pinch the hose clamps closed again with your fingers and tighten them up with a screwdriver. The one rack should now be very sturdy on your desk.
Attach the other rack using carabiners just as you did in the previous step. Just put the loose rack right up sandwiching the mounted one, and clip them together. You may have to use more than one carabiner and chain them together if you need more slack. Dont forget the carabiner on the bottom to prevent your laptop from falling out. This design uses an intentionally loose fit so don't stress if its not rock solid.
Drop your laptop in the top. Make sure that the fans and vents on your laptop have easy access to open air. You will notice my laptop is actually facing backwards, because the vents are on the bottom of the laptop and I don't want them getting smothered by my curtains. There are no vents on the top lid part, so its ok to put them near the wall.
Step 4: Finished!
Plug all the wires in and you are done!
You will want to set your laptop to not go to sleep when the lid is closed. This is done in windows in the Control Panel, under Power Management.
You should also set your computer to wake up from your USB keyboard, which can be done in the computer's BIOS. Just push F12 (or whatever number it tells you) on startup to access bios. Look for an option called ACPI, most newer computers should have it.
I also had to turn off hibernation completely. The USB keyboard wakeup works fine in sleep mode, but hibernate was another story. After 180 minutes hibernate kicked on and I had to take the entire computer back out of its cradle to push the power button, very annoying. Just turn off hibernate completely under power options.
Also keep in mind that if your laptop has mechanical hard drives instead of the newer solid state ones, you should try to rotate your laptop slowly when you remove it from its basket. The hard drives act like gyroscopes and resist rotational momentum, so if you flip your laptop upright too quickly they can lose balance on their bearings. Just be gentle and it will be fine.
This design seemed like a simple, cheap, flexible, out of the way solution to keeping my laptop docked. I hope it works out well for you too.