This instruction set explains the process of making some old skateboards into a functional stand for a laptop.
Keeping the main components of the skateboards (the deck and the wheels) with minimal additional objects, the resulting product is simple, yet evocative in its use of colour and quirky way in which the skateboards have been given a new purpose. A laptop would sit upon the top board, while the lower deck acts as a shelf, which could be used to hold pencil cases, modules, water bottles and many other items. The inclusion of the laptop fan adds to the functionality of the design, keeping the laptop from overheating as it sits atop the board by creating a consistent flow of cool air, coming though small holes in the board. The wheels can be rotated around to form multiple positions, to allow for the board to roll back and forth, side to side, or sit completely still and balanced. The best position to ensure its stability is with two wheels set facing vertically, and the other two facing horizontally.
The process is quite simple, and overall can be completed within a day.
Step 1: What You'll Need
- 2 skateboards
- 12v laptop fan
- Wood, roughly 20mm x 20mm x 800mm
- Phone charger cord
- USB charger base
Tools and equipment:
- Strong glue (epoxy adhesive)
- Band saw / hand saw
- Drill press / hand drill
Step 2: Source an Old Laptop
First things first, is to find an old laptop. If you have a dead one lying around that's perfect! If not, they aren't too hard to come by in hard rubbish collection or in landfill. The only part you need for this project is the fan, so it doesn't need to be completely intact. Alternatively if you can procure a 12v laptop fan without pulling one apart that's even better.
Step 3: Remove the Fan
This part is pretty tricky as you will need to remove quite a few different parts before you get to the fan. Prying off the outer plastic and the keyboard takes a bit of time and force, and unscrewing a lot of screws. Underneath these sits the circuit board, and the fan is wedged in this on the side. It's all compacted extremely tightly, so the best way to remove the fan is to unscrew everything in the circuit board, as well as checking the underneath side of the laptop for any screws going the other way, and remove it all. Once this is done the fan should come apart from the circuit board relatively easily.
Step 4: Wiring the Fan
Find two extra parts, a switch and a USB cable, like from an old phone.
Remove the micro USB part of the cable and strip the cable to reveal the wires. Connect these wires to the wires of the fan and to the switch. Test it a few times to check the right wires are connecting, then wrap the open wires with electrical tape. Safety first!
Step 5: Procure 2 Skateboards
Any kind, any colour, any material, whatever your preference or whatever you can find.
We used a regular skateboard and a plastic penny board that originally came from kmart.
Step 6: Disassemble Skateboards
Next thing you want to do is take apart the tracks from the deck, and the wheels from the tracks.
All you need for this is a screwdriver, and everything should come apart very easily.
Step 7: Cut the Wheels From the Tracks
Slice those bad boys right off the track, best to use a dremel saw for this task.
Sand these back to be completely flat with a coarse sandpaper or a file.
Step 8: Cutting Legs and Supports
We purchased an 18mm x 18mm x 1800mm length piece of Tasmanian oak from bunnings for this one. The tasmanian oak was pretty hard to drill into, so I'd recommend getting a softer wood like pine instead, particularly you plan on you using a hand drill later on as opposed to a drill press. The total length of wood needed for the project is 800mm, and will be cut into 8 pieces:
4 pieces measuring 140mm in length
4 pieces measuring 60mm in length.
These can be cut with either a bandsaw or a regular handheld saw, and lightly sanded to clean up any edges.
Step 9: Drilling Holes Into the Legs
Mark the centre of each end of the lengths of wood, and drill a hole into each end of those.
Step 10: Drilling Holes Into Deck
The next step is to drill holes into the deck of the top skateboard to allow the air to flow through from the fan.
We used a drill press and drilled 7x 5mm holes 10mm apart (centre of each hole to the next).
Step 11: Attach Fan to Deck
The right place for the fan should have already been marked out when drilling the holes on the deck, so this step is pretty straight forward. Using a strong glue (we used araldite epoxy adhesive), you want to coat the edges of the fan on the flattest side and adhere to the underside of the board. Be careful when applying the adhesive, ensuring that none of it leaks into the blades of the fan. Hold this down on the board for a few minutes, then leave it to dry with the fan side facing up.
Repeat this process with the switch, attaching that in the centre at the front of the board.
Step 12: Attach Wheels to the Legs
Using the same glue you used to attach the fan, glue the flat, cut, metal side of the wheels and adhere to the end of the leg pieces of wood, the 60mm long pieces. You can use a clamp to hold them tightly together, however if you do not have access to clamps then holding it down or using masking take to keep it in place will adhere it sufficiently. The clamps will create a more secure bond between the wheels and the legs.
Leave these to dry.
Step 13: Attaching the Legs and Supports to the Board
You're almost there! Now is the time to put it all together.
Using the pre-existing holes in the bottom board, screw each leg on up through the underside of the board. Generously apply glue into the drilled holes and on the face of the leg that sits against the board. Repeat this with the support pieces to the top board. Once these are all dry, attach the bottom of the supports to the top of the bottom board in the same way, screwing from the underside. In this way the legs and supports should not line up with each other, rather creating a pattern of one up one down.
Leave the whole object to dry on its side, making sure that the wheels are facing away from the surface the product sits upon to ensure minimal stress on the joins.
Step 14: Ready to Use
Your laptop stand is ready to use however you like! Use it sitting down, or as a standing desk at a table, a makeshift table on a bench seat, or any other way that suits you.
The wheel legs should be able to rotate around, so you when you want to move the desk up and down you just need to rotate the wheels. The positioning of the wheels affects the stand's stability, so just make sure once you've moved it into place that you set the wheels in a balanced way.