After putting one of those $30 prefab plastic laptop stands back on a store shelf I began thinking of an easy way of gaining similar functionality without the wastefulness or expense. Rummaging around my local hardware store I came across the materials needed to build this simple yet effective laptop stand for about half the cost of a commercial one.
Step 1: Required Materials
I purchased all of the materials needed for this project at my local Home Depot.
Simpson Strong-Tie OT structural joint tie 12"x12" - part# 044315774300
4 Rubber Anti-Skid Pads with included screws - part# 039003096444
3/4 inch wooden dowel - part# 049437396911
small bolt and nut
Step 2: Cut the Wood Dowels to the Correct Size
I cut the wood dowels to 3 inches which gives a good viewing angle while it's sitting on my workbench. I would recommend cutting them longer at first and then reassess your viewing angle and re-cut if needed. Drill two small pilot holes in the bottom of the dowels as to avoid any cracking when the anti-skid feet are screwed in.
Feel free to paint the wood dowels any color you desire. I've painted mine matte black to match the color of my rotting soul.
Step 3: Screw the Dowels Into the Base.
Now position the metal base between the rubber foot and the dowel. The pilot hole should be facing the metal base and the rubber foot. Drive the included screws through the rubber feet and into the wooden dowels, sandwiching the metal base in the process. I've tightened down the dowels finger tight then pulled them forward towards the front in order to correctly align with my Macbook Pro . You may need to perform slight adjustments before fully tightening down the dowels depending on the size of your laptop.
Step 4: Insert the Front 'stopper'
Now with the rear dowels completed you can insert the front stopper. Mount the two remaining rubber anti-skid feet by holding one on each size of the metal base while bolting them together. This will form the third foot of your laptop stand and will prevent the laptop from sliding forward.
Step 5: Finished! Now Enjoy Your New Laptop Stand.
You should now have something similar to the simple stand shown below ready and waiting to host your precious laptop. True, it's not as nice as most of the commercial stands but this one has the benefit of being inexpensive and reusable if you should happen to be retrofitting an old home in the future. (The base is often used to join roof joists). Total cost is around $19 but if you opt for a standard steel finish you can save around $3-5 bucks.
Other options that would be nice to have.... an adjustable front foot to change the viewing angle, rubber stoppers where the dowels meet the laptop or perhaps angled back legs to mesh better with the bottom of a laptop. If you have any additional questions or have any suggestions to improve upon this design let me know. Enjoy!