Under-desk Computer Mount

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About: I'm a marine scientist that also loves woodworking and DIY

This instructable will show you how to mount a small computer under your desk.

Do you want to clear up space on your desk and give it a cleaner look? For me, the easiest thing to do was move my computer off the desk.

I wanted the computer to still be accessible so that I could easily get to the usb and headphone ports but wanted it off the desk so that I could have more space to work and fewer cords in the way.

This is a quick project if you have a laser cutter but I'll also describe how to do it with a saw.

Step 1: Materials and Tools

Materials:

  • 1/8" or 1/4" thick acrylic sheet (I chose clear but colored would work too)
  • Pan head screws

Tools:

  • Tape measure or ruler
  • Laser cutter or saw
  • Drill
  • Heat bender or other heating element
  • Screwdriver

Step 2: Measure, Calculate, and Design

Measure

  • Measure the dimensions of your computer
    • Height (top to bottom)
    • Width (left to right)
    • Length (front to back)
    • This mount works best with a small form factor computer that is small and light. Larger, heavier computers may take up too much space or be too heavy to safely mount to the bottom of a desk.
  • Measure your desk to make sure there is a place to attach the mount.
    • Things to consider:
      • How will the cords run from the computer?
      • Where do your legs go:
        • when you sit?
        • when you stand up and sit down?
        • when you rotate?
      • Find a place that you won't hit your knees
      • Can you access the usb ports? the headphones?
      • You want to find an area under the desk that is 2 inches wider and longer than your computer

Calculate

  • To ensure adequate ventilation for the computer, try to have an inch of space on each side and above the machine.
  • The dimensions of the cut acrylic need to be:
    • Acrylic length = computer length + 1 inch
    • Acrylic width = computer width + (computer height x 2) + 4 inches
      • This includes an inch of clearance on both sides of the computer and an inch of material to screw the mount to the desk.
    • See the first image for a generalized diagram of the acrylic

Design

Design the acrylic cut.

At its simplest, you need a rectangle with a few holes drilled half an inch from the left and right side where the screws will mount it to the desk. I added slits to what will be the vertical parts of the mount to give it more airflow. This is easy to do with a laser cutter but you could also drill holes if you have a drill. The design I made also includes a tab on the front and back to keep the computer in place but I have found them to be unnecessary and would exclude them if I were to make this again.

Step 3: Cut the Acrylic

I used a laser cutter, which made the process quick and simple

If you don't have a laser cutter, use a table saw, hack saw, or score to cut along the desired lines.

Drill holes into the side and top using a power drill.

Step 4: Bend

Acrylic becomes pliable and can be bent into various shapes when heated.

SAFETY NOTES:

  • Work in a well ventilated area
  • Be careful of hot surfaces. Hot acrylic looks the same as cold acrylic.

When bending straight lines, a strip heater works well. Others have used heat guns to heat the acrylic.

Bend the bottom-to-side angles first and the side-to-mounting face angle second.

Follow these steps:

  1. Heat the plastic across the entire length of one bend until a slight bow forms but be careful not to make it so hot that the plastic starts to bubble.
  2. Use a jig to get tight right angles. I used a piece of wood and two clamps on the edge of a table.

  3. Repeat for the other bends

Here's a reference for other ways to heat and bend acrylic:

Step 5: Mount

  1. Drill pilot holes in the bottom of your desk.
  2. Hold the mount in place and screw the mount onto the bottom of the desk.

Tips:

  • Use pan head screws (the kind that are flat on the bottom of the head). This will help prevent you from cracking the acrylic, which can happen if you use screws with a flat top that are angled underneath the head.

Step 6: Enjoy!

Place the computer in the mount.

Plug everything up and run your cords.

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