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Challenge. Building a Lap Desktop. A keyboard, monitor, and speakers. Built into a Laptop case, plugs into a tower. Answered

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I've been looking at new laptops. The ones I want are way to expensive. If I had a desk top I could get a lot more computer for a lot less money.  

I have 2 old laptops. I would like to gut one of the laptop cases then install a new lcd monitor into the case which will plug into a desktop. I would like to do the same with the keyboard and the speakers.

Whats the point? It won't be a lap top. This is correct. I don't want a lap top. I want a folding monitor speaker and keyboard that fits on my lap with cables that plug into a desktop that is sitting on the floor next to my chair.  

I want to easily unplug my Lap Desktop, fold it up and then make it disappear. I want to sit in my comfy chair gaming talking to my wife while we both watch tv. I don't want a corner of my living room dedicated to a big old computer desk.

The original idea was to use component parts of the laptop.  The monitor speakers, and keyboard. After doing some research I realize using the monitor won't work. That is ok. I will get a new one. Where to buy it? what to buy? I hope I can still use the laptop case and install the parts I want. and make it all work... 

If this project seems like fun give  me a hand. Help me figure out the details. I will take the pictures and make an instruct able and credit who ever has helped me... I know I haven't got a clue and I have not found this product premaid and ready for purchase....


The Monitor
I found what I need for my laptops lcd conversion to desktop monitor. I will purchase the R.RT6251 from njytouch on ebay. This essentially will allow me to use my old desktop lcd as a computer/tv monitor. I hope it works. I will also be converting the montitor into a touch screen. Njytouch has lots of good feedbadk and I have seen some great videos for their products on youtube. Theoretically I have the montior situation under control.

The base.
I have given up on the idea of using the original lap top base. I still want a clamshel design. Unfortunately I cannot use my laptops old keyboard. It worked fine for the lap top but like the original road block for the LCD at present I cannot find a easy solution to by pass the proprietary element. I was hoping for another miracle solution from njytouch. Don't think it will happen though. So for my contingency plan. A weighted plexiglass base I will mount my hinged lcd on with a shelf I will set my keyboard on. I have an old logitech g15 keyboard which would be awesome to use again. It sports several usb ports easy access for my peripherals. 

When finished I will have a hinged lcd touchscreen mounted on a mounted on a weighted flat lap desk surface.. It will be a lap desk  with a clamshell design for easy storage that will all plug into a desk top computer. 

Is Plexi glass the best building material? What would you recommend. I would like it to be inexpensive and relatively light. This set up will be on my lap for hours at a time. So far I'm looking at about $150 for this building project and I don't own a desktop yet :)

Are their any additions and improvements to this idea you guys can think of. I'm thinking monitors and speakers also... That may be going overboard though.


My laptop has just blown up, I think its the GPU due to burning it out playing games, on which I have sent it off to get repaired, with no success.
I have also come up with exactly the same idea as you, to have a screen, mouse pad, and keyboard on my lap to use on a desk top, meaning the laptop has no battery, no motherboard.
so far I have viewed Youtube and got some ideas from them, but nothing like the clam on your lap
I was thinking of using a wireless keyboard with mouse pad built into it, get rid of the old motherboard and keyboard to make space to put the wireless keyboard into the recess.
I have tried to view to see if there is anything like this on the web, but to no success.
I think we will have to become partners and start making the lapclam and become millionaires overnight ha,ha.

How about something like this: http://www.rackmountlcdpro.com/rackmount-lcd-keyboard-drawer-dhk115.html

Another possibility you could look into is a complete keyboard computer (minus the vid screen). I knew they existed and I know that someone is re-making the Commodore (64?) but with new, up to date, internals and OS. The place I saw it was on Uxwbill's Youtube channel. You can see it here.


What you want to do sounds pretty hard. Have you considered getting a cheap laptop and a docking station.

Hm, I don't think a docking station is what I am going for but thank you nurdee1. I have gotten use to gaming or browsing the internet while seated in a very comfortable chair. I can keep tabs on the kids. If I see something neat in a documentary I can find more info. I can watch a foot ball game with my wife while browsing. Definitely want a key board and monitor for my lap. Who needs a desk... not me lol...

I am not sure but I think there might be such a thing as a USB monitor if you went this route you could just run a USB cable from your computer to what you are building and then put a USB hub in your creation. This USB hub could then have a USB trackball, keyboard and monitor attached to it. By the way you would still have to run a power cable to the monitor.

Hope this helps.

Let me know if I can do anything more.

get a cheap laptop and upgrade the processor,voila! a high end machine.

good luck


Thank you for your response.
I have a lap top i3-330 processor. can't upgrade video card. Oh and if I am to play rifts past level 50, I need a much better video card. I was pricing lap tops and desk tops and came up with this idea. I don't need a lap top, I do how ever need a set up that will not take up a lot of space or leave me in a distant corner of the house.

well how about one of those external video cards I have heard about that plug into your lappy

I will look at that option again. My first glance in that direction left a lot to be desired. Thank you

To answer your question...

Base your setup on either on the width of the monitor or the width of the keyboard plus mouse, whichever is greater. BTW, use a mouse with a trackball or get a keyboard with integrated mouse/touchpad. For speakers, use the ones on the monitor.

Now, look at the monitor post as it goes into the base to determine if you can use it as the basis for a hinge. An extension hinge would probably be needed in order to make it work correctly. The tray which would hold the keyboard has to be extremely rigid and deep enough so that when you close it up, nothing contacts the monitor viewing area. Make sure the keyboard/mouse are secure. You also need to make sure that you have some sort of positive stop when you close the "clamshell", such as tabs that contact the monitor edge, on the plastic.

For hookup, get a KVM cable of a length to suit with the correct connections. TigerDirect has quite a few to choose from. While you are there, get an extension cord for the monitor's power supply. Bundle the 2 cords (KVM and AC extension) together with zip ties, velcro, tape, split loom or other type of binding.

That's the basics. The rest is up to your imagination and skills. Can't wait to see what you come up with.


P.S. - I remember seeing a very fancy USB keyboard, some years back, that had USB ports on it along with speakers built in. If it is still available, it could be a viable option. Of course, with as much as all this might cost, you may be able to get a laptop to wirelessly do what you want, but probably not at the level of the desktop's power. Price it (misc. parts plus desktop) and see.

Thank You Quercus austrina for a well thought out response. Before I go your route I will try this lead. You see, I found this company that makes a board that allows you to utilize old lap top monitors... It is $35 and possibly worth pursuing. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=SKifzJ7sEWs&list=PL8D96F3F50FA75679&feature=mh_lolz
If this works out well, I can use the pre existing hinge and monitor. I save a lot of time and effort. The next step would be to figure out whether or not I can do something similar with my pre-existing keyboard. I have not ordered the board yet as I first need to take apart my old lap top in order to find out my Monitor model. Then I contact njytouch. I will keep you all posted and lets keep on brainstorming

If you go that way you would still need a KVM cable and extension cord. You might need a keyboard controller from a regular keyboard to use the donor laptop's keyboard and you would have to figure out the mouse/touchpad/pointer option. Speakers would be easy.

Hey, while you are at it, have you looked for wireless VGA gear. There are devices out there that will wirelessly send you VGA and audio to a receiver. You could pair that with wireless keyboard and mouse and only need a power cord to keep the monitor powered. It would reduce the cable clutter.

Just a thought...


Don't need a mouse, and finding keyboard info is a challenge. I like the wireless vga idea alot, you got me thinking Quercus austrina. You see a good idea does not always lead to that idea being implemented, A good idea is a stepping stone towards a solution. The end solution may look nothing like the original idea, and I am way cool with that.