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... and what are your plans for Valentine's Day?!

Topper (Linda)
aka ThyroGeek
February 4, 2011

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I love computer gadgets and have a habit of cruising around online looking at 'toys'.. this often ends up with me pining away over something that I've found that I would dearly love to have, and usually can't afford.

One particular day I ran across a toy that made me pant with envy... and yeah... it shows that I am TRULY a nerdy geek.

I want to share the link of the product that I found, cuz it's truly cool and many that might want one will want one that they don't have to make themselves... Cuz the original one is actually pretty cool!!!

http://connect-a-desk.com/

They have great pics of the unit in use, as well as a video...

I looked at that video SOOO many times.. and just drooled.. yeah.. I know.. I'm pathetic!!! hehehehe

There is no way that I could afford such an extravagance, my funds are too limited.. but I started thinking and looking and pondering.. and wondered if I could MAKE one.

I had the strapping material. I'm good with making cardboard contraptions.. I'm good with figuring things out... so I started playing around with the idea.

I would need the hardware. A friend of mine volunteered to go hunting and found the parts that I wanted at a horse tack shop. It was about $15 to get the parts.

Clips, slides, and D rings.

Everything else I had, or could make.. so the challenge was on!!

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The first step was to see if I could actually sew the strap and set up the hardware so that it would work.

Photo showing on the 2 inch strap was folded and sewn to the 1 inch D ringPhoto showing the D-Ring sewn to the strap endFirst I needed to fold the strap to fit the D rings.

As you can see, that worked out pretty good...

 

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Photo showng the clip, slide and D-ring on the finished strap endsThen threading the strapping through the slide, to make the straps adjustable, and then stitching the strap to the clip end..

I thought it looked pretty sharp!

 

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So.. that part was gonna work out just fine... Now the 'fun' part.. designing how I wanted the 'desk' part.

I wanted it to be vented.. so that the laptop could exchange air better, stay cooler. Cardboard is denser and would hold heat more than the store bought model. So I did some searching online to see if there were any specs for temps for my particular laptop, and there were. With that information I used a simple 2D CAD program to layout the pattern for my desk, then printed it to scale.

Since it was larger than an 8 X 11 sheet of paper, I had to cut and trim and then tape the sheets together to make the actual pattern that I then laid out over the cardboard to cut.

Photo of first cardboard piece for desk partPhoto showing first two layers of cardboard for desk stacked and glued

I cut 2 pieces like this and glued them together.. for a double thickness.

 

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Photo showing D-ring strap placement on desk piecePhoto showing D-ring strap placement on desk piece from the endNow I had to figure a way to attached the D-rings straps to the desk. I thought the sturdiest way to do it was to make the strap the width of the desk rather than try to figure a way to attach it to the desk.. so I had to glue a strip of cardboard as a spacer along where the strap would be running inside the desk assembly.

Photo showing D-ring strap placement on desk piece along the lower edge of the desk


Then I determined the length of the strap needed, figuring in for the folding and seam, and sewed the D ring on the second side.

 

I then glued the strap to the cardboard, letting it 'cure' for several hours, with some odd bottles and objects as weights to hold it till the glue was dry. The purpose of gluing it was to ensure that it didn't slip, the intent of the glue was not intended for strength of hold... .

Photo showing placement of second D ring strap


Then I repeated these steps for a strap with two D-rings for the other side of the desk.

 

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One of the BEST things about making your own versions of gadgets is that you can customize them to YOUR specifications.. To this point I have adjustable straps, allowing my unit to be usable by different sizes of people and for different uses.. See.. I'd be using mine more in sitting situations, rather than walking and was already noticing that if I'm sitting in a stationary chair I want the desk adjusted just SLIGHTLY different to when I'm sitting outside on our porch swing which is just a bit different from where the unit is most comfortable when standing and walking.. the adjustable straps make that all easy to do... just work the slides and make it all comfy.

I also LOVE touch-pads but HATE the position of the touch-pad on a laptop.. by the time I crank my wrist around enough to get to it, its VERY uncomfortable.. so I had to think for a while about how to add a pull-out touch-pad shelf for my developing creation... that I dubbed a 'harness desk'.

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I actually spent some time thinking on this part.. what did I have that wouldn't cost any money, that I could modify/adapt with the tools that I have, that would work for the intended purpose?

Finally came to me... I pulled a regular CD/DVD jewel case apart, not a slim, and used one side of it...

Happenstantially it's the EXACT size to fit the external touch pad that I'd already been using with this laptop.

I had to do some figuring and had it worked out on how I wanted to do it.. and added another layer of cardboard, glued to the existing desk, then did the cut out for my slideout shelf.

Photo showing the pencil outline of the CD jewel case part to be used as the pullout touchpad shelThis was done on the 'top' of the desk, so that the support straps with the D-rings would be below it... if you look closely at the lower right corner of the pic you can see the D-ring. At this point I traced a line around the piece of jewel case and then cut it out.

Photo showing how the CD jewel case fits in the the cutout in the deck assemblyAs you can see I cut it so that just the edge comes out of the side of the desk when slid inside. I wanted to be able to slid it in, out of the way, when not in use, and when the unit was in my laptop case for transport or storage.

 

Photo showing how the shelf slider comes out

I surprised myself that I cut it just right.. slide out with little effort but still snug enough to not slide without a tug...

 

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I'm bummed now.. I never took pics of how I did the support for the laptop.. The part that rests against the belly to hold the laptop from sliding down...

Photo showing end of desk and some of the detail of the lip that supports the laptop while wearing the harness desk

I think you can get the idea from this shot.. it's basically several layers/strips of cardboard stacked and glued to match the height of the bottom edge of the laptop when opened.


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Next was another layer of cardboard for the top... cut larger than the other pieces and trimmed to allow me to fold it down on the sides and the top edge, for a 'cleaner' finish. I also VERY carefully cut out a slot for the slide-out touch-pad tray.

Photo showing finished pull-out touch-pad tray, 1Photo showing finished pull-out touch-pad tray, 2Photo showing finished pull-out touch-pad tray, 3Photo showing finished pull-out touch-pad tray, 4

Photo showing top edge of desk assembly

Photo showing finished pull-out touch-pad tray, 5Photo showing finished pull-out touch-pad tray, 6Photo showing finished pull-out touch-pad tray, 7

Photo showing finished pull-out touch-pad tray, 8Photo showing finished pull-out touch-pad tray, 9Photo showing left side of desk assemby, opposite pull-out touch-pad shelfPhoto Harness Desk Proto Type 1

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The only thing left to do with this proto type.. is make it a bit resistant to every day grunge... AND more important.. provide something to prevent the laptop from sliding too easily.

For the 'degrunge factor' I used clear box tape and covered the 'desk' - top, bottom and sides.

For the 'slip control' a friend sent me a roll of anti-slip shelf liner... that actually works quite well. I trimmed it to fit, cut out the vent holes, and for now, attached it to the 'desk' with thumb tacks.

Photo showing non slip in place, 1Photo showing non slip in place,  2Photo showing non slip in place,  3

Topper (Linda)
aka ThyroGeek
September, 2009

 

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