Date: 22 September 2018. Making a Laptop
Stand (and computer advice)
Powered items perform better when
they are not overheated. That is true for everything. Daddy used to
say "Things don't burn out; they burn up" and he
was right. Motors and engines perform best when cool. At box stores we can buy expensive cooling stands for our
laptops. For about $5 here is my solution.
This is what I made:
The stand I made
↑ is for a larger laptop
computer. I have an efficient netbook one very kind reader passed along
for the website. I am extremely grateful! Without a Win7 netbook I
could not continue to write/post articles.
I am a dinosaur, having used the
pro version of FrontPage for over twenty years. That program requires Win7 at most. I truly
panic when I think what will happen someday when this netbook gives
up the ghost. A secondary advantage is that a netbook uses very
little power. My netbook uses less than 2Ah.
FIRST COMPUTER MISTAKE MADE:
Before I bought Seaweed I had
the brilliant idea to buy a 15" Toshiba laptop with a built in DVD
player. Oh, I was going to be so cool. I would take the laptop ashore to surf the internet. While aboard I could watch movies all
the time. Until reality bit me on the transom.
That Toshiba Satellite weighed 7
pounds. Worse yet, it used nearly 7 amps of power per hour. Once I got the 75
watt solar panel generating 25Ah per day... well, you can do the
math. I could watch a two hour movie and have enough for the anchor
Though 7 pounds does not at first
sound like a lot, it is. Especially when combined with hauling
groceries, water and supplies back to Seaweed. It was physically
straining. I only carted the Satellite laptop to shore a couple of
deciding that was a Bad Idea.
So I switched to a much
smaller/lighter netbook by Toshiba.
I love the netbooks. The problem is they do not have a built-in DVD player.
A secondary problem is that I
cannot make use of the programs sold to turn DVDs into MP4s. The
netbooks do not have a large enough pixel screen size. The copying
code won't work with a netbook. My goal was to turn my DVDs into
MP4s, storing them on a portable hard-drive.
That project is in my To-Do List. I did buy the
portable DVD player and a separate 2T (two terrabyte) hard-drive. The DVD copy
project is stalled at present for lack of a computer that can do the
There are always
projects in the works aboard Seaweed. No boat is ever finished.
My list after ten years of life aboard is bigger than when I took
One of the fellows on this canal
bought an expensive stand ↓ for
his laptop. It broke.
Side Note: I showed you how to make this
↑ fold-down desk in the
Making a Desk article.
Because his computer stand broke I
thought I could do better. After all, there's not much to them.
What is required is ventilation holes. A solid piece of wood
would not allow the vents in the bottom of the laptop to
circulate air well.
To make a full-sized laptop stand I
went to Walmart and bought this for $5.
This pallet board ↑
was found in the Crafts Department at
was located near the floor, midway down an aisle.
I had a can of mahogany stain and used it on the stand.
A couple coats of polyurethane finished the wood nicely.
The support brace is rounded at the bottom and flat on one side. The flat
piece is screwed to the stand.
I wanted the back higher with the
keyboard slanting downward.
As for wood, I wanted to raise the
back of the laptop stand approximately one inch. That way the
computer would sit on an angle just like those fancy store-bought
Years ago a fellow had passed along some leftover
mahogany from the rails of his boat. He'd switched to stainless from
wood. I had a piece that was the proper length so I added a coat of
stain to it too.
I deliberately did
not varnish that mahogany piece. The reason is because I did not want this laptop
stand to be too slick. That might allow the item to slide when the
boat moves. A slightly rough support brace should provide a bit of
repeated so you don't have to scroll.
If you look carefully you can see two cross pieces
across the back of the stand. Those hold the four vertical
boards in place.
This is the back of the unit after I
The SCREWS secure
the wooden "rope" to the front of the laptop stand.
SCREWS are installed from the back. I predrilled
through the stand but not into the wood rope. The rope is made of a soft pine so
screws insert easily. I did not want the decorative rope destroyed
by the screws. By inserting from the rear it was easier to get a
good bite or attachment to the wood rope.
Side Note: In retrospect I
should have run a bead of wood glue along the back of that rope
I pre-drilled the holes so the stand
would not split when I installed the screws and attached the rope.
The cross-piece is such that it will protect the tabletop from the
screw head. I was of course concerned that the screw might scrape
the surface of the table. It is important that the stainless
screws not scratch anything. In any project such as this I use
project done aboard Seaweed uses stainless hardware. If I am doing
the work I want it to last. Cheap screws and bolts rust.
I always buy a few (four to
six) extra screws each time I have a project. Consequently I now
have a nice supply of spares in my Ship Stores.
The laptop fills the stand. This is a
rather large laptop computer.
The wooden rope looks nautical. It
also prevents the laptop from slipping off the stand.
If I were making this for a smaller laptop I might
drill a hole outbound near the back of the stand. That hole would
serve as a place for an ink pen.
My ROUNDED MAHOGANY BOARD is attached to
the top cross-piece.
The fancy rope board is ATTACHED
FROM THE BACK of the laptop stand.
Because the weight of the laptop
stand was going to rest on the mahogany lift, it was important the
the screws not touch the tabletop. That could damage a desk.
Therefore I predrilled holes all the way through the wood laptop
Next I found flat screws with tops
that would not protrude. They fit flush with the top of the laptop
stand. Because the mahogany is a sturdy hardwood I also
drilled a smaller diameter hole into it about 1/4". Then when I
tightened the screws I could get a good attachment. It worked. Six
months later the stand is still a-okay.
HOLES for the mahogany that lifts the stand on an angle.
Side view of MAHOGANY PIECE at the back
of the laptop stand:
Though not fancy by any means this laptop stand is serving its
purpose. The laptop stays cool.
As for my netbook, I'm continuing to use the same
plastic lid with a chunk of teak across the back.
One of these days I may upgrade. For now though, this is a-okay. The
view is wonderful too.
Aboard Seaweed of late I have been
reading a lot. Whenever I go outside the red tide makes my eyes feel
scratchy. And too, I admit it is quite pleasant to curl up on my
bunk in front of the fan with a nice book on the Paperwhite.
This life aboard
Seaweed is wonderful. I am
truly blessed and wish others happiness too.
To you and yours, thanks for
reading. Stay well and happy boating.
I'd love to hear what you do during the summer heat?
Do you have a favorite program to digitalize your DVDs? Which one?
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Delicious Deviled Eggs ~
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