How to make a laptop stand out of crap for your treadmill for almost free 😀

Jan 17, 11

So I work from home. I also have a running machine. I haven’t been running in a while because a) running is hard and b) everything has been packed away from moving around last year.

Well, the moves are over, everything is long since done and it’s a holiday today (MLK) so the banks (one of which I work for) are closed. So today I got my gym room all fixed up. Setup the weights, positioned the treadmill so it’s usable, etc etc. Now I need to be able to use my laptop while I am on it during the day. My first instinct was to look for a stand online. However, I had just got done actually using the machine and while on it I was listening to a TED talk about building houses (among other things) out of recycled materials. I did this with my laptop pedestal so it seemed like a logical fit. And why not?

So I used to use my laptop on here, but there was nowhere for the mouse, and you could prop the laptop on a groove on the machine control area. This works, but typing is at an angle. So that sucks. I was prepared to go to home depot and just buy some piping and maybe some other stuff to make something to kinda attach to the arms where you can hold on. I won’t need to hold on for working because I will just have it at a very mild walk to get some movement during the day. Since I saw the TED talk I thought to myself “ha, I bet I can make something if I just look around.”

Here’s what I found and what I used (and the order I needed them):

  1. 2 x Old Soda carrying plastic crates
  2. 2 x Old Boards (about 45” long)
  3. Duct Tape
  4. Velcro
  5. Old notebook

That’s it. Here’s how I made it:

  1. Cut up the old crates because they had little Y grooves which helped them slide together, and also helped them slide right onto the place where you could hold on. Found my base yay! I cut these up so that I could slide all the Y portions together but since the hand rails sloped a little, I needed to be able to raise the front a little so it would be flat(ish). Problem solved, I just used an extra stack in the front and it all worked great.
  2. Now I had the base, I just needed something to put it on. I was thinking about going to the store and just buying a board, but then I noticed I had two smaller 1x4 boards left over from some work doing trim on the outside of the house. Perfect! So I set them on top of the crates once they were positioned, and cut the ends off some. The ends I then I put between them and I just duct taped them together. I sat around and pondered some better ways to lash them together, but then I realized that the simplest way was to just duct tape them really tightly. It worked like a champ. Now I had my board
  3. So now I needed a way to attach my board to the arms. I had originally thought maybe I would get a long threaded piece of metal and cut it to fit and use some nuts and washers and a hole in the board to bold the whole thing together. But that just seemed like overkill and would require a trip to the store. I had some bolts so I could bolt to the top, but that seemed like a little bit of overkill too for something so cheap and simple. Then I spied the magic solution sitting over with some old wires. Velcro! So I had one old piece of industrial strength Velcro. I dunno what that means, but I think it cost me like 10 bucks for the pack back when I got it. This was just a scrap. So I split the rough part in half just by making a small cut and tearing it down the middle. Then I put duct tape over the tops of old crates because they were full of holes. This would give something for the Velcro to stick to. Then I put on a strip for each side. After that I put a small piece of the soft stuff up towards the machine. This gave me more leverage to just pick it up when I wanted to take it apart and seemed to work well. You could add more if you wanted it to really stay put, but I just needed it not to move for the most part and this did the trick.
  4. Now it was all assembled. My victory was almost complete. I needed a place for the mouse. I toyed with the idea of stapling some old cardboard to the top (there are spaces between the boards after all. Or maybe going to the store again. Not sure why I hadn’t learned to not think of that yet. 😛 Finally I came up with the idea of just using an old notebook I got from a trade conference years ago. It’s got really thick top and bottoms so it works great. I just sit it there, but you could fasten it down if you wanted it more permanent.
  5. Profit!

That’s it. Total cost was really just the price of using old stuff and about an hour of my time. If you had to buy stuff, then not free, but you could make something identical with just some pipe and some Y screws for walls and a board and some screws to screw that in really easily. But free is better. Here are some pictures. 😀

  1. Here are the old crates. Some of them cut up. img

  2. Here is the assembled board being placed down. You can see the duct tape holding the two boards and a block from the end of each to expand the width of the board. You can see the long strip of Velcro and the little strip in the back to keep everything in place. You can also see the crates simply wedged onto the bars. img

  3. Here you can see it with the top down and the machine visible. The old notebook is also on there for the mouse. img

  4. And finally here are two photos of the final assembly. It works great. 😀 sides look a little weird because I didn’t cut the crates straight, but that’s easily fixable if I ever need to. I don’t foresee it being an issue. Best part is it’s really easy to just pick up and move if needed for actual running in the morning/evening. img img

Also, as a bonus, here is a picture of my super cheap pedestal I stand at to work during the day in the other room. It’s just three 5 gallon paint buckets and one of those metal desk protectors. I think from IKEA. img