November 2, 2011

Do It Yourself Laptop Stand

DIY Laptop stand is simple, free, and effective
People love their laptops. The beginning of 2010 saw sales of laptop computers increase 43% over the previous year. That could be because laptops are minimal, portable tools. I like mine. But I discovered they are hot in more ways than one.

The demise of a laptop is often described using words like 'meltdown', 'toasted', and 'fried'. This sizzling language is accurate because it is usually a heat-related issue that ends up killing a laptop computer.

A laptop's compactness leaves little room for fans or air circulation, so they run hot. So hot that you could risk 'toasted skin syndrome' if you do extended laptopping on bare legs.

Since excessive heat could mean the end of a laptop, a stand of some sort that allows good air circulation could be a good investment. Minimizing heat build-up in your laptop could potentially double its life.

Tools and supplies for prototype
In the name of making my laptop last as long as possible, I began to investigate ways to keep it cool. The variety of manufactured stands has proliferated along with the increased demand for laptops.

A store bought stand will cost you from $50.00 to several hundred dollars, which may be worth it for the extra computer life they may bestow.

However, in keeping with Depression survivors' advice, I decided not to buy something I thought I could make myself, and started doing some research. I found several do it yourself projects on the net. Many were creative, functional, and attractive. All cost less than the pre-built variety.

But, I was looking for a solution that was completely free, completely easy, and built with resources and tools readily available.

My design uses a free material many people have in their homes - the ubiquitous cardboard toilet paper roll. No tools are required other than a pair of scissors, and no expertise is necessary other the ability to measure or estimate where you make the cuts.

New improved double-walled model
It is imperative to cut the roll into four equal sections, or the finished stand will not be stable. On the other hand, if you mess up, toss the cardboard into the recycling and start over.

It helps to set the laptop and stand on a rigid board of some sort to make it easier to move around. I use the backing from a block of watercolor paper, which is a rigid paper board a bit larger than my laptop. Everything is easily transportable once you get used to it.

My prototype used a single cardboard roll. I cut four equal pieces, and placed them on the board, under the laptop. The prototypes could not handle the weight, and they pancaked over the course of a few days.

Since then I have used two rolls and doubled up the pieces resulting in a more steady stand. The double walled version is more robust, and has proven itself over several weeks - no pancaking!

A laptop can generate as much heat as a 100W light bulb
I bought my laptop in 2005. It had a catastrophic meltdown last year. At that time I replaced the hard drive rather than buy new, and vowed to keep it, and my pocketbook cooler. Therefore, my minimalist DIY laptop stand.

The laptop stand is easy to make and use, is constructed with common materials and tools, and is 100% free. It effectively lifts a laptop up about 3 centimeters, and allows cooling air to circulate around it.

Heat is a computer killer. Extend the life of your laptop with a free DIY stand that you can build at your kitchen table.


  1. Another option: I'm currently using film canisters (I have more of those readily available, ha).

    1. Hey Holly,

      Film canisters are an excellent idea for a free, DIY, laptop heat management system.

  2. DIY always is cheper than shop


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