Levante – Handcrafted Wood Laptop Stands

Inspiration

I had a few products as inspiration here, including the mStand, stood and a few others. I really wanted to use the concept and create my own “style”, slightly edgier, but it was difficult to make the design consistent with these “more curvy” approaches so I had to go with a more ‘traditional’ approach.

 

Initial Sketches 


Getting Started

Materials

  • Sheet of 3/4″ thick birch plywood (42″ x 12″)
  • 3/4″ foam
  • Pencil
  • Eraser
  • Sharpie

Tools

  • Miter Saw
  • Exacto knife
  • T-Square
  • Compass
  • Drill press
  • Hole Saw bit (1.25″)
  • Open Stand Disc Sanding Machine
  • Band Saw
  • Sanding block
  • Large, Medium and Small clamps

 

The Process

Cardboard Prototyping

I took some foam and cut out very rough examples of what I wanted to build. the purpose of this was to determine the best angle to display the laptop screen through refining these rough ‘samples’. I began cutting out rectangular blocks 12″ x 3″ and sketched a sample image of the stand onto them with a sharpie.

I carved the designs out with an exacto knife, which came out extremely rough. I should have used a jigsaw. From this points, I chipped away at the foam until I got to a point where I was happy with the angle of the computer based on my torso (I’m slightly taller than average at 5′ 8.5″).

 

 

Wood Supply

I went over to Metropolitan Lumber on Spring St. and they hooked me up with 3/4″ birch plywood.

 

Building the Stencil

Before I could touch the wood I had just got, I had to build a stencil first so I could then trace onto the actual wood. I used a compass to help create the big curve in the back of the stand. The thinking here was to replicate Carlie’s approach and drill a hole, then use the miter saw to tangentially intersect the circle with two straight lines, one being for the top of the stand and the other for the bottom of the stand.

 

I then sanded the stencil down to a dimension I was happy with. The round curve at the back proved to be difficult with the miter saw cutting through some of it, which you can see not only in the stencil, but in the actual production pieces as well.

 

Creating The Others in Bulk

Now that I had a stencil, I could pretty much fly through and create 5 more sets of of these, right? Wrong. I had to rethink my approach at each stage.

I began with a piece of wood that was 42″ x 12″ and creating 12 3″ rectangles that spanned the width of the board (I accounted of one of the inevitable ‘first pancakes’ was was yet to occur).

I then carefully traced the stencil within each block (foreshadowing to a future problem).

 

I then used the miter saw to cut these into their own pieces.

 

I then used a compass to create the circles in roughly the same place for each piece and then cut the circles out.

 

I then used a miter saw to create the straight lines. This is where I lost of the the pairs.


 

With these rough cuts made, I then used the band saw to make the smaller, more “curvy” cuts.

 

Now I had to sand. As you can see the actual stencil is much larger than the raw stands.

 

This is when I made my major mistake with the production run. I thought I could clamp all of the pieces together (along with the sample) and just sand everything until it was all even with the stencil. What I didn’t account for was what I mentioned before when I traced the stencil on each rectangle. I didn’t do it in the same location on each rectangle. When I then tried to even it out using the stencil as a guide, they became even more uneven as you can see below where I sanded past the traced line on some of them.

 

I then paired them together with another stand that was roughly the same dimensions, clamped them together and sanded them together so at least each pair would be even.

Final Shots

I wanted to attach a brand name to this item, and ‘Levante’ seems appropriate.

Conclusion

What could I have done better? Well a lot. I could have done a more jagged design to cover up any mistakes by the saw. I should have drawn each outline of the stand in the exact same place on each rectangle, which would have made sanding significantly easier. I wish I used a better wood and not plywood, as it cracks and doesn’t look nice after attempting to sand it down. This is something that would look amazing if I was able to use the CNC machine, as it would have been much more precise with less mistakes overall.