Computer Docking Plug Alleviates Docking Station Woes


If you’ve ever owned a laptop with a docking station you can certainly attest to how something so simple can make your life easier. Just pop in the laptop and your external monitor(s), mouse, keyboard, and whatever are all ready to go. When it’s time to leave, just pop the laptop out and be on your way. [Chris] uses a Macbook for work and has to plug and unplug 4 connectors several times a day. This is just plain annoying and even more annoying when he accidentally plugs his two external monitors into the wrong ports. Commercially available docking stations are very expensive so [Chris] scratched his head and came up with a neat DIY docking station alternative.

All of the cords that regularly need connecting and disconnecting are conveniently located next to each other. He took some moldable plastic and surrounded all of his cord connectors while they were plugged into his laptop. Once the plastic hardened, all 4 cables can be plugged/unplugged at once. The plastic holds the connectors at the right orientation and spacing so [Chris’s] monitors will never again be plugged into the wrong ports. This is a great idea and we’d love to see a 3D printed version made for the docking-station-less computer users.

via [LifeHacker]

23 thoughts on “Computer Docking Plug Alleviates Docking Station Woes

    1. Aww, Don’t be hatin’. At the very least, it’s a very advanced life-hack. Using instamorph/polymorph instead of a roll of tape or super-gluing a bunch of crap onto the connectors to bridge them together is a decent idea. And 99% of the people “on the street” don’t have the slightest idea what IM/PM is, so that alone puts it apart from most “life” hacks.

  1. I suppose putting a 1 and 2 or L and R on the DP connectors would have been too easy :-P

    What would be really neat would be a 3d printed version which could snap existing connectors into so that you can easily add/remove them.

  2. Wow. Such hack.

    In any case, I want to do this for the two thunderbolt connectors for my MBPro @ work, like this guy has, but only because if you put them in opposite to what they were last time, OSX shoves all of your windows around and spazzes out, so it’s really to keep them in order.

    1. You must not work in a setting the requires both office and field work. I develop for building and av automation systems. I have to not only code in the office, but deploy the completed code in the field, and often do edits on site. It’s infinitely more convenient to use one machine for everything than have to manage files between both devices at all times.

    2. Every single person at my work has a work bought macbook pro, which we connect to external monitors etc. The point is that unless you’re in a super corporate environment, in a development studio you’re going to work with different teams on different projects and so everybody’s real estate in the studio is not permanent. Using a laptop makes doing this easy. I just wish they bought us Windows laptops…

    1. Apple has often gone back to the “You don’t need an expandable computer” concept, and if you do add any peripherals you’ll have a rats nest of cables. They’ve also tended to be very sparse with ports, like with the MacBook Air with just one USB and the new one with just one USB-C.

      Apple’s most expandable Mac ever was the 9600, released in 1997, 18 years ago. No Mac since has had as many internal expansion slots.

      Apple is touting wireless connections to peripherals, but you still have the rats nest of power cords to all those “wireless” devices.

        1. Why people are OK with it…. Stockholm syndrome? :)
          I’ve been Mac-only since I started, either with the //c in 86, or my first “Mac” in 94…
          A lot of, for lack of better word… ’emotional’ investment to the platform. Especially if you started off comparing Windows 3 to a computer running System 7 back then. You know what they say about first impressions… And that’s geared towards meeting people you may or may not deal with long-term. Your computer? Especially if it’s a hobby/work requirement? That’s a LOT of hours to discard. Lots of habits, muscle memory that may not transfer over the same. Hell, you think switching out a mouse can take getting used to…?

          ANYway, those of us in the IT world or just having to support multiple machines are fully aware of the lack of expansion on Apple’s offerings. (Same story with repair-ability) It SUCKS. Still pissed off that Steve Jobs completely dismissed “power-users” and the desire to make moderate-to-advanced upgrades and expansions.
          Tim Cook is no better in this regard. One USB C port on the newest Macbooks? And they’re not technically “Air”? Seriously?

  3. That strip-able weatherstrip goop is great at doing this. It will hold things together but when it comes time to upgrade or change out, it will pull off without to much trouble. Use wax paper as a panel resist, poke plugs thru it. Fish bits out after cure.

  4. Every hacker should have Polycaprolactone as part of their materials tool kit, along with duct and Self-amalgamating tape. FWIW, the more you heat it above 60C, the more it acts like hot glue, which can be either handy… or not. :grin: If you want to buy it in larger quantities, you can order it using the info here. (Read the comments for the new ordering and pricing info.) I generally made credit-card sized 10g wafers out of the granules for easier storage and use.

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