DIY Laptop Stand: Why Stop At One When You Can Slot Three?

We make the tools we need, and that’s definitely the case with [Marco Schulte]’s laptop stand. It slots not one, not two, but three laptops at once.

For all their portability, multiple laptops can be a bit clunky to manage on a desk, so [Marco]’s solution definitely saves space while keeping things accessible. The laptop in the front can be open for use and easy access, while the two in the back are held vertically and can be attached to external monitors or other peripherals.

Not only does it save space, but the stand provides ample spots to anchor cable ties for securing the inevitable mess of wires and cables that dealing with three laptops brings. It makes for a tidier desk, that’s for sure.

The stand was designed in Fusion 360 and was cut from plywood with a CNC router. Does this design give you any ideas, or would you like to make one for yourself? The design files are here.

No access to a CNC router? No problem if you have glue and some spare boxes laying around! You might be surprised at how sturdy a few layers of cardboard and glue can be.

Cables Too Long? Try Cable Management Via DIY Coiling

Annoyed by excessively-long cables? Tired of the dull drudgery and ugly results of bunching up the slack and wrapping it with a twist-tie? Suffer no longer, because the solution is to make your own coiled cables!

[Dmitry] is annoyed with long, unruly cables and shared a solution he learned from the DIY keyboards community: coil them yourself with a piece of dowel, a hair dryer, and about 10 minutes of your time. However, it’s just a wee bit more complicated than it may seem at first glance.

The process begins with wrapping a cable around a mandrel, then heating it as uniformly as possible to thermoform the jacket, but the instructional video (embedded below) says that all by itself that isn’t quite enough to yield lasting results. After heating the cable and letting it cool, the coils will be formed but it will not hold the new shape very well. The finishing touch is to “reverse” the direction of the coils, by re-wrapping it backward around the mandrel, inverting the coils upon themselves. This process is awkward to explain, but much simpler to demonstrate. This video by [DailySetupTech] explains this process around the 2:30 mark. That final step is what yields a tightly-wound, springy coil.

The nice part about using this process as a cable management technique is that it is possible to coil only a portion of a cable, leaving the exact amount of uncoiled slack required for a given application. Keep it in mind the next time some cables need managing. And if you don’t want to coil a cable but still need it out of the way, you might find this design for a DIY cable chain made from a tape measure useful.

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IWings For The New Apple Power Adaptor

You might remember the old Apple MagSafe adaptor with the cute little fold out “wings” that served not only as a pragmatic cable management tool, but in our experience also expedited the inevitable and frayed end of your charger. Apple seems to have remedied the latter by opting for removable USB-C cables in latest designs, but the complete omission of a pop-out cable spooling contraption is problematic.

[Eric], an industrial designer, took it upon himself to design a 3D printed add on for the new generation of chargers. His video is certainty one of those satisfying accounts, where the whole process from conceptional sketch to a working Hack is neatly self-contained in a single video.  The design is largely based off the original version, implemented in PLA together with piano wire serving as the hinge pin. We think this is a very good example of how 3D printers can be used to personalise and tweak commercial products to suite particular needs.

If you are looking for a more general 3D printed cable management tool, check out this geared cable winder we featured earlier.

Geared Cable Winder Keeps Vive Sync Cable Neatly Wound

Long cables are only neat once – before they’re first unwrapped. Once that little cable tie is taken off, a cable is more likely to end up rats-nested than neatly coiled.

Preventing that is the idea behind this 3D-printed cable reel. The cable that [Kevin Balke] wants to make easier to deal with is a 50 foot (15 meters) long Vive lighthouse sync cable. That seems a bit much to us, but it makes sense to separate the lighthouses as much as possible and mount them up high enough for the VR system to work properly.

[Kevin] put a good deal of effort into making this cable reel, which looks a little like an oversize baitcasting-style fishing reel. The cable spool turns on a crank that also runs a 5:1 reduction geartrain powering a shaft with a deep, shallow-pitch crossback thread. An idler runs in the thread and works back and forth across the spool, laying up the incoming cable neatly. [Kevin] reports that the reciprocating mechanism was the hardest bit to print, as surface finish affected the mechanism’s operation as much as the geometry of the mating parts. The video below shows it working smoothly; we wonder how much this could be scaled up for tidying up larger cables and hoses.

This is another great entry in our 3D Printed Gears, Pulleys, and Cams Contest. The contest runs through February 19th, so there’s still plenty of time to get your entries in. Check out [Kevin]’s entry along with all the others, and see what you can come up with.

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Cable Management For Pull-out Shelves

Cable management is a headache for all, and if unmitigated it becomes a playground for cats. [kws103] posted a project a while ago that takes care of the messy wires for electronics on pull out shelving. Channel bracket is used to house the cables and has been articulated in three places to facilitate the movement of the sliding shelf. For an added touch an outlet was built into the surface to make it easy to unplug and remove the components if necessary. The hinges for articulation use aluminum base plates and rely on rivets as a pivot point, something that might need improvement if pulling the shelf in and out is a common occurence. Add this to the Ikea based solution we looked at in August and your days of electronic rats nests may be coming to an end.

Custom Cable Management

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You would be hard pressed to find a hacker who doesn’t have in some form a rats nest of wires and cables behind their computer desk. [Antoine] decided to tackle the problem and came up with his custom built cable management system. There is little info, but he does say his setup uses Ikea Antonius coat hangers and some hollow tube. Its quick and wont leave a residue like some cable solutions, so long as you don’t mind a screw hole or two. We especially like how if you need to change your setup you wont have to re-zip tie everything.