Laptops are great for their portability, but
when it comes to getting some serious work done it’s often good idea to get it hooked
up to a monitor and peripherals for better ergonomics to help you get things done faster.
Unfortunately plugging in all the cables can be a bit tedious and often ends up looking
messy, and while you can get port replicators for some laptops these aren’t particularly
elegant and still take up a lot space on the desk.
So to solve these problems we will in this video be building a super sleek wall-mounted
laptop docking station that not only looks neat on the wall, but is also super practical
as the laptop can be just slid in place to connect it to all your devices.
Let’s get to it! So the first thing we will need is a sheet
of low density PVC plastic, which is perfect for this project as it’s lightweight, easy
to work with, and comes in a variety of colours. As it’s going to form the main base the first
thing to do is cut it down to size, and for aesthetics I’m going to round off the corners
using a coping saw, following up with some sand paper for neatness.
Size-wise this base needs to be 3cm larger than the laptop in all directions, which leaves
room for all the connectors that we’ll be adding later in addition to allowing space
for two supporting side pieces. These can be made out of the same material,
and need to have some holes drilled through them for mounting purposes.
One thing to check here is whether either of these side pieces will block any vents
on the laptop. If they do, mark the vent’s position on the offending side piece and carefully
carve out a gap for it on the underside, which should allow air to flow freely through the
vent. So before we screw these side pieces in place
we need to make two little tabs which will later act as locks to stop the laptop from
falling out. They can simply be made out of a thin sheet of aluminium using some tin snips,
and must be heavily sanded down to round off all the edges so that they won’t scratch the
laptop when deployed. These can be attached to the side pieces using
some m5 flange head screws. These are supposed to slide through the side pieces easily, but
I made my holes slightly too small so they were a bit stiff. Now we can add a few washers
to act as spacers, and tighten them onto the base. Note that the holes here need to be
smaller so that the screw bites in securely. As the tabs are likely going to rotate the
screws at this point, which we don’t want, we need to back the screws off slightly and
add some glue to the underside, which, when dry, should keep the screws in place while
still allowing the tabs to be rotated. So, why were the washers necessary? Well,
they lift up the side pieces just enough to match the inside height of the laptop, which
allows the tabs to slide over the top to keep it secure.
Next we’ll need a selection of cables which we can use to make what’s essentially the
docking interface. I’ve got a USB extension, two monitor cables, and a power port extension.
With the laptop in position on the dock, these cables can all be plugged in, after which
we can mould some tack to around the area of each plug to prevent the glue we’re going
to use from touching the laptop or spreading too far. You may want to make some groves
in the base as well to give the glue something more to adhere to, and it’s also a good idea
to rough up the plastic on each connector for the same reason.
The glue I’m using is slow drying epoxy, which has a working time of about an hour. I’d recommend
this over the fast dry stuff, as those often set within 10 minutes which makes it a bit
stressful as you’d have to rush to get it done in time.
So once it’s thoroughly mixed it can be spooned into each tack mould as well as being added
to the underside of each connector. You need to take care when plugging these in so as
not to let any glue enter the port at all, which would be quite disastrous for obvious
reasons. Once it’s in place some more glue can be added up the sides for some extra strength.
They now need to be left until the glue is completely cured, and it’s important that
they are in a very neutral position, not being pushed in any particular direction, so that
they will be perfectly in place once set. So once it has set, the tack can be peeled
away as much as possible, which leaves the ports solidly and securely in position. So
much so that the laptop can be slid in and out and they’ll remain anchored as if set
in stone. Now it’s time to tidy up the cables, so we
can bundle them together with a cable tie and get some black cotton ribbon, also attaching
it with a cable tie, wrapping it around and around to tightly bind them together.
This makes for a single exit cable that looks really smart.
So now there’s only one thing left to do, which is to make a covering piece to hide
the connectors. I made mine out of a single piece of aluminium, and used tin snips and
files to make a little cutout in the middle, which makes a small gap for two fingers to
make the laptop easier to pull out. To finalise this you might want to use some
water and a very fine grit sandpaper to add microscratches to its surface, which should
give it a brushed look once washed and dried. Very nice indeed. This can then be screwed in place, after which
the dock is complete! Now you may have noticed the four holes on
the base – these are mounting holes to allow it to be mounted onto a wall. For this it’s
just a case of using a pencil to mark their positions and adding some rawl plugs, which
allow the dock to be simply screwed in place. Now the only thing left to do is to plug in
all the devices. I used a USB hub to give me 4 USB ports, which
was attached to the back of the desk for ease of access, and for power I simply connected
the laptop’s original power brick to the power port extension.
Now the laptop can be slid in place, which is super satisfying by the way, and powered
on. As you can see, it looks really neat, especially
compared to the other methods I showed you earlier, especially as it keeps the desk free
from clutter giving you more room. It has a cool industrial look to it as well, thanks
to the brushed aluminium, flanged hex screws, and cotton covered cable.
By the way, to keep the laptop from going into standby with the lid closed, it’s just
a case of going into the power options and changing it to ‘do nothing’.
You can even set up dual monitors with this, and when you’re ready to go the laptop can
be simply pulled out and you can be on your way.
Now it’s worth noting that to successfully make one of these your laptop must have at
least a monitor port, a power port, and a USB port along a single edge. Doesn’t matter
whether it’s the back or one of the sides, as if it is one of the sides you can make
it so that it slides down vertically instead. So I hope you’ve enjoyed this video and if
you did don’t forget to give it a thumbs up and maybe consider subscribing as well, and
if you’re really keen then don’t forget to click that little bell icon which will let
you know whenever I upload a new project. Other than that, I’m Matt, you’ve been watching
DIY Perks, and I really hope I see you next time. Bye for now!
If you’d like to see another laptop-related project, then why not check this one out,
in which I show you how to convert a smashed up laptop into a beautiful desktop PC. With
some pretty interesting results…