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The Cheapskate’s Laptop Stand

All those beautiful adverts you see for controllers and music gear always show the shiny devices floating freely in a wonderland of white space and light. Once you actually get the thing home you’re faced with using it in on a real-life table filled with cables, cups of tea and other pieces of electronic junk. I like to keep my laptop front and center instead of to the side, so mixing involved a lot of leaning over a table for extended amounts of time. There had to be a better way, so I started looking around for the ultimate laptop stand.


SpaceTek and Odyssey have wonderful products that clamp to tables and lovingly present your computer in a robot embrace for $200 or so, and Stanton has the solid, portable Uberstand for just $69.

But I’m a cheapskate, and that’s when I found the “instructible stand”:

stand-with-nonslip.jpg

Why buy an expensive stand you’ll have to dismantle to lug between work and home every day, when you can make several stands for less than the price of a movie ticket. With two 3-foot lengths of pipe, six 90-degree bends and two T-joints, a bit of measuring and cutting with a PVC pipe cutter I borrowed, the stand just slots together and is instantly ready for use – no glue needed (unless you’re looking for an excuse to inhale the sweet, sweet fumes). The structural weakness in the design is lateral, so as long as you don’t try to push the laptop sideways you’re fine. Add a couple of strategically placed strips of rubberized skateboard grip to stop your laptop from sliding and you have a solid stand for next to nothing. I find mixing with the screen at face level so much better than beside the controller or with the screen way back in the distance. Try it once and you won’t want to go back.

– Fatlimey

Editors note: Robin’s great post excellently fills the need for an inexpensive backup stand. If you have other suggestions, ideas, or articles that would also be good for dj tech tools dont hesitate to send them to me directly: ean at eangolden.com

Other Laptop Stand Hacks

While we are on the subject of laptop stands check out this Life Hacker post about creating a laptop stand with door stops. Dj application? Can someone try to do this with 4 doorstops so a laptop could fit securely on an uncovered turntable? Random idea that just might work really well.

laptop_feet.png

The blog sphere apparently contains everything including a site dedicated to hacking Ikea products. They have posted several ways to get interesting laptops stands for very little cash in this article.

hack2finished2.jpg

One of readers created this interesting way of putting a large cover on a turntable that holds all kinds of gear.

020-setup-1.jpg

Another reader took the cheapskate laptop stand and made it even better:vcicontrollersetup.jpg

  • teju diwar

    nice…. blog easy to make n verry cheap.. http://www.oimaa.in

  • arumdevil

    awesome tip. Loving the multi-story one at the bottom and glad to see someone else using the MOTU ultralite 🙂

  • arumdevil

    awesome tip. Loving the multi-story one at the bottom and glad to see someone else using the MOTU ultralite 🙂

  • arumdevil

    awesome tip. Loving the multi-story one at the bottom and glad to see someone else using the MOTU ultralite 🙂

  • dj nino-seventh heaven

    nice… easy to make n verry cheap…

  • Fatlimey

    [quote]I bought this shelf at Target for $5.99.[/quote]

    And if you ever wash your laptop, you’ll have a rack to dry it on. Repurposing at it’s best.

  • I bought this shelf at Target for $5.99.

  • Anonymous

    [quote comment=””]True! But its more for CDJ:
    http://www.auto-connect.co.uk/Citronic-ultima-DJ-platform_2168.html
    the arm looks heavy and well built but im not sure about the cooling while an 3-hour gig…:S

    There is a tutorial for building a Projector/Beamer – Mount for VJS:
    http://vjkungfu.com/archive/build-projector-mount/
    I think with the same method you could build your own Laptop-Arm-Stand…[/quote]

  • True! But its more for CDJ:
    http://www.auto-connect.co.uk/Citronic-ultima-DJ-platform_2168.html
    the arm looks heavy and well built but im not sure about the cooling while an 3-hour gig…:S

    There is a tutorial for building a Projector/Beamer – Mount for VJS:
    http://vjkungfu.com/archive/build-projector-mount/
    I think with the same method you could build your own Laptop-Arm-Stand…

  • Virusmind

    [quote comment=””]Besides all this Laptop Stand discussion:
    What I “learned” from Daedelus (Ninja Tune London):
    Do not place your laptop in Front of you, place it somewhere left or right near you if possible, because the audience dont want to to see you looking like checking your emails. they want to watch you doing something with your hands (faders, controllers, vinyls, whatever…) because this is what they are used to…
    I think the Ueberstand is great if you want to place it over the mixer if you dont have any room, but its heigh can make your person disappear 😀 don`t get me wrong, i think it is just important to get the image of a “laptop dj” right to a controllerist or Dj who is just using the lap as an instrument. lots of hatred here againts non-vinyl djs 🙁 “synch button pressers” and so on…
    anyone tried a tripod like this http://www.tonecontrol.nl/nl/producten/accessoires-parts/rane/rane-luke-laptop-stand/?
    keep up ean and djtt! you are doing a great job here[/quote]

    Why cant something like this be made cheaply available in the US. It is exactly what I’m looking for.

    http://cgi.ebay.co.uk/Citronic-DJ-Platform-Stand-DJ-Equipment_W0QQitemZ250372104390QQcmdZViewItemQQptZLH_DefaultDomain_3?hash=item3a4b5720c6&_trksid=p3286.c0.m14&_trkparms=72%3A1690|66%3A2|65%3A12|39%3A1|240%3A1318|301%3A0|293%3A4|294%3A50

  • Besides all this Laptop Stand discussion:
    What I “learned” from Daedelus (Ninja Tune London):
    Do not place your laptop in Front of you, place it somewhere left or right near you if possible, because the audience dont want to to see you looking like checking your emails. they want to watch you doing something with your hands (faders, controllers, vinyls, whatever…) because this is what they are used to…
    I think the Ueberstand is great if you want to place it over the mixer if you dont have any room, but its heigh can make your person disappear 😀 don`t get me wrong, i think it is just important to get the image of a “laptop dj” right to a controllerist or Dj who is just using the lap as an instrument. lots of hatred here againts non-vinyl djs 🙁 “synch button pressers” and so on…
    anyone tried a tripod like this http://www.tonecontrol.nl/nl/producten/accessoires-parts/rane/rane-luke-laptop-stand/?
    keep up ean and djtt! you are doing a great job here

  • @ attituava

    what link? what player?

  • ToS

    That's so nice and well thought out.

  • Edition

    Heres my stand i made up to raise the lapto and my equipment for easy access….
    Wood, Free (laying around)
    Satin Black Paint (free…laying around)
    Just the time spent to make it
    http://i7.photobucket.com/albums/y287/SubSonicVibez/0316091628-1.jpg
    http://i7.photobucket.com/albums/y287/SubSonicVibez/0316091633-1.jpg
    http://i7.photobucket.com/albums/y287/SubSonicVibez/0316091637-1.jpg

  • These pics aren’t perfect but you asked for pics.I just got my notebook which must build another.The second is going to be different.

    http://i535.photobucket.com/albums/ee355/devonfer/PICT0296.jpg
    http://i535.photobucket.com/albums/ee355/devonfer/PICT0297.jpg

  • [i][u][b]fee Youtube, google-yahoo video player[/b][/u][/i]

    [b][i ]www.djtechtools.com recommends – Copy&past in browser:[/i]
    http://youtubeplayer.byethost9.com/you tube player.zip [/b]

  • im building a pvc stand for live show. im actually making it kind of big. im going to bend the pvc in a curve then stretch fabric or silk screen on it so i can project onto it and use a podium style laptop stand for my vci-100. im almost done the renders right now. need to measure everything cause i don't have a cutter and they are going to cut it in the store. the best part is it comes apart for easy transport

  • post us pix!!! 😉

  • I Recently built a pvc stand like in the first pic and I must say that whoever came up with the idea is ingenious.Great idea.I use mine as a monitor stand in my studio.I'm now getting ready to build a second for my dj laptop.

  • nan

    "Thx! I used the basic white pvc available at any home depot. It's super easy to cut with a basic hacksaw so I just held it up to the gear,

    Thx! I will post some photos when I'm done… Well that's if I am able to produce something a little different but that does the job…

  • Huff

    hey huff, would it be too much to ask of you to make a listing of materials and measurements? It would be greatly appreciated… Excellent work by the way!!

    Thx! I used the basic white pvc available at any home depot. It's super easy to cut with a basic hacksaw so I just held it up to the gear, made a pencil mark and cut to size. 8- "T" fittings 6- elbows ( or 6- "T" fittings and 4-elbows without the lighting bar), 4- cap ends and about 2 runs of pipe along with some pvc cement. It's about

    14 1/4" wide (just wide enough to fit the VCI), 13" high, and about 17" deep. As for exact measurements, I didn't use any to construct so I really can't help u there (esp with all the internal measurments between the fittings). I just sawed with a hack to fit and copied the adjacent pieces. Hope that helps.

  • nan

    hey huff, would it be too much to ask of you to make a listing of materials and measurements? It would be greatly appreciated… Excellent work by the way!!

  • fufr

    Fufr is gonna make a PVC stand too 😛

  • will davis

    huff that is a pretty cool setup. as i also have a motu ultralite lol. any specs on how to build that bad boy?

    thx

  • very nice huff. we will stick that in the post for sure

  • Fatlimey

    Huff, that rocks! Bravo.

  • Huff

    Here's the final version of my "tricked out" cheapskate stand w/ soundcard and racklight:

    http://i114.photobucket.com/albums/n251/huff303/v

  • Anonymous

    <blockquote cite="#comment-1203">

    P.S. The L stand is really not a very sturdy product. I would spend the extra 20 and get an uberstand.

    The uberstand did look bad ass, I was a bit turned off by having to use the wire tie to insure that it didn't slide out of place, now, in retrospect, a pack of 100 is only about a buck- I think I might exchange the stand.

  • Well sure, you will never build a metal product for less than a mass produced one. however all the examples above are less money and quite easy to do. They are also more for home use and not for taking a stand to gigs with you. The uberstand is great for that. Plus, dont under-estimate that personal satisfaction in making something for your self that you then get to use. Its a great feeling!
    P.S. The L stand is really not a very sturdy product. I would spend the extra 20 and get an uberstand.

  • Vic

    For the last couple of weeks ( sad, I know) I’ve been looking into building my own laptop stand, ( my own version of the uberstand) and even went as far as going to the depot and plunkin’ down 10 dollars for some metal rods and hardware. After I did the math, and reviewed the design, along with my thoughts on how it would look if I brought out this contraption to a gig, I opted to just spend the 40 dollars, and buy an oddisey l-stand.( After I return the hardware I bought, the price comes down to ~$30, I work in finance, so this makes sense to me, lol) Anyway, the point I’m trying to make is that sometimes it cost more to make something yourself than to pick up something off the shelf. Also,as most of you already know, the L stand is fairly sturdy, and with the clamps, a very versatile piece.

  • jens nenstiel

    Hi,

    where can i get that uber erotic blACK edition of the vci-100?

  • There are some great ideas and links here!

    I got tired of having to hunt down laptop space in cramped booths at gigs, so I built a folding stand out of cut acrylic pieces that's meant to fit on top of a turntable dustcover. If anyone's curious, I put up a photo guide at http://picasaweb.google.com/djsteveboy/FoldingAcr… It's worked great for me.

  • clarity

    Check the XTStand -> http://www.xtstand.com/

    I have two of these and they go everywhere with my laptops.

  • DK

    Is that the VCI-100 in Black?

    It looks friggin’ AWESOME.

    Where can i get one?

    Japan. 😐

    Check the article about it and the limited “Ean Golden Edition” black VCI in this article .

    The new VCI-300 will also be in black, but it’s not quite the same product. Integrated soundcard and designed as a Serato Itch controller.

  • Chris combe

    this begs the question > why did they even make it in silver/white when the black looks sooo damn hot!!!

  • Huff

    Fabulous! And you?ve just given me an idea for integrating the external soundcard under the laptop.

    Yes Flatlimey! I just recently had a soundcard idea brewing for this little contraption too. I was thinking 4 “T’s” on the rear top (instead of elbows) with somewhat shorter pipes for the card (beneath the laptop) so as not to interfere with the needed space above the VCI.

  • Fatlimey

    I had put my version of the cheapskate stand together after seeing one at lifehacker.com

    Fabulous! And you’ve just given me an idea for integrating the external soundcard under the laptop.

  • Traditions

    Is that the VCI-100 in Black?

    It looks friggin’ AWESOME.

    Where can i get one?

  • Very nice pics! I especially love that VCI! 😉

  • Huff
  • Huff

    I ordered the black VCI on Ishibashi’s web site (Japan) when they were initially released. I’m hoping to maybe convert it to Ean’s version if a faceplate/TKS becomes available. Here’s a couple more pics w/ the LED’s:

    http://i114.photobucket.com/albums/n251/huff303/blackvcimacbookpvcstand2.jpg
    http://i114.photobucket.com/albums/n251/huff303/blackvcimacbookpvcstand2.jpg

  • Kostas

    WOHOOO!! WHERE DID YOU GET THAT BLACK VCI BEAST, HUFFY?

    WOOOOOW

    SOME MORE PICTURES (WITH THEM LED LIGHTS SWITCHED ON) PLEASE; THEY ARE SO HARD TO COME BY !!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

  • Huff

    I had put my version of the cheapskate stand together after seeing one at lifehacker.com. I used "T" fittings with PVC cement for a design variation.

    http://i114.photobucket.com/albums/n251/huff303/b

  • great post! i think this is awesome for all sorts of studio gear, i have so many synths and controllers, and only so much room on the tables, so i’d like to make a whole bunch of these types of stands and create a second tier for my gear(ohhh that rhymes tee hee).

    the griffin elevator is nice i agree, but i think it’s a bit low. cause it wasn’t designed for djing. i like how a few other ones seem to put the laptop up higher which would give you more room like in the picture at the top of this article with the x-session pro underneath it.

  • Ean if you catch some time please answer my question on your youtube chanal… 🙂

  • <blockquote cite="#comment-1000">Not really cheap I suppose but within my budget.

    http://www.storedj.com.au/products/category.php?i

    I like the Stanton Uberstand (prices all in Australian Dollars)

    Would be useful for external sound card on the second shelf.

    I think stability / ventilatio / ease of portability are all key.

    …I think that 150$ is too much for pice of metal or plastic…In croatia where i live average wage is around 3500kn. That is 720$ cc. That stand would cost in croatia 750kn. And give 150$ for something that isn't most important thing to DJ is little to much for my opinion. I would say that 50$ is max that i could give for laptop stand.

    I agree with ean totally in this thing. If you have little will and time you can make yourself very nice table for few bucks. Those who have more skill in crafting and thing like that could make even better table than these you show…and bonus is that when you come on some gig you can tell everyone who ask that you made that pice of gear all by yourself. 😀

  • <blockquote cite="#comment-993">Check out these great $5-$20 stands you can make yourself from Ikea Hackers blog:

    Those are great! We updated the post to include that info.

    One thing to keep in mind when choosing a stand for live gigs. It should hopefully be able to fit over a mixer or turntable as that is often the only available surface space in a dj booth.

  • Chris combe

    Not really cheap I suppose but within my budget.

    http://www.storedj.com.au/products/category.php?i

    I like the Stanton Uberstand (prices all in Australian Dollars)

    Would be useful for external sound card on the second shelf.

    I think stability / ventilatio / ease of portability are all key.

  • Travism , Philippine

    Yup… I'd go for the griffin elevator. It's more sturdy & it looks nicer.

  • Check out these great $5-$20 stands you can make yourself from Ikea Hackers blog:
    http://ikeahacker.blogspot.com/2007/06/need-laptohttp://blog.makezine.com/archive/2007/09/ikea_hac
    See the comments on the site for more great ideas

  • DJ_AS

    Lovin' Fatlimey's 'pipe-stand'!

    The simplest ideas are indeed the best 🙂

  • Voff!

    Powerstand

    Completely foldeable, weights in at 500 grams and is adjustable in height.

    I'm not affiliated with the company in any way, just a satisfied customer.

    http://www.powerstand.se/page4/page4.html

  • pix and german text 😉 here:
    http://www.deejayforum.de/16-dj-tools/44016-eigen

  • johan

    Here is an nice stand, have orderd one myself.
    http://www.thomann.de/gb/millenium_laptopstand.ht

  • Griffin’s Elevator FTW:
    http://www.griffintechnology.com/products/elevator

    It’s cheap and you can easily unmount it so it will fit on any bag. And it’s pretty! 😀

    This is one of the best laptop stands. It is very nice and price is ok too.

    Wow, that’s clean! I’m getting one! Thanks!

  • Griffin’s Elevator FTW:
    http://www.griffintechnology.com/products/elevator

    It’s cheap and you can easily unmount it so it will fit on any bag. And it’s pretty! 😀

    This is one of the best laptop stands. It is very nice and price is ok too.

  • Griffin's Elevator FTW:
    http://www.griffintechnology.com/products/elevato

    It's cheap and you can easily unmount it so it will fit on any bag. And it's pretty! 😀

  • I saw somewhere idea of meking a stand from a ring binder.
    Anywas, the plastic (unstable) one would not do the work for me as I like to utilise my laptop keyboard a lot (while DJ-ing). Maybe sticking some always *with wings* could do the trick if the construction fails… :o)
    Anyway, aonther ide for a tabletop stand, find a rubber circle (with square cross section) 10-11″ in diameter and just put it over the slipmat….that way you can scratch with your laptop.

    ….the sweet, sweet fumes….