Hello all you nomadic tech junkies out there. Today I’m going to be covering how to make a DIY laptop, keyboard or Mixer/Soundboard Cradle without ever even going into a hardware store.
So, here’s a simple way to make a cradle for your mixer, recorder, soundboard, laptop, or any other desktop device for which the angle of the component needs to be on an incline in order to more efficiently use the plugs, keys, dials, buttons and so on. This particular cradle can be made without ever entering a hardware store.
Here’s what you’ll need:
- Cutting board (slightly larger than the base of your chosen device)
- Wood glue (or Gorilla Glue, which I used)
- Multi-tool with a file and a saw blade
- Wooden plunger or broom handle
- Two drywall or picture frame nails
- Black marker or sharpie
- Small hammer
- Duct tape (optional)
- Drawer mat (optional)
- Two 2-liter bottle caps (optional)
First, you will need to measure the distance that you want to incline the device for appropriate or convenient use. I am making my cradle for a Behringer Xenyx 1202fx Premium 12-Input 2-Bus Mixer (pictured above). For this, I chose to elevate the incline to 2.5 inches (about 6.5 cm). This allows me to better see what levels my dials are set to when I mix the volume and effects inputs to my podcast feed.
- Measure and mark the distance for the height of the incline first (this is the line you’ll cut half-way through), then mark another line above that for the thickness of the cutting board (this is the line you will cut all the way through). Then draw a line demarcating the half-way mark so that you don’t cut the first measure too far.
Note: You’ll probably want to use the rounded edges on either side of the handle (or file them into rounded edges) so that you can easily file down later to make sure that the cradle doesn’t wobble.
2. Repeat this step for the other leg that will be attached to the cutting board later.
3. Take a length of the midsection of the handle and cut the exact width of the board – this will become the section that holds your component up and keeps it from sliding off the incline.
4. With a black marker, draw a flat, straight line all the way down this length of the handle. Then measure and delineate about 1cm (about a fingernail width) and draw another line. To make sure you have a straight line, press and hold both the marker and the handle against a desk or flat tabletop surface, and drag the marker along the length of the handle. Measure, roll the handle to the measured mark and repeat.
Once you’ve got the two, evenly spaced lines, mark a checkered area in between them. You will use your file to clear this area out until you don’t see any more black ink – this will mean at the area that you’re filing away will be flat enough to lay evenly along the cutting board.
Note: be sure not to file it too finely, because you’ll need scored surfaces for the glue to catch.
5. Now that you have all of your necessary pieces, it’s time to start gluing. I glued my legs first and then the bottom bracket/brace. No matter which you choose, you’ll need to drive your nails into the still-rounded edge of the legs. To ensure that you’re driving the nail in straight, take your marker and draw a cross section to guide your aim.
6. Legs: Take the inner portion of the cut surfaces and make sure that you run a rough file or knife over them to rough them up and to create notches so that the glue will find footholds and make a stronger connection once hardened. You’ll want to also file or scratch the surface of where they will be setting against the surface of the cutting board. Apply some glue over both panes of the cut. Place them on the edges of the cutting board. Nail the nail the rest of the way in, and let it set. Do this for both sides.
7. Bottom bracket: While that’s drying, start shaving away at the checkered area of the remaining length of the handle. You can do this with the serrated edge of the saw, a file, or even a knife that’s sharp enough to handle it. Once it’s close enough to level to file it, rough it up and flatten it out the rest of the way with the file. Also file the surface area of the cutting board where the flattened rod will be glued.
8. Once that’s done, your glue should be partially dry on the legs. Flip it over – legs up – put a layer of glue along the rod, slide it under the cutting board and make it level by placing a book under the other side. It’ll need to be level so that you can place a heavy object on it to keep pressure for the drying process.
9. Let your new cradle sit overnight to ensure a strong hold, and it should look like this.
10. Additional incline/space: Keeping in mind that most components have heat vents, you’ll want to make sure that there is enough circulation to keep it from overheating. The air vent is located on the upper left section of the back panel on this mixer.
An easy way to raise the component up another 1.5cm or so, is to place a 2-liter soda bottle cap on the cutting board near the top of the incline. To keep it from sliding around, you can use duct tape and drape the tape over the top of the incline.
One other option here to keep it from sliding around, is to use a drawer mat. This adds grip and stability, while also offering some area for ventilation as well (though not as much as the bottle caps). they are easy to cut out exact shapes to form-fit to your device.
That’s it! Enjoy your new cradle for your laptop, keyboard, mixer or whatever else you’re going to use it for.