DIY Laptop, Keyboard or Mixer Cradle in 10 Easy Steps


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. 

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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:

  1. Cutting board (slightly larger than the base of your chosen device)
  2. Wood glue (or Gorilla Glue, which I used)
  3. Multi-tool with a file and a saw blade
  4. Wooden plunger or broom handle
  5. Two drywall or picture frame nails
  6. Black marker or sharpie
  7. Small hammer
  8. Duct tape (optional)
  9. Drawer mat (optional)
  10. 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.

  1. 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.

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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.

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2. Repeat this step for the other leg that will be attached to the cutting board later.

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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.20170210_221843

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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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9. Let your new cradle sit overnight to ensure a strong hold, and it should look like this.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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That’s it! Enjoy your new cradle for your laptop, keyboard, mixer or whatever else you’re going to use it for.

 

TGD Bulgaria Short: Snowboarding Kartala


Headed back out to the mountain again – this time to Kartala; just outside of Blagoevgrad.

The mountain itself has few trails, many of which are cut straight out of the trees descending some pretty treacherous terrain. So those are generally visited only by the seasoned boarders/skiers. The whole park, though, isn’t what I’d call a traffic jam of snow sport enthusiasts.

Given the terrain on even the groomed areas, I have to warn visitors that this mountain is not for beginners. Its uneven pitch and frequent, fist-sized rocks make for some challenges to keeping balance. And probably the biggest problem is the hidden boulders. With just a few millimeters of snow coverage, they tend to do some significant damage to the underside of skis and boards.

Other than that, the benefits include:

  1. It’s the cheapest mountain around, at just under $20 for an all-day pass ($12 for half days).
  2. Parking is a breeze as long as you arrive before the half-day mark.
  3. Barring the few, random, winded boarder resting off to the side (okay, actually there are plenty in the middle of the trail, too), there really isn’t a lot of traffic here – even on the weekends.

All in all, it’s definitely worth a visit. Just try to keep your balance and work the straightaways for some epic speed.

My Apartment in Bulgaria


Well, I’ve settled in and am working on not one, but three new Travel Geek films. As the next year rolls on, I’ll be filming throughout Bulgaria of course. But at the end of the month, I’ll be headed off to Georgia to gather all the footage for TGD Georgia. I was hoping to hit Armenia while I was there, but it doesn’t look like I’ll have that much time. Oh well, one epic country full of experiences will have to do!

And of course, I’m also frequently traveling to Greece gathering footage for that upcoming film as well.

Nevertheless, I’ll be using my apartment overlooking the city as my charming studio. I made a video of that, just in the event that my readers thought I was lying… okay, I wanted to show off a little. (Note: when I am talking about my “towel closet” it’s actually a “shoe closet.” What can I say, I am not an Ikea guy!)

Rozhen Monastery


This weekend, my new producer and I went out to visit some really cool places throughout Southwestern Bulgaria. It was a trip back in time to the 1700s when our first stop brought us to the Rozhen orthodox monastery in Blagoevgrad Province. This place was packed into the history books with the Spanish Inquisition.

The Rozhen monastery is the biggest in the Southwest of Bulgaria, and is known formally as the Monastery of the Nativity if the Mother of God. This orthodox encampment is one of the few in the region, and is well preserved. You can reach it by car, as my gracious hosts have offered to me, or by footpath from the town through the sand pyramids – a highly recommended jaunt that should only take an hour or so. This is the trail that the original monastics used, so it’s something of a pilgrimage that can be made in the same footsteps as used in the time of its inception.

Everything from the art on the walls to the listless grape vines splayed along the second story buttresses, drinking up the sun. From before even stepping foot into the grounds of the compound, the centuries-old, riveted, iron-plate door swallowed all sense of recency and equipped the eyes to take in something from long ago.

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The paintings alone, finished in 1732 by local monks, are enough to lock you into a gaze of intentional curiosity. Like the paintings of the period, it’s not the masterful work that absorbs you. It’s the context of the themes themselves. They show depictions of the most important moments in the orthodoxy’s history. And they’re displayed right atop benches and walkways that people inconveniently rub away without any regard to preservation of the artwork. Perhaps this is more the fault of the keepers than the visitors for not protecting with more attention.

Nevertheless, it was a very cool experience to have been a part of. And what’s more, I was also given the rare privilege of shooting inside the monastery itself, with other opportunities to film around the grounds.

Here are a few of the images I took while I was there.

 

After walking the grounds, we also visited the grave of Yane Sandanski, the revolutionary after whom the neighboring town of Sandanski was named. Yane (or Jane) Ivanov Sandanski was an interesting chap. He is widely recognized as the revolutionary leader who lead an anti-Ottoman uprising and assisted in estoppel of the Turkish campaign of forced Islamic conversion in the late 19th and early 20th centuries.

His grave site lies behind this stoic edifice, and is certainly presaged by locals to be the tomb of a hero.

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After leaving the Rozhen temple, I headed into Melnic, the least populated city in Bulgaria. More about that next time…

Adam Kokesh interview with the Travel Geek


This week’s podcast comes from one of the bastions of the libertarian movement in the heart of the American fight for freedom. Adam Kokesh, of AdamVsTheMan.com, discusses how the plight of the American people to become free of their increasingly encroaching system of government, is truly something that the world should be listening to. Citing his own real experiences and even referencing his recent release of the book, FREEDOM!, In this latest podcast, Kokesh makes the case for individual governance and the global nature of information sharing in today’s technological horizon.

Listen in! You just might learn something that changes everything!

The Constant Cobra!


I-promise-dont-do-it-againDear Readers,

Some of you (okay, all of you) may have noticed that a certain slithery animal has frequented my blog for some time — popping up several times as a short blog post. This is a technical issue for which I ultimately still have no explanation.

In my inbox at least twice a month (and likely in yours as well), I will be reminded that my article on the cobra that invaded my Malaysia home has been reposted to my blog. This was originally thought to be due to an issue with my Hootsuite Account. I linked these two accounts in order to connect my analytics and online statistics to keep up with my traffic and create content that is better suited to my readers (and when they’re most likely to have time to read it).

However, this backfired and I have had some significant hair loss due to the fact that it seems to have become the ghost in the machine, controlling my blog and posting my tweets for me — even though I have never set my tweets up to post to my blog. Sometimes technology has a way of paying us back in ruthless ways.

I heartily apologize for this (and have posted a photo of a cute puppy to help ease the emotional duress). I have been reminded several times by you, my wonderful readers, in an effort to help me get rid of the problem. Thank you all very much for taking the time to do that. And while I continue to push through this problem (okay, hopefully it’s finally fixed), please continue to have patience with me. I’m working on it, and I think that the severing of my connection between social media accounts may be the last ditch effort of making it happen.

Again, my fullest of apologies for this annoyance and I will endeavor to make the rest of your blog-reading experience a pleasant one here in the Travel Geek!

Love and Kisses,

The C.O.