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The Laptop Stand

1.) What was the intent?

Next to the library printer, there is a laptop that is used to authenticate printing any papers for students. This laptop used to be at about upper-thigh level, and students, frantic to print out last minute papers, complained that it was uncomfortable to stoop to type in a username and password. I wanted to create a laptop stand to address the issue of "stoopage". I had the perfect rapid prototyping tool to do the job, the beloved CNC Router.

2.) How would the intent manifest?

At first, I went with a tape measure to the library, and I measured the dimensions of the laptop so that I knew how wide and long the top of the stand needed to be. Next, I guesstimated what height of the stand would be comfortable for most users using myself as a model. With these dimensions, I went and I designed a stand in CAD that would fit together without fasteners or glue (interference fit). Mr. Ball looked at this initial stand, and he suggested that I adjust the legs to be more structurally secure. The second version of the stand passed his inspection, and I programmed the Carbide Shapeoko 3 to do the cuts necessary to make 3 parts that would fit together to make one stand.

4.) What was gained? 

The students of Guilderland are saved from uncomfort when they print things, and the library gained a good looking laptop stand. I learned how to do full profile cuts, as well as the fact that the machine cannot reproduce perfect right corners, as they will always be rounded like the bit being used. I also learned a far more valuable lesson; not to rush when working with automated machinery.

3.) What issues were resolved?

This was my first profile cut on the CNC Router (where an item is cut completely out of the surrounding material). This full profile cut is especially difficult as it has to be designed to not fly out of place while being fully cut out of the material around it (stock) which is accomplished by the addition of "tabs"; small uncut connections to the stock that are later removed by hand. I had to figure out via an online tutorial how to do such a cut, and the first time I did it, I went alongside the wrong edge of the model, making the piece not fit correctly along with the rest. The second time, I got impatient and programmed the feed rates (the speed at which the machine cuts along the X and Y axis) to be quite fast which ended up in the bit falling out of the Router as it wasn't tightened down super tight. I stopped the cut before anyone was hurt, and I kept the failed piece from the cut on my windowsill as a reminder not to rush. However, the next cut my trials and tribulations were resolved with a perfect cut. The pieces still didn't fit together, as in the CAD models the parts have perfect right angles, which is impossible to be machined by a round bit. This was resolved by filing down the curved edges to be a perfect right angle, which led to the table fitting together correctly. The table was leveled to the unlevel library desk with a file, where it sits now.

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