Long Hiatus, Back in Business
It’s been a while since I’ve posted here on Artefacture. Last year was an incredibly busy time, but with the new year upon us I’m planning to make a point to post more regularly. With that being said I’d like to share a quick peek into my design process for the latest item in our collection, the Artefacture Laptop Stand.
Soon after the business card holder launched I was thinking about our next product and wanted to continue with a DescSeries item. I had a concept lingering for a laptop computer stand and felt I could come up with an appropriate design that fit in with the ‘ribbon’ aesthetic conveyed by the other items in the lineup.
The idea for a laptop stand came from the fact that I used an appropriated square ceramic dish to elevate my computer. This was a decorative item, but for what exact purpose it was designed for I was never quite sure (it wasn’t a conventional dish). I used this dish to raise my laptop off the desk surface to allow for proper air circulation and cooling. Ergonomics were not a major concern since my set-up comprised of a large external monitor and keyboard, the laptop screen was secondary.
I decided that my design would focus on two functions: 1) raise the computer off of the work surface to allow for optimal cooling and 2) tilt the computer slightly to provide a more comfortable typing angle. I did some quick ergonomic tests and settled on a 10° tilt angle - this felt like a widely accessible parameter, one that most users would find comfortable.
As far as investing in what currently existed on the market, yes I did that too of course. Not surprisingly, I found most designs offered a great deal of functionality but none where formally interesting or unique in any manner (ok maybe there were a few).
With custom height and tilt angle adjustments a laptop stand can get complicated very quickly. Since I was designing a 3D printed piece I decided to lock in those parameters and offer a basic solution where the stand could be easily printed, looked good on a desk with or without a laptop on it, offered a comfortable typing angle and provided optimal cooling for the machine.
Speaking of 3D printing, I opted to keep the final STL design file as a unified piece and not break it into two or more pieces. The laptop stand dimensions are: 311mm wide, 213mm deep and 63mm high. It was designed to accommodate 13”, 15” and 16” Apple MacBook Pro/Air laptops and PCs with same screen sizes.
I realize that the width dimension is greater than what most home 3D printers support. The model can be easily split into 2 pieces using any slicer application to allow for a smaller print volume. I did appropriately shell the model so customers do not have to worry about that detail and also save some money on printing materials.
The following sketches show my approach and how the form exploration evolved throughout the process. I started with the intended ribbon or strip concept, then moved onto an ‘extruded tube’ concept and finally circled back to the ribbon concept:
3D Design Process
Once I had the basic concept configured and details roughed out on paper, I switched over to Rhino to create the 3D model. Here I first created reference models of a 13” and a 15” Apple MacBook Pro laptop. Then based on the 13” reference model, I decided the max width, depth and height of the stand. I made sure that these dimensions would work and support both laptop sizes.
From there I modeled and refined all the details (profile angles, curves, corner radii, fillet radii etc). After shelling and making sure the polygon mesh geometry was an air-tight solid, I exported an STL file for Multi-Jet Fusion printing. The following are screen grabs of my work in Rhino 3D:
I hope you enjoyed this brief peek into my design process for the Artefacture Laptop Stand! It entailed many hours of thinking on paper (and off) as well as modeling and fine-tuning in Rhino 3D.
I’m happy with the result, the final design is functional, aesthetic and fits in stylistically with the other DescSeries items. Please check out the Laptop Stand in detail here.
Thank you, until next time! - Andreu O.