So... you or someone in your family has an elliptical (or other exercise) machine? Want to lose weight but you're bored out of your mind while you walk on it? Have a laptop and think "Gosh, if I could just read my laptop, trade all those bitcoins, and/or play games, I might actually use the stupid thing!"
Well I thought the same thing (well playing games, the bitcoin stuff I didn't find out until later...
So here you go!
I call it my "Red-neck Elliptical machine laptop holder thingy" (I'm from Nebraska, so of course I'm red-neck)
1. Here's a view of what I had to work with. No base to work with, just the stupid arm/hand rests, and at an incline to boot.
I would have much preferred a flat surface, which would have made this a lot easier...
2. So while I was at Home Depot one day for an unrelated project I saw some PVC pipe that seemed just about the right size! And then the light-bulb went off. So I ran home and did a quick sketch of the arms and rough-draft sketch of what might work for a frame, and did some measuring for approx total length of the PVC, and then noted the bends and knew I would need some of them. My sketch also helped me figure out where my load-bearing points would be as well, since the last thing I would want is the laptop to take a nose-dive when I'm in the middle of a 45 minute workout. I also bought some of that PVC sealant as well so that when all was done I could make the "permanent" pieces stay put.
This is the frame minus the front piece:
3. Here's where the load-bearing points are (the one in the middle has the PVC rear pipe on the opposite side of the elliptical main pole, and the next biggest points are up on the "shoulders" of the arms. The "elbows" hold the next amount of weight (I didn't want too much here since the PVC is the load point, but it is supportive), and the least amount is against my PVC front poles (the plank in later photos help distribute the weight across the system)
4. Note once your bends are in place, take a Sharpie and draw a line from one piece to the other, so when you remove them to apply the sealant, you get them correct again when you put the bends back on.
5. Here's with the front bar in place. This is not glued in, so I can remove it. I also got a plank of particle board (I think 1/4 inch) so that it wouldn't be too flexible, but not too heavy. The bottom is a 1x2 nailed to the board, and then 1x.25 to give a little lip so that it wouldn't slip off the bottom, and to provide a place for the mouse to rest when not in use (due to the incline). Note you would have to measure your laptop and figure out what works best for you.
6. The final look: my elliptical has a little fan that is normally supposed to cool you off, but instead I have it blowing on the laptop, and then have a regular floor (box) fan off to the side pointing up at me.
If this inspires anyone in any way, shoot me a bitcoin (my address is in my signature)
I would be willing to offer advice on your setup as well if you have any questions!