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Folding Couch Monitor

December 30th, 2019
tech, ideas, house  [html]
I find working on a laptop to be pretty rough ergonomically. The only way for my wrists to be comfortable is if the laptop is flat on my lap, and keeping my wrists happy is very important to me. This means my neck is angled down at the screen, though, and I can't do this for very long without it getting painful.

When I'm home I usually sit on the couch to use my laptop, and I was thinking about how I might be able to do that with a screen at a pleasant height. I've read about various approaches that usually involve elevating the laptop screen and using an external keyboard, but I really like being able to use my laptop's touchpad. I decided to set up an external monitor that folds out over the couch when I want to use it, and folds away against the wall when I don't:

I started by making some diagrams:

I cut a section of cabinet-grade plywood to a bit bigger than the monitor, and mounted the monitor in the middle. I was able to re-use some of the mounting hardware from the stand to make something where the monitor would be easily removable. Once I got the monitor on, however, it wouldn't come off again, so something went wrong there.

I made a spacer for the hinge-side, and used a pair of door hinges. Unfortunately, after Julia had painted everything I realized the spacer wasn't thick enough, so for now there's an ugly unpainted wooden shim. It's built like a door, and feels very sturdy.

The monitor can swing out all the way, enough to be used as a TV from a second couch on the far wall:

You can also have it partly open, if multiple people want to hang out on the closer couch and look at something:

To keep it in position when I'm using it as a computer monitor, I have a short length of string between a pair of cup hooks:

I do look a little silly using it:

I built this today and have only just started using it, but so far I'm very happy and my neck feels great!

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