Mitch Willing, a Mechanical Engineering student at Kettering University was in a situation where he would need to move every three months for internships. In order to help with the inevitable packing and setting things up again, he decided to make a mobile frame for his computer and three monitors that folds into itself.
You might be asking why he prefers a desktop over a notebook. Understandably, he says that, “I like having the option to change things easily. I built a PC initially because I can change things around and edit it however I want, whenever I want. You just don’t have the same level of freedom with a laptop.”
Willing’s build, which was first modeled in 3D in Autodesk Inventor, certainly shows off this need to customize things. According to him, he was inspired by necessity. He adds that, “There was no other form of outside inspiration. I just went for it.” You can see his build process in the gallery below, or on imgur for a more complete depiction.
The build took about three months of off-and-on work. The supporting structure is made out of angled steel around the monitors, and square aluminum tubing for much of the rest. The build involved quite a bit of work with an angle grinder, or as he puts it, “Measuring, measuring, cutting, bending, drilling, riveting, rinse, repeat.”
Despite an obviously involved fabrication process, Willing says that:
The hardest thing about this build was probably attaching the latches that hold on the tower. I don’t know what it is about those latches, but if I don’t have them strapped down, they will pop open.
Drawer slides are used to facilitate everything pivoting into place, and Willing applied camping foam in several places to protect his equipment from scratches. Another neat feature of this setup is a USB hub on the front, as well as an external power switch so he doesn’t have to reach behind his monitors to turn the rig off. Finally, to set things off, he added an LED lighting system “for some extra flair.”
Following along with Willing’s penchant for modularity, his goals for this project “were making it mobile and easy to edit.” He adds that:
People ask why I didn’t just build a new tower from scratch or why I didn’t rip apart and integrate the monitors piece by piece. The reason I didn’t do any of that is so that if anything breaks, I can just pull it out and throw a new one in. As it stands, if a monitor busts somehow, I can remove four nuts and slap a new monitor in. Stuff like that.
On paper, or in a virtual model, this build certainly looked good. Now that he’s used it for a while Willing says that he hasn’t really had any problems with it, so I’d consider that a definite success. He does note that he needs to make the light strips detachable in three places, which would allow him to remove the monitor frame assemblies more easily.
In other words, like nearly every project I (and likely most of us) take on, it’s never really done!