[This quick DIY steps through the process to build a VESA-mounted docking station for a regular laptop.]
I got fed up with my HP ProBook 640 G2 laptop sitting in a docking station on my desktop taking up valuable space. My big desktop monitors are raised above the desk surface so why not the laptop? I found all sorts of laptop stands on the market which raise the laptop up, but none are designed with docking in mind. I wanted to be able to snap my laptop into the stand with the screen at eye-level without having to fumble with a bunch of cables and without affecting the docking station warranty.
So I built my own:
- Generic VESA monitor arm (~$20)
- HP 2013 UltraSlim Docking Station (~$130)
- 2 1/4″ acrylic sheets (~120mm x ~400mm) (~$15)
- fasteners (~$4)
- 6 M4 16mm bolts
- 6 M4 washers
- 6 M4 nuts
- 2 M3 16mm bolts
- 2 M3 washers
- 2 M3 nuts
- screw driver
- heat gun
- Dremel rotary tool (optional)
- clamps and wooden blocks (optional)
Upon examining the bottom of the HP UltraSlim dock, I found two hanger areas that can be used to securely fasten the dock to the stand. Nails? Velcro? Nope. I used M3 screws, washers, and wing nuts since that’s what I had in my parts bin.
I had a scrap piece of acrylic which I bent with a little heat gun that my wife uses for embossing. I had never bent acrylic at home before, but found several guides on the Interwebs. 1/4″ acrylic is thick enough that I needed to alternate heating both sides before starting the bend. Took less than 5 minutes to get a perfect 90° bend!
I used the VESA plate from the generic monitor arm as a template and drilled 4 holes. Here I’m using the 50mm x 50mm VESA template because my scrap piece of plastic was small. I recommend using the 100mm x 100mm template instead. I fastened the VESA plate to the plastic with 4 M4 nuts/bolts.
The second piece of plastic doesn’t need any bends. It just needs carefully drilled holes to match up to the hanger locations on the HP Docking station. I used M3 nuts/bolts here.
After test-fitting, I drilled additional holes to allow fasteners to hold the two plastic pieces together.
Looking back, it would have been cleaner to use a single piece of plastic shaped like a “T” or a “+” rather than fasten two pieces together. But I didn’t want to make a trip to the store and these are the bits I had in my scrap parts bin.
Attach the VESA plate to your VESA arm and test fit the laptop. On my first try I didn’t leave enough room to fit the USB cables behind the dock. So I had to drill a few extra holes to position the laptop further away from the arm.
I got it right the second time. 1/4″ acrylic is surprisingly durable but for those that are weary of the plastic snapping with prolonged use, it would be simple to make this out of metal or wood or add some supports to strengthen the base.
I used an HP laptop and dock, but this ought to work for any Enterprise series laptop like Lenovo/Toshiba/Dell that has a snap-in docking connection.