Laptop Ceiling Suspension

mgsloan


I quite like being able to place my laptop screen where I want it in space. In my "Supine Computing" post, zip ties are used to attach a laptop to a strap above a regular hammock, and to the support straps of a circular hammock. This post goes into a related idea, an easy and convenient way to suspend laptops indoors.

Sitting with suspended laptop

If I'm feeling like using my computer on my futon, I just clip it to some adjustable tie-downs$ hanging from the ceiling:

photo of laptop suspended in front of face, sitting on futon

Another approach is to use a laptop stand, such as the Magichold stand$ shown in the Deck Desk post. While this stand is fairly portable, I prefer to leave it setup with my recliner.

Supine with suspended laptop

If I feel like shifting to a supine posture, I can just move one of the tie-downs to another hanger, which rotates things 90 degrees:

photo of laptop suspended above face, laying on futon

To allow a quick transition between these two postures, the adhesive hangers on the ceiling are in this configuration:

photo of configuration of 3 adhesive hangers

One thing to note is that the spacing here is narrower than ideal. I later realized that spacing wider than the width of the laptop leads to more rotational stabilization.

Materials: adhesive hangers + adjustable paracord

I'm currently renting, and would prefer to avoid maintenance on move out, so I began looking for suspension approaches which avoid putting holes in the ceiling. The ceiling is textured, so suction cups wouldn't work. So, I began looking for adhesive hangers available online, but most seemed to be intended for the wall, and had relatively low weight ratings. This makes sense, as adhesives typically have higher shear strength.

After comparing options for a while I ordered "Multi Purpose No Drilling Required Ceiling Hooks Suspension and Wall Hooks Hangers"$ from the cryptic brand "CRH600" – 12 adhesive hangers for $15. They're intended for the ceiling, and the comments indicate a max load of around 6 or 7 pounds. Perfect! Even my heaviest laptop, a P51 ThinkPad workstation, weighs less than the limit, 5.8 pounds.

I also wanted to be able to easily configure the height of my laptop, and so looked around at various adjustable ropes and cords1. I eventually ordered a couple packs of Progrip "Better Than Bungee" paracord tie-downs$. These tie-downs are awesome, I've since ordered more packs since I keep finding more uses for them. Both ends have carabiner-like hooks, and one end adjusts position on the cord by holding down a lever. They are also strong – I've used a single one of these to suspend around 30lbs, and it handled it just fine for days on end (not from adhesive hangers).

Here's what the adhesive hangers$ and tie-downs$ look like:

photo of adhesive hangers and paracord tie-downs

Zip ties around hinges

A rather nice way to add attachment loops to a laptop is to thread releasable zip ties$ between the screen and body, around the hinges, like this:

photo of zip ties and tie-downs close up

Alternative to zip ties: wire around hinges

I have also had success with wire around my laptop hinges. The benefit of this is that they don't need to be taken on and off the way releasable zip ties$ tend to. This idea is still being refined, but here are a few images that should give some idea of what I'm talking about:

Other suspension points: window blinds / curtain track

Laptops can also be suspended in front of a window for indoor standing setups. Along with providing views, windows also often have blinds or curtains which can be conveniently reused for the suspension.

You might wonder how I'm typing when standing at a window. For these setups, I typically have my keyboard suspended from my pants, like in the "Deskless Ergonomic Work-From-Home Setups" post.

Other use: rowing machine entertainment

This is also a nice way to put a screen at head height while using a rowing machine:

Laptop suspended above rowing machine


Footnotes

  1. I also tried Nite Ize's "Rope Tightener with Rope, 1-3/4in."$, which uses a "CamJam" to secure the paracord. I found that these were more awkward to adjust than Progrip's "Better Than Bungee" tie-downs.↩︎

More words

Polarizer Glasses for Outdoor Computing

I built some variable angle polarizer glasses based on camera optics! Read