Laptop/Lap board for use with WayTools TextBlade

@black_jaquar asked me to put together how I built my laptop/lap board so here it goes.

A laptop/lap board is very convenient to allow you to place you TB on top of your laptops keyboard to save space and be more ergonomic. It also allows you to use your TB on your lap with a phone or tablet.

It is very fast to setup and take down and is so thin it doesn’t really add bulk.

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Here is what I did to build mine.

Materials:

o 15"x17" Clipboard to be cut down as the board…$9.99 Amazon. https://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B006CDAL26/ref=oh_aui_detailpage_o08_s00?ie=UTF8&psc=1

o About 2 ft^2 of fabric to cover the board (This adds some gripping surface as well as trying to closely match the laptop color…yeah my stars are not much camouflage but that was all they had at Michael’s when I went)

o Fabric tape to adhere to the top of the board…$5.33 Amazon. https://www.amazon.com/Aleenes-29134-Fabric-Fusion-Tape/dp/B005572IKS/ref=sr_1_1?s=office-products&ie=UTF8&qid=1480006674&sr=1-1&keywords=fabric+tape

o Duct Tape to tape the fabric to the back of the board…$4.88 Amazon. https://www.amazon.com/Duck-240346-Advanced-Strength-1-88-Inch/dp/B000NHVURM/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1480006801&sr=8-1&keywords=duck+tape

Basic instructions:

  1. Measure the laptop keyboard top for width and length
  2. Mark the Clipboard and cut to measurements
  3. File off the corners to rounded edged
  4. Sand all edges to be rounded
  5. Place fabric tape over the entire top surface of the board (cover entire surface)
  6. Align the fabric and gently place fabric on fabric tape and firmly adhere to the top of the surface
  7. Cut the fabric to be about 2" beyond the top edges of the board
  8. Add a single strip of fabric tape to each of the four bottom edges of the board very close to the edge
  9. Firmly press the fabric around the bottom of the board to remove all the slack
  10. Add a layer of Duct tape around the bottom of the board to ensure the fabric stays in place

Here are some pics











9 Likes

Very nice. I don’t know if this is an issue, but I would recommend attaching a few steel washers underneath the board that would keep the TextBlade from moving. One advantage of this is that is you are just moving to another location and setting up again, you wouldn’t need to disassemble and reassemble the TextBlade. It would stay attached to the board via magnetism.

I like saving the battery by disassembling. I’ve tried steel but the clipboard is too thick to allow magnetism through. In transportation I usually use the iPad cover magnet to keep the collapsed TB connected so it didn’t inadvertently drop.

They is a key combo for turning off the power from the keyboard. I forget what the default is because I moved it.

As for magnets, I guess an option would be to get a metal clipboard - though that may hold it tighter than you want. Or if the steel is thin, you could rout out spots for it in the clipboard on the top.

4 left middle. Space. Delete.

I believe a metal clipboard may be too strong. Space bar problems as well as issues when trying to remove the blades. Too much torque may cause issues if doing it repeatedly.

I think the only issue is how strong the grab is for the reason you give. With my setup, the steel plate is under some plastic so not as strong and it doesn’t coven the whole lapdesk so I can slide it away from the plate if I need to before actually removing it. Of course, if you just had little spots of metal, you could do the same.

Mr. Rogers, (I’ve been waiting to use that for quite some time :smiley_cat:)

THAT board you created is VERY impressive! What tool did you use to cut the board? Very smart of you to think of radial corners! And the fabric is perfect: just the right weight, not slippery, strong threads and a “fine” enough thread count to be sturdy and not lose anything between the threads. All told, I’d say a perfect job!

For others who want to make something like this, you can also buy some spray on adhesive to keep the fabric on the top side of the board, while you are working on the bottom.

=======

I haven’t had much time to use my TB since I’ve run into a boatload of problems, both with the TB and other external issues, but I’d been wondering about being able to type on an “active” keyboard, yet that is just what I am doing. Since I haven’t had much time with kt, all I had was a couple pieces of flat, corrugated cardboard. And, so far, it seems to be doing fine. Boy does it sound weird though!

I promised Mark that I would post my initial reactions, along with my trials and tribulations when I’ve overcome most of my obstacles, and I can type more normally, so you folks can look for that soon.

In the meantime, for those who have been wondering about my nails… I can actually type ON them on TB and most of the time, I’ll actually get the key I wanted, which is pretty amazing! But because I had logistical problems, everything is taking much longer than anyone else. And add to that, when you first start out, you have to get use to where things are on here.

One more note about TReg: I got my unit on November 12th, and have used it only a handful of times total. It feels like no keyboard I have ever used before. The attention to detail is amazing and I am blown away by it. No more sore fingers from having to bang on the keyboard. Just be prepared for the learning curve.

And Mark told me that I got the latest everything as of 9 November. Including the pcbs.

DBK: North Carolina, qwerty, no sticks for bluetooth, Mac, iOS, WinXP (via virtual machine.)

Trace, forgive me for detailing your topic: I didn’t intend on doing this.

If anyone has any questions for me, I’ll get to them as soon as I can - many other things have first dibs on my time besides me and my time is not my own. If you ask, I’ll share that with you too.

Thank you all for your patience with me.

3 Likes

I created a board for the TextBlade using a 8 1/2 by 11 clear plastic sign holder and attaching 2 large refrigerator magnets to it using 2 sided tape. The magnets have enough attraction to hold the unit if you turn it upside down but is still easy to disengage. I printed a PDF of the QWERTY key map and inserted it in the sign holder for reference. This was handy in learning the basics when i first got the TextBlade and still comes in handy when I am accessing layers I seldom visit and have not memorized.

3 Likes

You guys are awesome. You are killing it with ideas on how to make the TextBlade more efficient for mobile uses lacking flat surfaces. It will surely be an adventure to test out possible methods to put the TextBlade on your lap for typing. The ideas you have suggested are solid. I like the board wrapped in fabric idea as it give a nice touch and feel file you type without habing to touch a cold board surface. Adding magnet would be essential to secure the TextBlade into place and avoid any drops

Yeah, that’s basically what I did, except I didn’t use magnets - I just slid a piece of steel inside. Actually, I have two pieces of paper in there too (the steel plate is taped to one of them). One sheet has my normal dvorak layout with a little customization and the other side as a more experimental setup where I have media and edit controls on the main layer. When that layout is active (for when I’m mostly just going to be controlling media), I can still do the normal stuff by activating the number pad layer lock - which is no longer set up as a number pad. With the steel plate in the middle, I can just flip over the lap desk when in use.

1 Like

I thought I had posted this, but I didn’t find it in a quick search…

It’s part of a iPad mini case. I glued some washers underneath to hold the TextBlade in place. It works well as a flat surface for the TextBlade and it fits in a suit pocket. Clearly it doesn’t hold my phone or iPad. I just set the device on an armrest or leg.

3 Likes

I have a fine wood saw I used to initially cut out the board from the clipboard.

Another item about magnets. For me, a personal preference, I like to shift the keyboard around a bit during typing if my hands prefer it. The fabric provides enough gripping surface so the TB doesn’t slide when on my lap or on the top of the laptop. But it still allows me to move it around a bit.

I have two comments on that. One is that I can move it just fine with the steel plate. The other is that I can place it more consistently in the same place each time (takes an effort sorts to move it, though it is easy AND since I have charts on my lap desk, I can easily line it up with one the same way if I do remove it at some point). I think that has helped me reduce errors.

And I must say, I do like being able to take the lap desk and just lay it on end next to my desk if I need to make room for something for awhile and it doesn’t fall off!

1 Like

I had been thinking of a new design and your input may bring me to making it. They sell steel tape (very thin steel with an adhesive on the back on Amazon of course). My thought is to apply the steel to the board top with two strips in the most common places I like to poisition the TB (after I use it a bit more). Then secure it further with a strip of duct tape before putting the material over the top. This would allow it to still be flush and have some magnetic attraction for the TB. The other thought was to create a recess on the bottom of the board and glue in either washers or a steel plate thin enough to ensure the board remains flat. I really want a flat board because I am using it for dual purpose as a laptop/lap board and want to have a very flat surface when I put it on top of my laptop keyboard.

Don’t know how much gripping power the amount of steel in that tape will have - and a bit less covered with duct tape and cloth. Might only be enough to hold it from easily sliding around, but maybe not enough to keep in on if stood vertically. Be interesting to find out.

Hi Greg,

I’m very interested in your board. Would you please take a couple of pictures of it for me?

Thanks in advance.

These are both old versions but only the stuff I typed on the sheet I inserted in the sign has changed some. You can’t see it, but I have a small steel plate taped to the inserted paper so it is also inside the sign. Roughly 4x5 inches or so so it doesn’t weigh much.

You want the plastic sign for hanging on a wall so it is flat. The ones for standing on a desk have some sort of support sticking out so they stand up. That just gets in the way on your lap.

Maybe later I’ll do fresh pictures.

2 Likes

I did some more pics of my lapdesk:

New one, still in the wrapper. Bought from Office Depot. It comes with magnets and stuff, but I don’t use them.

Looking at it on the edge with pencil on right side to compare thickness.

Looking at the opening for the sign (old unit so it has a scratch.

The thin metal plate I tape to the info sheet I put in the sign - which nicely holds onto the TB.

The info sheet that I’m using now, though it isn’t actually up to date. Lots of abbreviations in some layouts. One of the things I’m thinking about doing is just filling in the things I don’t know by feel. So I could delete all the numbers and letters along with some of the symbols. This would make it easier to look up those things I don’t know by feel.

1 Like

DBK, Thank you so much.

What do you use the holes in the metai plate for?

:wink: