Thursday, April 27, 2017

Mobile Laptop Harness

Laptop Harness
I needed to take notes and measurements but I hate writing it down because then I have to keep up with multiple papers and plans. Then, I just have to transfer it to a computer anyway and my handwriting is difficult to read. I like to enter information directly into a laptop even in the field. When drafting in the field, if a measurement is wrong, I'll know it instantly when lines don't meet.

While I've held the laptop with one arm and typed one handed, that can be difficult by itself, and detrimental for long periods of time. I needed some kind of harness to hold the laptop and allow me the use of both hands. I came up with exactly that.

Version 1.0 was a single uncut length of nylon strapping with knots to hold the laptop and carabiner clips.
Version 2.0 upgraded to adjustable sliders and metal rings. Not only did it look good, now it was adjustable to various sized people, not just me.

Supplies:
1" nylon strapping
plastic tri-glide sliders
Tools:
  • hobby knife/scissors
  • cutting mat
  • tape
  • sewing machine 
I can walk around with the laptop and not worry about dropping it while getting work done much more efficiently than holding it with one arm or trying to find a place to sit down and type. Of course, I then decided to make it look more professional, which didn't cost much more and it looks like something you could buy.
 
 
The first version was nylon strapping and knots. I used a single 110" length of nylon strap. I looped it around my neck, hooked the carabiners to my belt and looped it back around.
The neck loop is 28", the cross strap at the neck is 6", 18" from cross strap to knot before the carabiner, 8" between knot and carabiners, and 10" between carabiners. I'm average height/weight, so you'll need to adjust the dimensions for you, but this gives you a good place to start. By using a single piece you can keep adjusting until it works.
I made a knot in one end, looped it around my head. I then took it down to my belt, but put a knot in it 8" before the first carabiner attached to my belt. I knotted the strap around the carabiner, spaced 8" from the second carabiner and knotted it around the second carabiner. I added another knot 8" away from the second carabiner, and  I ran it back up, knotted it above and below the very first knot on the end and then ran it across my chest and knotted it again.
The cross strap and carabiners are narrower than the laptop so that the straps pull in and the laptop won't fall out. The straps go in between the screen and keyboard of the laptop in the hinge. The knots just before the carabiners stop the strapping from sliding through the hinge.
Version 2.0 added 1" metal rings  at the neck cross strap and plastic sliders to make it adjustable  between the carabiners at the waist, cross strap, and between the metal rings and carabiners. I was going to add an elastic band across the carabiners that holds the keyboard part to stop the laptop from wanting to roll backwards. I never ran into this problem, and ultimately decided to forgo it. Velcro would probably be a better option.

Instead of knots, loops and buckles make this adjustable. I used welded metal rings, as my concern with non welded is that the loops could open up.
I sewed one end of the strap around the ring and the other around the glider. There is a glider in the neck loop, on each vertical strap that holds the laptop, and at the waist. The total length for the neck loop is 34", the cross strap 14", the side straps 38" and the belt strap is 18". Each sewn loop takes up 1" of material which is included in the previous measurements. There are two sewn loops for each strap, one at the ring (or carabiner) and another at the center post of the glider.
The 'top' of the sliders are against the bottom of the laptop. Oriented the other way, the straps wanted to loosen.
I've used this in the field and it works great, though your neck may get tired if you're using this for long hours. The only changes I'd make would be shortening the neck and waist straps. I've got them as short as they'll go and wish they were even shorter. I'd start with 4" to 6" out of each.
While I could go back and shorten them, this works fine and it's just a wish, not a demand.
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