Making a Zune Holder Out of Trash

Zune Holder: Starting Materials
Zune Holder: Assembly
Zune Holder: Done

I’ve been doing a lot of video watching at my desk at work since Ken Kennedy was kind enough to give me his unused Zune. One of the downsides of watching at my desk is that the viewing angle is really bad when it is sitting down. Laid flat it is way to low and standing up on its edge it is too high. What I really want is for it to sit back at around a jaunty 15 or 20 degrees. I’ve been leaning it up against things but nothing really worked very well.

I tried to bring out my inner Maker to create what I wanted out of only materials available easily at hand. My original attempt was a pretty miserable failure. I tried to bend the cardboard from a cup of instant noodles into the shape I wanted. It worked for about 20 seconds and then fell apart. I tried to add a little Buckminster Fuller tensegrity to it with some rubber bands but it never really got anywhere and eventually I had to give up on that.

Today I was making a cup of coffee from our little instant Keurig cups, and I used the last one out of the box. I started to throw the box away and then noticed that the cut of the opening was very close to the angle I wanted the Zune leaning at. My original inclination was to use the rubber bands I had procured for the first shot to make some kind of cradle for the Zune to hang in. As I fiddled with it, I realized that the width of the box was really perfect for the Zune. It was exactly the same width. I was thinking about making slits, sliding rubber bands through and anchoring them. After a little thought, I discarded the rubber band idea. If I was slitting anyway, why not just stick a plastic knife in there? I measured the depth, marked where I wanted the back to sit, and made the two slits. The knife slid right in. I set the Zune in it to test the stability and it seemed to work fine. The viewing angle was just about perfect, it sat in there perfectly and I was able to work the controls. I think I might add a second knife towards the bottom just to keep the Zune in there solidly so I can mash the buttons vigorously without worrying I’ll push the player into the box.

Total time spent on this project, including the failed first attempt; about 15 minutes. Total cost of materials: $0. It was all break room trash. Should this one ever wear out, I have a pretty ready supply of empty coffee boxes to fashion future holders. I’m pretty pleased with this. Thanks to the crazy guys at MAKE for making me think in these terms at all times. “What useful things can I make out of the items I would discard?” is a good question to ask oneself frequently.

Update: When I came in this morning, the janitor had thrown away this Zune holder! Man, what a bummer. I made a second one this afternoon, this time using two plastic knife crossbars. It works even better.

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4 Replies to “Making a Zune Holder Out of Trash”

  1. Derek, I had hoped it was going to be something like that. I am quite torqued that Dave is happy with that thing. Evil!

    Back to topic, I got a nice used GPS receiver for Christmas a year ago (before the onslaught of ubiquitous GPS receivers that this year’s season was, mind you). I mostly use it when flying, but occasionally I use it in the car.

    And in that case it’s troublesome because it’s designed to be held in the hand (as in hiking), not propped on the dash. My car’s cupholder is pretty high up, and extends out of the dash to a nice viewing position, but the receiver wouldn’t stay in that contraption — it falls through. So I went to the nearest fast food joint and bought one of those gigantic Diabetic Gulp(tm) drinks that comes in a huge “collectible” plastic cup. The bottom part is smaller to fit inside the average car cupholder. I cut all the offending promotional plastic off the top, left with ~2 inches of cup and a slight lip, and now prop the receiver in there. It’s absolutely perfect, I am so freaking impressed with myself.

    Alas, no pictures, not so impressive after all.

  2. Guys, I don’t quite understand the hard-off. To say that I’m “happy” with it is an overstatement. It’s a pleasant enough video device and completely worthless as a podcast device, which is why I still use the Creative Zen V Plus.

    Chris,
    That sounds about like my impetus with this. I like the idea of making my daily life a little easier by repurposing refuse. Even though I do very few of the Make ™ projects, reading the magazine and following the blog gives me a general sense of empowerment, that if I have a little time and willingness to give it a shot, I can make about anything work. That’s a much more pleasant feeling than looking for the next thing to buy.

  3. Wow.
    That is definitely one unique invention you have here. But that isn’t coffee is it?

    Celestial Seasons makes tea [quite good in fact].

    Good thinking to use that, I know I would have never thought of that at all.

    Zune > iPod šŸ™‚

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