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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