During the summer I got a Surface Laptop Studio, which I use as both a drawing tablet and my travel laptop. It’s fine in tablet form, but in laptop mode the edges of the case are so sharp they’ve actually left shallow cuts on the underside of my wrists after a long session of typing, so I wanted to find a way to mitigate that before I go on the road several weeks and have to do everything on this machine.
Tonight I spent 45 minutes scouring the internet for some kind of padded wrist support that would a) fit in my compact laptop case, b) fit the machine’s unusual profile without sticking up too high above it, and c) not dislodge the stylus (which magnets under the front edge)… before I eventually remembered that I don’t need to spend $40 on an overpriced chunk of foam and plastic, because I can just make stuff! So I measured the laptop and stylus, threw some rectangles into Illustrator, cut the base shape out of some scrap MDF, and cemented a piece of half-round high-density EVA dowel (left over from a cosplay project) on top.
Only took about 5 minutes to build the thing, cost less than a dollar in materials, and it’s far smaller/more portable than any of the commercial ones I was looking at! In the future I may make something a bit more elaborate, but at least this will keep me from taking skin off my wrists every time I have to answer an email.
It’s in no way a technically impressive project, but just a reminder that the simplest/cheapest solution is sometimes the best.
The simplest/cheapest IS always technically impressive!
Many years ago I spent an absurd amount on two rolls of Velcro, and that is what I am thinking about when looking at your project.
Yeah this is great.
I didn’t know EVA came in dowel form. Interesting.
Well welcome back! And that is a perfect example of why doing stuff ourselves is so wonderful - it cost you almost nothing, plus the advantage of if something happens to it, or you leave it somewhere accidentally, you now have the design all set and can easily make another! Awesome job!!
Where there’s a will…there’s a Glowforge.
This is great. I just got a new desk and I need to get a soft edge like this.
Fantastic!!! Great thinking!
Best kind of project IMHO, one that solves a problem using scraps.
That is a great use! Now I want to see the cosplay…
That particular cosplay prop was also partly made on a Glowforge, come to think of it…
This is the shield for my Flynn Scifo (Tales of Vesperia) costume, which was a Worbla Sponsored Build (Worbla is a thermoplastic company that makes a lot of products used by cosplayers and the theatre industry, and they occasionally sponsor cosplayers with a lot of thermoplastics experience to make things using their products). Because I have a damaged spine, all my props have to be super lightweight, so this is 100% constructed of EVA foam and thin sheet plastic. It’s so light I can carry it with one finger!
The white design was cut from Worbla’s Pearly Art in two stages using the passthrough slot. Unfortunately the white plastic was too reflective for the camera to see the cuts and auto calibrate, so it took some experimenting to get the cuts to line up properly. But I got it all worked out in the end.
The trim around the edge of the shield is a half-round EVA dowel (painted, above), and that’s what I used a scrap of to make the wrist rest.
If anyone’s curious, I have the whole shield tutorial up here: https://www.andsewingishalfthebattle.com/flynn-scifo-tales-of-vesperia-ultra-light-shield/
Yep, EVA comes in pretty much any form you can imagine: Dowels of all sizes, half- and quarter-rounds, triangle cross-section, textured finishes (e.g. dragon scales), and even a moldable clay. Once cosplayers get hold of a product, they change the entire industry output – just look at internally-supported sheet thermoplastics 20 years ago (only available as bulk industrial toe puff material for shoe factories) vs. the 50+ hand-formable thermoplastic products now being marketed as costuming material. I’ve been cosplaying for more than 20 years, and it’s been fascinating to watch whole industries change as cosplay became more mainstream and raw material companies pivoted to market to a completely new consumer population.
That is amazing work! Thank you for sharing!
I had a big roll of Celastic around for years before discovering what it was good for. At current prices, it is a fortune. What company(ies) do you recommend as sources?
I’m not sure if it’s still the case, but Celastic used to be cheaper than most sheet thermoplastics on a per-square-foot basis! But the rolls are very expensive, so it sounds like you’re sitting on a small gold mine.
As far as sourcing materials, it depends on exactly what type of product you’re looking for. I’m not sure who currently has the best prices on Celastic or comparable products; I work primarily with heat-activated plastics rather than solvent-activated materials like Celastic, because they involve fewer noxious chemicals (I already have asthma and contact dermatitis, I don’t need more fumes in my life, haha) and the materials are infinitely reusable/recyclable. With most hand-formable thermoplastics, there is literally no waste, and basically I’m too cheap to want to throw anything away when it costs that much.
I buy most of my thermoplastic products through CosplaySupplies.com (I know the website looks like it hasn’t updated since 2003, but I swear it’s a legitimate business!). That’s the retail side of the North American distributor for Worbla, so their prices are lower than buying those products through other retailers who have to mark them up. They also carry non-Worbla brands such as Wonderflex, et al. at roughly market price.
For EVA foam and related products, TNT Cosplay Supply is not necessarily the cheapest place, but they do have higher density foam that comes in a lot of specialized shapes and thicknesses. I’ll order from there if I need something more specific than what I can find at a craft or home improvement store.
I used to buy styrene from U.S. Plastic Corp., but it’s been close to ten years since I’ve done any vacuforming or other projects that require a higher-temperature thermoplastic, so I don’t know if their prices are still competitive.
EDIT: It’s not thermoplastics, but while I’m listing sources for things, I get most of my casting materials direct from Reynolds/Smooth-On. That’s yet another thing I run teaching workshops on!