Laptop Briefcase Mod

When my company issued me a laptop, I also got the corporate standard black laptop bag. The bag is perfectly functional–lots of pockets and padding, padded straps, pen holders, etc. It works well. Unfortunately, it is the exact same bag everyone else has. Meetings and business trips are frequently marked with confusion over whose bag is whose. I wanted something more unique.

But, I’m also cheap frugal. So a $100 aluminum brief case or a $150 leather messenger bag were out of the question. Everything in my price range was just like the standard issue black nylon bag I already had.

So I decided to try for a retro look. I bought a “vintage?” Samsonite briefcase on eBay for $20 with shipping, and added appropriate cushioning so that my laptop would be reasonably protected.

Briefcase Comparison

The first design decision I made was that I didn’t want to mar the inside of the briefcase. In retrospect, I’m not sure why this mattered to me. I think I wanted to do a proof-of-concept that could be applied to any briefcase, and if it didn’t work, I wanted to be able to unload the briefcase easily.

Inside Briefcase

The inside of the brief case was appropriately 1970s (I’m guessing) spartan.

My materials: cardboard, packing foam (closed cell polystyene??) and some hot glue.

My next task was to aquire firm but giving foam to hold the laptop in place. I went scrounging in the shipping department at work. They have a bin full of scrap packing foam. The stuff I chose was used to cushion a laptop in a shipping box, I think.

I cut the foam into six square pieces about three inches square, by 2 inches tall. I then cut a cube from one corner of each square piece. I then stacked two of these foam pieces on top of each other twice to form the supports at the briefcase hinges, using hotglue to secure them.

I cut a piece of cardboard to fit the bottom of the briefcase snuggly. Then using the laptop as a guide, I hotglued all the pieces in place.

Breifcase with laptop supports

Here is a closeup of the supports near the hinge.

Laptop support closeup

The laptop fits inside the back supports, and lays on top of the front supports, with plenty of room on the side for my power supply.

Laptop in Briefcase

At first I was concerned that the hot-glue on cardboard method wouldn’t hold up. I’ve been using this daily for 3 and 1/2 months, and it has worked like a champ. I haven’t had to replace or reglue anything.

One thought on “Laptop Briefcase Mod”

  1. I’ve now been using this laptop brief case for over a year, and the foam inserts have held much better than I ever anticipated.

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