Mobile Office

A Mobile Office in a Van:

It’s always good to read comments about my Laptop Desk for My Car. It’s especially rewarding to hear from someone who used the idea to create something that works for them. Here’s an excerpt from George’s comments, someone who’s done that:

I work for the cable company here and there is people forking out almost $400 bucks for mounts…

Here’s a picture of the desk George made for his van. Bet it didn’t cost him anywhere near 400 bucks! 

PVC Laptop Desk in Van

Click on Image for larger view

George describes the process:

First I went with a flexable pvc pipe that fit really snug in my cup holder and then I cut a peice of PVC that connected that to an elbow (45 degrees) then to a floor trap. The floor trap that I picket had a circle ring on the top that goes around. Then I used zip ties and put on a shelf rack.

That really didn’t work well so I decided to get rid of the elbow and it was perfect except it was a little high.

The next thing I did was get rid of the flexable fitting that goes into the cup holder. I just put the pipe straight in the cup holder and then the floor mount with the shelf rack.

The only problem was that it wasn’t a tight fit so I used tape (fusion) and went around and around and around so that it made it tight.

I really did not like the tape idea because it just seemed trashy. So what I did was drilled a screw right threw the cup holder, through the PVC, then out the other side of the cup holder and put a bolt and nut so that it would not move.

Thank you George!

Here are more pictures of George’s PVC laptop desk:

PVC Laptop Desk in VanPVC Laptop Desk in VanPVC Laptop Desk in Van

Click on Images for larger view


A Mobile Office in an Oil Truck:

Although perhaps not a typical example of simultaneous inventions or significant creative leaps for those of us who maintain an office in our vehicles, it was interesting to learn after I had made my Laptop Desk for My Car, my cousin Rodney Newman had created a mobile office laptop desk as well. I finally got to see it this past weekend.

The materials, methods, and strength of our desks differ tremendously. Steel and welding vs. PVC and cementing! But, their utility are quite the same. Rodney said he used it for GPS when he was setting up his delivery route. I use GPS to find houses in my daily real estate business.

Here are some pictures of Rodney’s Oil Truck Laptop Desk. I took the pictures with my camera phone, so they may not be as clear as you like. Click on the images to see a larger view.

Rodney Newman’s Oil Truck Laptop Desk  Rodney Newman’s Oil Truck Laptop Desk

A few months ago at a RE/MAX seminar in Connecticut I chatted with Jim Pollak and Heidi Hines of Cornelius, NC. As we sat in the huge overstuffed chairs in the hotel lobby at the end of the day, Jim and Heidi generously shared an endless stream of creative ideas for running a successful real estate business. They should know – – the Heidi Team sold over 400 homes in 2006. In fact Heidi was interviewed on stage earlier in the day regarding her team’s success. So, I sat on the edge of my seat in the lobby taking it all in. Heidi told the story of her white VW Beetle with custom vinyl signs with the RE/MAX balloon, “Call Me”, “Bug Me”, amoung other things. You can see it on her website: I promised I’d send them pictures when I get my VW Beetle done.

So, Heidi and Jim, here are the pictures I promised. Click on them to see larger images:
RE/MAX VW Beetle VW Beetle with RE/MAX Balloon

A few phone calls, a few days, a few emails back and forth with graphics designer Dana Seaver of  Alliance Glass and Sign in Dorchester, MA resulted in what I think is a pretty cool design. Thank you Dana. I’ve already been asked for your business card! When I run out, I’ll let you know.

And to all of you who live Just Outside Boston, keep an eye out for my Black RE/MAX Bug. Be sure to wave. Or, blow your air horn if you have one – – Yes, I’m talking to you.

A Mobile Office in a Van:

Several years ago I had a custom Chevy van that served as my office on wheels. It had everything I needed – all the comforts of home and all the technology of an office. At the time, I was running a small software consulting company designing and developing applications for the government, large and medium sized companies and school systems in New Hampshire and Massachusetts. My office on wheels was always near by. Then one day someone crossed the yellow line into my side of the road.

Life goes on: I don’t have that custom van anymore and my business has changed. However, my thirst for technology remains strong. I can now be connected to the Internet nearly 100% of the time. I carry my laptop with me most of the time. So, I need a desk for it where ever I go. Here are my recent creations…

My 1st Cup Holder Laptop Desk:

The following PVC Pipe Laptop Desk was for a rental car that had two big cup holders between the bucket seats. It worked well. I just pushed the desk base into one of the holders and found a perfect fit! The big test was when I drove from Arlington, MA to Goshen, Conn to a RE/MAX seminar. It was two hours one way. I had GPS connection all the way and I had Wireless Broadband connection most of the time.


  1. I only read and responded to emails at rest stops.
  2. I was using Microsoft Streets and Trips 2007 with GPS Locator stuck to my laptop’s cover using velcro. No need for a long USB cable. I just use a retractable cable.

Here’s a picture of the laptop desk before I took it apart. I didn’t cement any of the pieces together so I could re-configure it for another vehicle – my Beetle as you will see:

Car Laptop Desk
PVC Cup Holder Laptop Desk for Vehicles


My 2nd Cup Holder Laptop Desk – for My VW Beetle:

This was a bit more of a challenge to make with the tight space, but so far it seems to work well. If you are familiar with PVC pipe and fittings you’ll notice that this has two joints that allow the desk to swivel for comfort and can be easily removed. After I’ve used this laptop desk in my car for a few days and I’m convinced the design works well, I’ll paint it black to match the Beetle’s interior:


VW Beetle Laptop Desk
PVC Laptop Desk for VW Beetle

For now it looks more like a sink drain than a desk support:

VW Beetle Laptop Desk part 1
PVC Laptop Desk for VW Beetle

PBC Laptop Desk - base detailPBC Laptop Desk - base detail

Click on Images for larger view

UPDATE: 12/18/06, changed PBC to PVC

I used to work at IBM, where this time of year was PBC time.

  • PBC = Personal Business Commitments
  • PVC = Polyvinyl Chloride

Seasons greetings to my friends at IBM. I’m thinking of you. When I figure out what I can make out of PBC I’ll let you know. For now, I’ll stick with PVC.


Working at a traditional desk can feel like an anchor to my body, mind, and spirit; stifling my creativity, clarity, and productivity.


This mobile desk which started out as a Cat House Bunk bed, gives the cats and me the ability to travel together around the house, seeking a warm spot in the sun, or just a change of scenery.

I’m able to think more clearly. And the cats are there to sleep, snore, and purr, keeping my blood pressure down while I’m on the phone, writing emails, or Instant Messaging with a client who may be buying or selling a house or investment property. 

Stand Up Rolling Desk with Cat Bunk Beds
Fezzle In His Bunk In the Mobile Desk
(Not pictured are GriGri & Cody)


I first posted the story of the Standing Mobile Desk in my Merle’s View blog in August this year. It was subsequently included in the blog.


I hope this inspires you to think outside the (cat) box, and find ways to be more productive in your home office.

– Merle Braley