I am putting this post under the category of “things that would be fun, but you just can’t do it”.
I was passing through Apex, NC over the weekend, and stopped into a Dollar Tree. I found a couple of computer related items there. One was a plastic tablet stand, simple in design, but it worked for both my iPad and my Nook Color Plus tablet. You make a couple of folds, insert a tab, and viola, you have a simple but sturdy stand for your tablet device. It worked both in landscape and portrait mode.
But, here is the fun part…
I looked at the plastic tablet stand laid out flat, as I had originally purchased it. It was such a simple design. I then said to myself, “I think I can make one of those out of cardboard.” So, I looked around the office and found a small cardboard box. I placed the plastic “template” on top of the box and traced, with an ink pen, to outline the various components of the stand.
I had an X-ACTO knife in my desk drawer so I took it out, removed the plastic blade cover and started to cut into the cardboard template along the ink lines. In a short time, I had completed my cardboard tablet stand and had folded it, and inserted the one tab as necessary. What a sense of accomplishment!-) I had built something with my hands, that I could use.
Imagine exporting the production of a cardboard tablet stand to a 3rd World Country, or maybe a bunch of 5th graders in the US? My mind began to shift into high gear, imagining all the “what ifs”. Surely the price of production would be much cheaper than $1. They could probably be sold for 50 cents, and there still be 49 cents profit to go back to their economy. The cardboard could be made from recycled boxes. In fact, one stack of recycled cardboard, that gets hauled away from your local WalMart, could probably provide enough material to make thousands of tablet stands. *I cannot give up my current “day” job to make these cardboard tablet stands, because when you figure out how much I make an hour, I can’t make one of these stands for less than $1.
But, let’s look at some of the caveats to production. We can’t give an X-ACTO knife to a bunch of 5th graders and not expect to quickly find a bloody mess, crying, hysteria, and, oh yes, law suits by the parents. And, what of Copyright Law? Or would that be Trademark law? Hmmm, but wouldn’t it give Americans a sense of accomplishment to finally be able to produce an useful item, and be able to stamp “Made in America” on it?
And, 5th graders could work all year on making their own cardboard tablet stand, which they could make their very own, by drawing with crayons on the cardboard, and after cutting out various images from assorted magazines, using Elmer’s Washable School Glue to stick them to their unique tablet stand. Heck, I can imagine them using these stands for the rest of their lives and then passing them on to their children and grandchildren.
See, I’ve just started uniquing mine up;-)
Still, I can’t stop thinking about this. Maybe a 3rd World Country has fast growing bamboo, or some other plant that could be used instead of recycled cardboard. Instead of 5th graders glueing pictures & coloring their stands, skilled artisans could deftly carve their wooden stands, adding symbolic figures that had been passed down for centuries within their tribes or villages.