Introduction: Adjustable Cell Phone / Tablet Stand for Video Calls

I have a good friend who I've known for more than 20 years. He was just a kid when I met him, but now he's all grown up and has a baby boy. He and his wife are from France, but live in the U.S. now. The rest of the family lives in France, and they all look forward to regular video calls so they can see and interact with the baby.

You can see their current video phone stand in the second photo, so they clearly need something better.

I made this stand from cherry and walnut, but you can make it out of whatever wood you have on hand. The stand is height-adjustable by removing a pin that inserts into a hole in the front of the stand, adjusting the height up or down, and then reinserting the pin.

It is equipped with a Lazy Susan bearing to make it easy to rotate the phone. This can be useful when having a video call with a group of people on one end so that it's easy to point the phone toward the person who is speaking.

The tray that holds the phone is large enough to hold the phone either in portrait or landscape mode, and it can also be used to hold a tablet. The tray can be tilted, just like a music stand.

There is a slot to run a power cord up through the stand to make sure the phone/tablet can be powered/charged, when needed.

If you like this project, please vote for it in the contests that I've entered: Homemade Gifts and Epilog VIII. If you're on a computer, the voting button is up near the top of the screen. If you're on a mobile device, the voting button is down near the bottom. Thank you for your support!

Step 1: Tools and Materials You'll Need

I made this entirely from leftover pieces of wood that I had in my shop. I made this stand out of cherry and walnut, but you can change the wood to any type that you'd like to use. The materials I used were:

  • Cherry:
    • One piece for the base to cut out an 8" circle
    • One piece to cut a 5" square
    • Four pieces that are 1" x 3" x 7"
    • One piece that is 1" x 1" x 10"
  • Walnut:
    • One piece that's 3/8" thick and 6" x 6"
    • One piece that's 3/8" thick and 2" x 6"
    • One piece that's 3/8" thick and 3/4" x 6"
    • One piece that's 3/8" thick and 1/2" x 6"
  • A 2" length of 1/4" dowel
  • A short piece of 1/2" dowel (about 3/4" long will be fine)
  • A 1/4" bolt and a plastic knob
  • 3" Lazy Susan bearing
  • Wood glue

The tools you will need include:

Step 2: Cut the Wood to Rough Length

I cut the cherry to be about 7 inches. I actually cut it longer (more like 10") but after assembling the stand, I realized that it was too high, so I cut it down to 7" at the end.

Step 3: Joint the Boards

I jointed the face and one edge of the boards so that I would have a straight edge to run up against the table saw fence.

Step 4: Plane the Wood to the Desired Thickness

After jointing one face, I ran the wood through the planer to plane it down to a 1" thickness.

Step 5: Cut the Boards to a 3" Width

I cut the boards so that they would be 3" wide. Since each board is 1" thick, this would leave a 1" square hold down the middle when I assemble the pieces.

Step 6: Label the Boards

I am going to join the boards together using a box joint. I've labeled the ends of each piece with the letter "A" or "B" to keep track of how the joints need to be cut. An "A" piece will connect to a "B" piece which then then connect to the other "A" piece.

They need to be marked on the end to know how to position them on the box joint jig to make sure that all of the cuts will line up at the end.

Step 7: Cut the Box Joints

I used the INCRA I-BOX jig to help set up accurate cuts. A lot of people use a homemade jig, but I really like this jig because of its precision and adjustability. I used my dado stack and set the jig up to make a 1/2" cut.

I started by placing the first "A" board into the jig, with the label on the end pointing toward the center of the jig. Then it's just a simple matter of making repeated cuts.

Before cutting the "B" piece, you need to place the first "A" piece on the left side of the jig, but turned around so that the label is now pointing toward the center of the jig. Butt the "B" piece up to the "A" piece to define where the first cut will be made. At this point, the two labeled ends should be touching each other. Then, remove the "A" piece and make the first cut into the "B" piece. This process is used to ensure that the pieces will fit together, and allow for the proper offset so that the pieces will line up at each end.

Repeat this process until all of the pieces have been cut.

Step 8: Assemble the Boards to Form the Column

Apply glue and assemble the boards so that they form a column with a 1" square hole down the center. Clamp them up for a few hours.

Step 9: Sand the Column

If you have a drum sander, it works well to sand the column to remove any excess material from the box joints, as well as any glue. If you don't have one, a regular random orbit sander will work just fine.

Step 10: Measure the Interior Dimension of the Hole

I was pretty sure that I would have a 1" hole down the center, but I measured it with calipers just to be sure. It was, in fact, 1" square. That meant that I needed to cut a piece that was just slightly less than 1" square to fit inside. I didn't want it to be too tight of a fit, to I cut it to be 15/16" square so that I would have 1/32" on each side.

Step 11: Cut the Rod That Goes Down the Center

I cut the rod that goes into the center of the column on the table saw and then ran it through the drum sander to get the precise dimension that I was shooting for.

Step 12: Cut a Slot Into One End of the Rod

I used a tenoning jig to hold the rod vertically so that I could safely cut a slot into the end. I cut the slot to be 3/8" wide. This was the thickness of the walnut that I would be using to make the tray that would attach to the rod.

Step 13: Drill a Hole Into the Rod

I drilled a 1/4" hole into the end of the rod where the slot was. This will be where a 1/4" bolt will be inserted to hold the tray in place.

Step 14: Drill Holes for the Height Adjustment

I drilled additional 1/4" holes along the rod, spaced 1" apart, to be used for the height adjustment. A 1/4" dowel will be inserted into one of the holes to set the rod to the desired height.

Step 15: Cut the Walnut for the Tray

I started with a single piece of walnut that was 3/8" thick. I wanted to have a tray that was roughly 6" x 6", so I cut two pieces to be 3" x 6".

I cut a third piece to be about 2" x 6". This piece would be inserted between the two 3" pieces and run perpedicularly to them.

I also cut a 1/2" strip that would go along the base of the tray to hold the phone. I realized after assembly that it also needed a 3/4" lip to hold the phone/tablet securely in place, so I added that at the end.

Step 16: Cut the Profile of the Perpendicular Piece

I drew a profile onto the perpendicular piece and then cut it out on the band saw. It was just a simple curve that created a rounded piece that would insert into the slot in the rod.

Step 17: Drill a Hole Into the Perpendicular Piece

I drilled a 1/4" hole into the round portion of the piece so that a bolt could be inserted.

Step 18: Glue Up the Tray

I glued up the two 3" pieces with the 2" perpendicular piece running down the center.

Step 19: Drill the Center of the Base

I drew lines from corner to corner to find the center of the piece of cherry that I would be using for the base, and then drilled a 1/4" hole into the center.

Step 20: Route Slots for the Power Cord

Using an 1/8" spiral router bit, I cut a slot down one side of the rod, and half way through the base to allow for an optional power cord.

Step 21: Cut the Base Into a Circle - Prepare the Jig

I used a jig on the band saw to cut a circle. The jig is basically a piece of MDF with a 1/4" hole through the middle where I can place a 1/4" bolt and then set the base on top. Then I run the jig (with the base) through the band saw until the bolt is beside the blade. Then I clamp the jig to the band saw table.

Step 22: Cut the Base Into a Circle

Once the jig has been clamped to the table, rotate the piece to be cut around the bolt. It will cut the base into a circle as the base passes through the blade for a full 360 degrees.

Sounds complicated, but it's really easy.

Step 23: Sand the Edge of the Circle

To remove any saw tooth marks from the band saw, I used a belt sander to clean up the edge.

Step 24: Round Over the Edges

I used a 1/4" roundover bit to round over the top edge of the round base, and the top and bottom edges of the 5" square base (I had cut the 5" base, but had no photos and didn't describe this step).

Step 25: Drill a Larger Hole Into the Center of the Round Base

Using a 1" Forstner bit, drill a larger hole into the center of the round base. This is needed so that the USB connector on the power cord can pass through the base and into the center of the column.

Step 26: Mark and Drill Holes for the Lazy Susan Bearing

OK, this is going to sound confusing....

The bottom portion of the Lazy Susan bearing is attached to the base by screwing in from the underside of the base. To do that, I marked the placement of the holes on the top of the base, making sure that the bearing was properly centered onto the base. Then I drilled pilot holes through the base.

Step 27: Mark and Drill Holes for the Top Part of the Base

I marked and drilled the pilot holes for the top (5" square) portion of the base.

Step 28: Apply Finish to the Base

Before attaching the Lazy Susan, I applied a coat of mineral oil to the base. It's important to do that at this step because it will be very hard to apply the finish after the Lazy Susan has been attached.

Step 29: Attach the Bearing to the Upper Portion of the Base

I attached the Lazy Susan bearing to the upper portion (5" square piece) of the base. I did this by drilling pilot hole and then screwing into place. Then I screwed the bottom portion of the base to the Lazy Susan bearing by screwing in from the underside.

Step 30: Glue the Column Onto the Base

I had applied finish to the bottom portion of the base, but not to the top portion. This is important to remember because you want to be sure that the glue will adhere well. I put glue onto the bottom end of the column and then set it onto the 5" square portion of the base, with an equal amount of space around each side.

Step 31: Make the Pin for the Height Adjustment

I cut a 1/4" dowel to be about 2" long. I capped it with a piece of 1/2" walnut dowel that was about 1/2" long. I did this by drilling a 1/4" hole into the center of the walnut dowel, about 1/4" deep and then gluing the pieces together. Then I used the belt sander to round over the edges.

Step 32: Drill Hole Into the Column

I drilled a 1/4" hold into the column, about 2" from the top, for the dowel to be inserted.

Step 33: Apply the Finish

I used a single coat of mineral oil to finish the stand, and it made it look really nice. It's very easy to apply and doesn't take a lot of maintenance.

Step 34: The Finished Product

Here's a photo of the finished stand, showing how it can hold either a phone or a tablet.

If you like this project, please vote for it in the contests that I've entered: Homemade Gifts and Epilog VIII. If you're on a computer, the voting button is up near the top of the screen. If you're on a mobile device, the voting button is down near the bottom. Thank you for your support!

You can watch me build this project by clicking on the video.

Comments

author
mpulliam1 (author)2016-12-25

Voted. My wife has MS and something like this would be amazing. She has slowly down sided from Laptops, to tablets to cellphones as her strength wanes. This would be like a 3rd arm for her on tired nights. Great job!

author
woodumakeit (author)mpulliam12016-12-26

Thank you so much!

author
seamster (author)2016-12-17

Fantastic work! :)

author
woodumakeit (author)seamster2016-12-19

Thank you!

author
Kblee5 (author)2016-12-15

Functional and attractive. Well done.

author
woodumakeit (author)Kblee52016-12-16

Thanks!

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Bio: I love making things in my workshop, whether it be fine furniture or a simple tool or jig. Hopefully you'll be inspired and maybe ... More »
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