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Dashboard Disk Mount for GPS and other suction cup devices

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California and Minnesota have this big bummer of a law that states that no one can drive with anything hanging off of their windshield. I finally got tired of looking down near my gearshift for my GPS map, and decided to get a dash mount.

Unfortunately, it's $20 wherever I look for a decent beanbag mount. Ridiculous! Garmin sells disk mounts for their products and many reputable dealers include dash mounts now. But what if you need a dashboard mount for your old GPS? Well it's pretty easy and cheap to make one.

Required Materials:

Smooth, flat plastic or something surface (if it's not absolutely smooth, your suction cup won't mount to it!)
I used a cd case. You can use a jar lid.

Double sided mounting tape

Scissors

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Step 1: Get the appropriate materials

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Your disk needs to be made of a relatively sturdy plastic. I used a CD case that I had lying around. The outside of the plastic was smooth. The inside of the cover was slightly rough and not conducive to suction. Therefore the rough side was the one I placed adhesive on! However, both sides should be as smooth as possible (the adhesive sticks better in my experience) so I ended up supergluing two disks together so both sides were smooth.
Obviously you'll want to try the suction mount before using the plastic.

Your scissors need to be pretty strong.

Ditto with the adhesive tape.

Step 2: Make the disks

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Your plastic disks need to be a few millimeters larger in diameter than the base of your suction cup... but not too large because then it's harder to stick on your curvy dash.

Mark your circles on the side you won't be suctioning (the rougher side of the plastic).

I used a cup that happened to be slightly larger than my suction cup base (I could barely stick that sucker in the cup) with tape around the edges in order to mark my circles with my marker. Richer people can use that thing that helps you draw circles (protractor??)

Cut out your circles with scissors. Perfectionists can also file down the rough edges of the plastic.

Step 3: Put the tape on your disk

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Roll the tape onto your disk and cut where necessary. You should follow the curves so you get as much adhesive onto the disk as possible. Just put one layer.

Step 4: Anticipate the curves of your dashboard

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Without removing the protector, slide the disk around and find a nice flat spot where you'd like this mount to go on your dashboard. If it's not totally flat (which it probably won't be), you'll notice that not all parts of the adhesive will contact the dashboard.

Favor the back of your dashboard - more adhesive should stick there than anywhere else. When you attach the back of the disk to the dashboard, you may find the front of the disk pops up and away from the dash. Where it was appropriate, I stuck another layer of adhesive onto the front (should be near the very front) of the disk in order to balance it. Remember, if you have to make a choice between the front or the back contacting the dash, favor the back of the disk and balance the very front with a little bit of adhesive.

Do NOT bend the disk so that all the adhesive contacts the dash, because the suction cup needs a flat surface to suck on. That's where adding layers comes in.

Don't overdo the layering. In my picture the back half of the disk contacts the dashboard, while in the front you see that the disk lifts off the dashboard but is supported by the extra layer of adhesive.

Sorry to write so much about this, but it's the most important and difficult step...

Anyway, since you've made it fairly level, you can now remove the protector and stick your disk in the appropriate position. Press down fairly hard to make sure it gets stuck, but don't bend your disk too much to do this. If you did the layering part well, you're not going to need to bend it.

Step 5: Try it out

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Try the suction mount now.

If the suction does not stick, then you've bent your disk too much.

If the suction does stick and the GPS falls to the front, either you didn't balance the front well with extra adhesive or you did it too much and now the back doesn't contact the dashboard enough. Also, if the disk just pops right off the adhesive, you need a smoother disk to contact it.

If everything works, congratulations!

Protect your new mount by keeping the disk out of the sun - if the adhesive melts you'll have a bad time getting the melted part off, plus your GPS will fall down.

NE-Phil writes that the disk is easily seen and can motivate thieves! So I suggest putting some papers on your dash to cover the disk after dismounting the suction cup.
Cool instructable, but I didn't know that in California (where I live) that it is against the law to have things hanging from your windshield...
It's no longer illegal in California :

Check out section 12 from the California DMV (http://www.dmv.ca.gov/pubs/vctop/d12/vc26708.htm) :

"A portable Global Positioning System (GPS), which may be mounted in a 7-inch square in the lower corner of the windshield farthest removed from the driver or in a 5-inch square in the lower corner of the windshield nearest to the driver and outside of an airbag deployment zone, if the system is used only for door-to-door navigation while the motor vehicle is being operated"

infection0 (author)  GorillazMiko7 years ago
scott12025 years ago
I love the idea of putting a GPS in our vehicle, thank you for sharing and GPS reviews, have a great day! Cheap car gps
Bobblob5 years ago
I wanted a quick, cheap and convenient way to mount my GPS too.

I found a small space where the top of the dashboard and the front of the dashboard meet.  All vehicles are different so you must be creative to find a mounting place in your application but no glue or tape needed with this.

I bought  a piece of .125 inch thick Acrylic plastic sheet cut to size and bent a lip with a low heat torch.   Suction is great and slips in and out easily.

My windshield is several feet away so this brings it closer to me yet is just below the windshield/roof line and maintains good Satellite connection.

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hunkydorry5 years ago
 I used the sticky back velcro.  When I leave the car, I remove my gps and replace it with a little bobble head dog that also has velcro on the bottom.  That way anyone looking in doesn't realize that something is missing from the dash.   As far as removing sticky goo from your dash, there is a product out there called goo gone.  It removes labels from bottles and things so it might work for your dash as well.  But I would read the instructions carefully first in case it could cause discoloration.  But before buying goo gone, try WD-40.  that stuff does a multitude of things.
zozzles5 years ago
Oh well... written by someone who apparently doesn't know how unbelievably hot a dashboard (or car interior) usually gets... I haven't seen any double-sided tape whose adhesive hasn't turned into sticky NON-adhesive goo after a month or so after being cooked in this manner. Worse yet, the goo is often difficult to remove from the dashboard!
Amnesia Wes7 years ago
When I park my car and take off the GPS, I just drape a towel across the dash like I'm trying to protect the dash from the sun. It hides everything without making it look too obvious.
clanger7 years ago
I DRIVE A FORD TRANSIT VAN AND STICK MY SAT NAV TO THE DASH BOARD GLASS SO ITS MOUNTED IN LINE WITH ALL THE DIALS BUT ONLY OBSCURES THE OIL PRESSURE GUAGE WHICH I NEVER LOOK AT MUCH . IT WORKS WELL IS OUT OF SIGHT AND CAN EASILY BE VIEWED THROUGH STEERING WHEEL,I ALSO MADE A BLACK CARDBOARD BOX TO SLIP OVER IT TO MAKE IT INVISIBLE FROM OUT SIDE WHEN IAM NOT IN, VAN WORKS WELL
infection0 (author)  clanger7 years ago
interesting. I think i'll take a look at that option :)
NE-Phil7 years ago
Great instructable. Simple to make and cheap, too. But keep in mind that a GPS is one of the most stolen items out there. Most of the bad guys see the windshield or dashboard disk mounts on a parked car even if the driver remembers to hide the GPS itself. Or, if you hide the windshield mount, they can see the ring left on the windshield. All are invitations for them to break in. That's why I bit the bullet and bought the beanbag. When I'm parked, I can hide the whole setup in the console. No reason to break in!
infection0 (author)  NE-Phil7 years ago
good idea phil, I think I'll start placing something like a CD on top of my disk when I leave my car!
infection0 (author) 7 years ago
BTW, this is where I got the idea for my first instructable...BTW, this is where I got the idea for my first instructable...