Recently I created an instructable for setting up your tablet as a second screen for your laptop LINK and I decided I needed some way to hold my tablet up for my dual screen setup. I decided that while I was at it i'd record the process so if any of you want to do the same you can learn from some of my lessons.
Step 1: Prototype
So rather than do a bunch of design and analysis work and commit myself to one design I decided it was easier to try to make a prototype or two and see how those worked out.
When I began designing this in my head a few weeks ago I had originally thought that mounting the tablet on top of my laptop would work best, but after making my two prototypes I realized that the side mount was better in a lot of ways
I made the T shaped mount by taking some scrap metal from my school's machine shop and cutting it on the bandsaw into a basic T shape. I put a slight bend down the middle of the T's so that the tablet would be angled inwards when mounted. Then I drilled two holes through the two T's and put a 1/4" nut and bolt through each hole. To protect my laptop and tablet I stuck some adhesive backed foam to the inside of the two T's. This design worked well because it didn't put too much strain on the hinges of my laptop and it was a one size fits all solution.
I made the white plastic mounts with some scrap plastic from the shop which I cut two slots to match the thickness of my tablet and my laptop. I then cut off as much excess as I felt necessary then cut the 1" block down the middle to make two slightly smaller duplicates. One of the duplicates I cut a bit off one of the sides of the supports to make sure it wouldn't block my laptop screen. I liked this design for its simplicity, but I didn't like that the Tablet wasn't really attached, plus it put a lot of strain on my laptop.
Step 2: Gather Supplies
Having roughed out two prototypes I decided on a final design and ran to ace hardware to pick up some supplies.
- Sheet Metal - I used a 1.5' by .5' piece of 16 gauge
- Wing Nut and Bolt - I ended up getting a 1/4 20 bolt that was threaded tip to base and a matching wing nut
- Spray Paint - I picked a dark grey Rustoleum paint. I'd recommend Rustoleum since it does a decent job protecting the metal
- Adhesive-backed foam - I got one that was 1/4" thick and 3/4" wide closed cell foam.
Step 3: CAD Modeling
To make the final product better I decided to used a Computer Controlled Plasma Cutter to cut out the parts I needed. I created SUPER BASIC models in solidworks and saved them as .dxf files for the plasma cutter.
For the plate that would end up on top I made it 1.75" wide and 5" long. The width left space for a 1/4" bolt and 2 strips of 3/4" wide adhesive with a little wiggle room. You dont want to make this plate too wide because it will overlap with your computer screen since it goes on top. I had to make this part twice because the original one I made was too narrow.
For the bottom plate I made it 2.5" wide so that I'd have space for 3 3/4" wide strips and the 1/4" bolt. This one can be wider since it'll be on the back side of the laptop and tablet.
On both plates I ended up adding in 1/4" fillets on the corners so that it wouldn't have sharp corners.
Step 4: Machine Shop
Sorry I don't have any pictures of my own for this step. I was at the schools shop and didn't want to take time to get pictures.
- Plasma cut out parts - I ended up cutting out two of the top and two of the bottom so that I could pick the ones that ended up best for my final product.
- Grind - The plasma cutter leaves a small lip on the backside of the part so its important to grind it off so that you have a flat surface.
- Bend - Because I wanted the final clip to hold the Tablet at a slight inward angle I put about a 20 degree bend in both the top and bottom plates.
- Drill- Once I had the two plates finished I clamped them together and drilled a 1/4" hole in the middle. The reason I clamped them together was so that the hole would line up perfectly between the top and bottom plate.
You can see in the pictures how small of an angle I put into it and roughly what they look like.
Step 5: Paint
I made myself a little paint booth by cutting one face of a box and laying it down. I then propped the pieces fabricated in the last step in the corner and painted one face. I gave them 30 minutes to dry then flipped them over and painted the other face. I gave them another 30 minutes to dry then brought them back inside. They were still a bit tacky so I gave them overnight to dry.
Step 6: Final Assembly
Now that I had the painted parts I could put it all together.
I cut 5 5" strips of adhesive backed foam. Two went on the convex face of the smaller front plate and 3 went on the concave face of the larger back plate.
I inserted the bolt into the hole on the larger back plate and super glued it in place so it wouldn't spin freely or fall out. Then I took the front plate and slid it onto the bolt so that the foam pads were facing eachother. Finally thread on the wing nut and you have a finished product!