Introduction: GPS Cup Holder Mount

Picture of GPS Cup Holder Mount

A GPS mount made from PVC pipe fittings to fit the cup holder in your car. The prices of GPS units have drastically come down this year. So I bought a Tom Tom One 125 from Fry's Electronics. Next thing I learned, in California, its illegal to mount one on the windshield!
After searching the Web, I found a type of mount that can be used in the cup holder of your car. They cost about $20 buck for such a piece of plastic. Thats when I decided to try and make my own.

This is an ideal project for those with tools, as most Makers do anyway. With just a few tools and a bench, you can fix and make things that can save you money.

Step 1: PVC Pipe Components

Picture of PVC Pipe Components

Three inch PVC pipe is a little wobbly in the holder, however, a 3 inch pipe cap is just the right diameter.

Parts you will need:

1 piece of 3 inch PVC pipe, 2-7/8 inch long.
Two 3 inch PVC pipe caps.
One 1/4-20 flat head bolt about 1-1/2 long.
One 1/4 inch nut and washer.
Epoxy cement

3 inch disc, 3/8 thick made from plywood, plastic other material. The self-adhesive pad that comes with the GPS is attached to this disc. If you can find a PVC pipe cap that is flat on top, the disc is not needed. Mine was curved and needed a flat surface.


Hack saw to cut the pipe.
3-1/8 inch hole saw.
1/4-20 tap and #21 drill bit.
Countersink bit.
file to remove flash and sharp edges or sandpaper.
Drill press, if you own one.

Step 2: Attach the Pad

Picture of Attach the Pad

A self-adhesive pad comes with the GPS unit. It is used to mount the unit to a spot on the cars dash with the GPS suction cup. Instead, we will mount the pad to a disc that is attached to the cup holder mount.

Make the disc using a 3-1/8 inch hole saw. The material can be plywood, thick plastic or in my case I had some phenolic material scrap from work. If you use plywood, seal it with paint or clear coat. This will help with bonding to the GPS self-stick mount.

Step 3: Tap Hole for Disc

Picture of Tap Hole for Disc

Tap a 1/4 -20 hole on the top of the PVC cap.

Counter sink a hole on the disc in the middle and slip in the flat head bolt. Be sure the counter sinked hole is deep enough so as not to interfere with attaching the self-adhesive pad.

Use a little 5 minute epoxy to secure in the bolt to the disc. It will keep it from loosing up over time.

If you have a drill press, use it to start the tapping of the hole. This will keep the tapped hole perfectly straight. I just chuck up the tap and lower into the hole and twist it by hand.

Step 4: Screw in the Disc

Picture of Screw in the Disc

After the flat-head bolt is mounted to the disc and the epoxy is cured, screw in the disc to the PVC cap.

Step 5: Bolt the Inside

Picture of Bolt the Inside

Use a 1/4-20 nut and washer to secure the bolt and disc to the PVC pipe cap. Threading the cap makes a tighter assembly.

Step 6: Assemble

Picture of Assemble

Put together with the short piece of PVC pipe and the bottom cap. Don't glue it together, just press fit.

You can even paint it to match you cars interior. I'm planing on giving it a flat black paint job.

Step 7: Stick on the GPS

Picture of Stick on the GPS

Stick on the GPS with its suction cup to the top of your new holder. It is now ready to use.

Step 8: Travel Tip

Picture of Travel Tip

You may be tempted to glue it together. Don't. When traveling through Airport Security, you may be asked to show what you got. To X-ray, it looks like a pipe bomb with a GPS trigger device! You can twist off the bottom and show there is nothing inside.


ajensen27 (author)2014-05-24

i like this but im going to put a taller pipe to get it to dash pad level and give me room to hit my radio controls and not make (any more) holes in my dash

ander (author)2010-11-01

Not to be a wet blanket, but: I don't think it's safe to be looking down at your cup holder to check your GPS... The whole idea of having it at dash level (even if it's not attached to your windshield) is that your eyes stay at traffic level.

brosee (author)2010-04-07

Finished product.
$8 total. (didn't have any spare parts laying around)
Many thanks for the great idea. Went with Velcro instead of the mounting system I linked before.
Ps. My brother in-law is now making his as well.

RichardBronosky (author)2009-04-15

I'm watching the inventor of the "GPS Pal" describe this very thing on "Pitch Men" on Discovery Channel. I can't believe he got a patent.

I saw the "GPS Pal". 20 bucks for a piece of plastic!

brosee (author)2010-03-21

 One million thank you's for this one. I have been searching for a way to mount my Archos 5 in the car for days. With some slight modification on the pad, i can get this to work 100%. I will be mounting "Pro Clip's Move Clip" in place of the GPS suction to a wedge shaped piece of wood.
This is going to save me a lot of money in the end.

Thanks again.

botronics (author)brosee2010-03-21

Send a photo to us after you make it.  I took mine through airport inspection to West Virgina with no problem.   Just leave it dis-assembled so it don't look like a b0mb. If its loose in a cup holder, you can put a sock on it.

MarkInMLB (author)2010-01-08

Great idea!  Did something similar to this using a "tall" aluminum can (Green Tea, as I recall) and filled with lead shot and beach sand for stability.  Glued a mounting disk to the can top for the suction mount, and it doesn't move in the console cup holders.  Also has the benefit that it raises it up a bit more conveniently (although still not quite the HUD it was intended to be).  All that, and it's so heavy, you could defend yourself with it!

Heartofgold (author)2009-10-05

I like this idea, I'll be making one up for myself this weekend. Thanks fro the info.

botronics (author)Heartofgold2009-10-05

If you do, send a photo!

boxofish (author)2008-12-13

great idea! i'm gonna do this for sure!

gpscushion (author)boxofish2009-04-28

why getting so trouble, go to and find a GPS cushion(dash mount)!

tmuterspaugh (author)2008-12-27

I know i sound stupid, bit how do i load an instructable, i cant find out how

botronics (author)tmuterspaugh2008-12-27

Go to the top and click on "Submit" Read the instructions. You can also do a slide show by loading just photos. (author)2008-12-22

awesome idea! I have yet to get a suction cup mount for my GPS -- all I have at the moment is the one that came with my GPS that you permanently mount to your vehicle. Can't stand permanently affixing something. This sounds like an excellent solution. Also -- the way my dad gets around the CA law is he mounts it on the driver's side window. Not a big fan as I have to move my eyes too far from the road. Thankfully I live in SC where its legal to ride your motorcycle without a helmet...

botronics (author)ef.cool2008-12-23

Vehicle Code 26708 also included the side (author)botronics2008-12-25

well then... that's useful. thanks

Manatee (author)2008-12-19

This will be handy when Geocaching! Check out Thanks

Spokehedz (author)2008-12-19

Adding some sand/salt/rocks/whatever to the PVC will let you use quite a lot more devices with this. I'm thinking that this might be very useful indeed... A couple of quick mods, and I may have a very nice solution. Kudos.

jts1012 (author)2008-12-19

Great idea. I made one in 10 minutes and the only thing i changed was I shaped the bottom of the disc to match the curve of the top cap and I added a ziplock bag of sand to give it some weight to hold it in the cup holder. It doesn't shake at all. My gps has a taller mount that would move when on a bumpy road. (I live in upstate new york)

frikkie (author)2008-12-18

And there was lightbulb...Great idea man!

DrBlind (author)2008-12-18

this is so sweet, if you used a screw cap and end you could put your unused change in the holder ;)

botronics (author)DrBlind2008-12-18

Or cut a slot on the side and make it a bank to store loose change.

DrBlind (author)botronics2008-12-18

that would be awesome.

CaseyCase (author)2008-12-12

Illegal to mount on the windshield in California? WTF! Glad that I don't live there anymore.

asp55 (author)CaseyCase2008-12-15

Pretty common law in a lot of states actually. The full law (in California) is that you can't put anything on your front windshield that would obstruct your view of the road (stickers, things hanging from your rear view mirror, and of course GPS units) with the exception of within a 4 inch square in the bottom right and left corners.

gormly (author)asp552008-12-16

>>"Pretty common law in a lot of states actually." Thats is SO sad... because it makes so much more sense to put electronic devices with small screens in the lower part of your car.. like a cup holder, right? Politicians, can't live with em, can't boil them in oil. LOL, I like the instructable no doubt, but this is a serious road hazard.

asp55 (author)gormly2008-12-16

Problem is that the law predates small screened car electronics, and is thus really directed at decorative things like stickers, fuzzy dice, and other things that would block your view of the road.

asp55 (author)asp552008-12-15

Top corners too I believe... but I'd have to verify that.

botronics (author)asp552008-12-15

The Terminator just lifted the ban in California. You can mount the GPS on the wind shield, but only on the lower right or left corners. Read it here.

jongscx (author)2008-12-15

I love Step 8... the same thing happened to my 20 NiCD battery pack for my extra-long laptop battery pack... apparently the TSA has something against long tubular objects held together with electrical tape and have wires sticking out of it...

botronics (author)jongscx2008-12-15

I'm thinking of just using a 1 inch hole saw and bore out a inspection hole on the bottom cap. I wanted to paint the holder. Once its painted, it might not come apart.

Your story reminds me of the time my son and I took a robotic snake through airport TSA, They held up the plane till they could figure it out. I was the last one to board with 4 TSA agents looking it over. The robotic snake is shown here.

Sparky42 (author)2008-12-15

Good job!! I did something similar from a plastic cup for my MP3 player and transmitter. Better than having to chase them around the passenger seat. Next thing to do will be to heat up the soldering iron and put the transmitter and power supplies (xmitter and player) into the cup and wire them so there's only one cord coming out instead of having a splitter for both.

iKill (author)2008-12-12

i saw an infomercial and something like this cost like 20 bucks!!! what a rip off those infomercials are

botronics (author)iKill2008-12-12

You probably could find a olive jar or something that is just right in size in your refrigerator. Fill it up with dried beans for weight.

rerat (author)botronics2008-12-15

Or just leave the olives in there:)

About This Instructable




Bio: I like to tinker and experiment with electronics, robotics, programming, and photography. Along with my latest interest in Steampunk.
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