I was more than miffed to find out that the only option for mounting it in my pickup (other than a universal "squeeze" style mount) was to buy a $30 mount from Lifeproof that is useless without purchasing another $30 mount from a third party. I set off to make my own mount using recycled items as well as other odds & ends.
Step 1: Parts & Tools
- Old PCB
- Aluminum flat bar, 1" x 5" (more or less)
- Aluminum angle, 1" x 3" (more or less)
- Aluminum threshold, about 3" cutoff
- Assorted screws from autopsied electronics
- Nylon washers
- Zinc washers with neoprene on one side
- Thread lock solution
- Drill or preferably drill press
- Drill bits and countersink
- 1/4" forstner bit
- Metal files (triangular, mill second cut, and smooth)
- 00 steel wool (for burnishing the aluminum)
- Table saw
- Bench vice
- Propane or MAPP gas torch
- Ball peen hammer
Step 2: Getting Started
Step 4: Upper Cradle
Using a torch, heat the aluminum where you are going to bend it (whatever you do, make sure it fits your phone). After you have the aluminum heated up some, begin pulling and hammering the bar until you get a 90 degree bend. I used a piece of 1/4" MDF scrap as a buffer so my hammer didn't FUBAR the aluminum. It is important to heat the aluminum. In my experience when you put sharp bends in aluminum without pre-heating it, you are destined for stress failures and a poor quality end-product.
Step 5: Lower Cradle
(Sorry, got too involved and didn't get pics of the half-round drill-out. See pictures on next step and you will understand what I mean)
Step 6: Cradle Assembly
After attaching the upper and lower cradles, I drilled out the side pieces and placed them in the assembly. I did not have a tap for screws this small, but most of my screws were steel. With a dot of WD-40, they tapped the aluminum nicely themselves.
Step 7: Now to the Truck
Once I decided on where I wanted my iPhone to be mounted, I cut a piece of the aluminum flat bar and bolted it to this face plate. In the photos, you will see I used a series of ten washers to act as a standoff bushing for the two mounting screws.
After I was satisfied with the strength and feel of the mount, I re-installed the cubby in my pickup and reassembled the dash console.
Step 8: Attaching the Cradle to the Mount
I placed the two neoprene faced washers metal to metal. The nylon washers' inner diameter was slightly bigger than the metal washers' outer diameter. I placed three nylon washers on the outside of the two neoprene faced washers, then ran my shoulder bolt through the holes. See the diagram for a visual on this.
The metal washers provide the majority of the friction required to keep the phone from rotating freely. I tried it without the nylon at first, but it had a slight wobble that I was not happy with. After I added the nylon washers, they provided a lot of stability and made the wobble go away.
It is IMPORTANT to use thread lock on the shoulder bolt. If you don't, repeated rotation from portrait to landscape will back out your mounting screw. You can find thread lock at a home improvement or hardware store...it is expensive (about $8 for a tiny tube), but you only use a drop here and a drop there, so you can use it on future projects.
Step 9: Finished Product
I could have made the cubby partially open for use, but it was awkward in size and I didn't use it anyway, so I just blocked it off completely. I painted the faceplate with high temperature black grill paint...not because I wanted it to withstand 800 degrees, but because its finish matched the matte plastic of the cubby almost exactly. I chose this spot to mount my phone because it did not block my vent or any controls on the AC or stereo. It is clear of the gear slector and all controls whether in portrait or landscape orientation. I can easily see my Rev2 gauges when that app is in operation and that keeps my lead foot light(er).
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Thanks for checking out my Instructable! I know there are a thousand car phone mount DIYs out there, but this one suited my style and needs best. If you make one based on my design, I'd love to see a pic!
This is part of an ongoing series of mods I want to do to my pickup. I appreciate any suggestions and feedback any of you may have.