Instructables
Picture of iPad Cart for School
Like many schools, ours is trying to put an iPad into the hands of every student.  For our seventh grade, that's over fifty iPads.  As our middle school is multi-age, in a year we will have iPads for every seventh and eighth grader.  Soon, we will have to store and power over one hundred iPads.

The cost of an IPad cart is anywhere from over a thousand to three thousand dollars.  Looking at their capacity, we would need to buy anywhere from three to five carts that are currently on the market, depending on the cart.  While various grants have allowed us to stock up on iPads, they won't pay for the cart.  Or five.  Our school's budget is shrinking, so we needed a solution that was practical and cheap.

I would have thought that, with the popularity of iPads, cart plans would abound.  No.  There is one plan, which was very helpful in organizing the Ipads.  John Umekubo is the Director of Technology at St. Matthew's Parish School in Los Angeles and writes this very helpful blog entry here.  It will teach you the guts of the beast.  Other sites talked about using dish racks and such, but they weren't secure and middle-school proof (I did adopt an old desk organizer for my own personal electronics).

This design is four cabinets, each of which holds nearly 30 iPads while charging ten at a time (more on power and syncing later).  They are designed to sit on a counter, although caster wheels could be added and be secure from crimes of opportunity (anyone who really wanted our iPads could get them, and you can make them more secure, I'm sure)..  The total cost was $400.00, including locks.

Throughout, I offer up considerations and lessons learned.  On the last page I have included other brainstorms.  I am sure you will only improve on what I've done with these prototypes.
 
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mbear3 months ago
I figured if I removed the drawers, I could build the shelving inside and fix up some type of door.

Actually you might want to leave the drawers in place and just add the wooden rack to the inside of the drawer. That way you can recycle the drawer slide hardware. Drill a few vent holes in the back and you're all set.

jumekubo10 months ago
Nicely done! And thanks for the nod. Hope all is well and that your hard work has paid off. ;-)
Try getting a powered USB hub. You can get them for cheap on dealextreme.com just make sure it's powered.I've seen ones with more than 30 ports.
Hiyadudez1 year ago
Nice idea. My school has an iPad for every student and they are in these huge metal trolleys that have slide-out trays with cushioned pockets and in-built chargers.

A quick google search and I found ones pretty much the same as my schools ones, around £3500 ($5427!)

Anyway, nice Instructable.
Actual building and box, fine.
The theory/intended usage, crazy.


I cannot imagine anyone storing this amount of valuables in a wooden case.

I could see the file cabinet idea working though. A nice heavy one that locks (and added brackets with padlocks as needed) with heavy-duty wheels. And a school district might just have a few not being used.

There would still need to be some way of making sure someone couldn't wheel it right out the door in a break-in.
darlingtom (author)  explosivemaker1 year ago
I am deferring to my administrators on this one. They may bolt the whole thing to a counter. Our local high school once had an entire laptop cart (securely locked!) wheeled out the door and into a waiting van (and caught them selling them on eBay, where they helpfully posted the serial numbers). Overall, though, technology is scattered all around without incident.

The screws alone can easily be worked out of the latches and hinges, but the local concern are students and others simply walking away with one--the crime of opportunity rather than premeditated theft. At one point my design included pegboard sides, for ventilation, and they were fine with that even though a first grader could have punched a hole through it. But our community is small and, for now, this will do. If not, I would be more concerned, too.
I was thinking a literal "smash and grab".

Not to mention for liability or insurance purposes in the event of a fire/etc.
A gun safe should suffice.