IPad Tripod Mount

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Introduction: IPad Tripod Mount

This is a very easy to make and inexpensive tripod mount for iPads or any tablet really. It is made from a piece of PVC drain pipe and a t-nut. The funnest part of this project is the unique way the pipe is flattened to become the iPad case.

This project was adapted from a YouTube video. The original design would not quite fit my tripod so I made a new mounting bracket.

Step 1: Materials

14" of  4" PVC schedule 20 drain pipe
PVC cement
1 1/4" #20 t-nut
card stock

Step 2: Tools

safety glasses
pencil
25mm (1") round saw
5/8" drill bit
drill or drill press
ruler
hacksaw
Dremel with cutting wheel and grinder
sander or sand paper
heat gun (not shown)

Step 3: Cut the Pipe

Cut about 14" of 4" schedule 20 PVC drain pipe. It should be a few inches wider than the long side of the iPad. Then make a single cut lengthwise down the pipe.

Step 4: Preheat

Wait until your wife is out for the afternoon. Preheat your oven to 210 F. You are going to bake the PVC for about 6 minutes or until it is flat. Don't worry this should not produce any smell.

Step 5: Flatten the PVC

Bake the PVC in a 210 F oven for about six minutes or until it is mostly flat. Use a cookie sheet so that the oven shelf does not leave any marks. Once the PVC is mostly flat, remove it from the oven. The PVC will be soft like pie crust dough. Put a cutting board and a pitcher of tea on top of the PVC so that it will cool completely flat.

Step 6: Sand

Sand off all the labeling, marks and stains from both sides of the PVC.

Step 7: Template

Draw a template on a piece of card stock. Transfer or copy the template to another piece of card stock. Use the second piece of card stock to make a prototype. Make sure all of the iPad's buttons and connectors are not obstructed. Adjust your master template if needed.

Step 8: Cut Out the Case

Poke holes through the center of each circle on the template. Lay the template on the PVC and mark the center of each hole on the PVC with a pencil. Then make a divot at each mark with a small knife or nail. This will keep the drill bit from walking. Drill the holes using the round saw. Use a ruler and pencil to mark lines from the edge of the circles to the edge of the PVC. Use a hacksaw or Dremel to cut along the lines.

Step 9: Mold Case

Use a heat gun to fold the tabs over to hold the case to the iPad. Be sure not to point the heat at one place very long or you will scorch the PVC. Do not heat your iPad! Heat the PVC by itself then mold it around the iPad one tab at a time. Do not fold the top tab all way over your iPad trapping it inside. Angle it up just enough so that the iPad will not accidentally slide out but will still allow it to be removed.

Step 10: Round Corners

Trim all the edges so they do not overlap the LCD screen using a Dremel cutting wheel. Then use a Dremel grinder to round off all the corners. Use sand paper to round and smooth all the edges.

Step 11: Mounting Bracket

Make a mounting bracket from a leftover piece of PVC. The shape is not important as long as it will fit your tripod and it provides plenty of surface area to cement to the case. Make sure your iPad will not obstruct any of the adjustments on your tripod. 

Cement a small piece of PVC to the base of the bracket so that there will be a double thickness of PVC. This will strengthen and steady the bracket where it connects to the tripod. 

A 1/4" #20 t-nut will fit the bolt on standard tripods. Drill a hole in the double thickness of PVC that will snugly host the t-nut. You may need to trim the nut so that it does not stick out below the mounting bracket. An alternative would be to make a triple thickness of PVC. 

Shape the bracket with a heat gun.

Cement the bracket to the case.

Step 12: Use It!

Take some great pictures or videos. Please leave a comment or even a picture of your tripod mount. I'd love to see how you improve the design.

3 People Made This Project!

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27 Comments

I like it but would be wary of the simple glue bond holding the expensive tablet/pad to the tripod. I would add some small screws thru the holder into the back support as "insurance" in case the glue joint ever fails. You'd want to make sure the screw heads don't protrude too far into the space and scratch the pad... maybe place a layer of thick tape over the heads as padding.

1 reply

Thanks for the comment. I researched this too. PVC cement is not really glue. It's more like chemical welding. The cement has a solvent that breaks down the top layers of the parts allowing them fuse into essentially one piece as it drys. When done properly I'd bet the joint is at least as strong or stronger than the rest of the panel.

pure genius man! I've been puzzling how to mount a 7" tablet in a silicone waterproof case to my motorcycle, and you nailed it! In the UK we don't have the same pipe you mention, so I used black downpipe, which cost just £5 ($8).

Because of restricted space near the windshield, I modified the design to it just has little side tabs to prevent sideways slippage, and a sprung top clip, allowing me to just spring the tablet forward to remove it. Riveted a metal bracket on the back for fixing to bike. Went for a test ride today and all was well at 70. Thanks so much !!

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2 replies

I also have same casing for 8" tablet and want to mount it to my motorcycle, Thank you both of you.

Thanks! I'm glad this instructable was helpful. I love the black PVC. It looks so cool with the black case and your bike.

You can try but I'm sure it will. It has worked on differrent tablets and phones, so I'm fairly confident it will

Thx man. i made mine and it is awesome!!! thx so much. ill upload a photo soon

Very, very nice. Ingenious idea. Thanks for sharing.

What an awesome idea! I can't wait to make one. Thanks!

This is ingenious. You could theoretically use this to create sheets of plastic for use in a CNC cutting machine to do your templating, and then use the heat gun for shaping thereafter. Seriously brilliant.

Brilliant!

Tell me please, what are the dimensions of the pipe in metric means?

2 replies

The pipe I used is really for drainage and available in big box hardware stores. In metric it is about 10 cm in diameter and thin walls about 2 mm. It is usually 8 to 10 feet long so about 3 m.

Thanks a lot! I was confused about the dimension 20 in the post.
Yes, this kind of pipes are common for all the housekeeping and building stores. Just found apiece of about 2 feet length. Now "Gone fishing" :D
Thanks again

Hi Do you Have design To Make a Sun Shade For Ipad2

Thanks

Hi Do you have the Template For This

Great project, very creative use of materials. Definitely going to try this.

nice! Looks like something Apple would sell... And kind of looks like an iMac.

Very nice solution! Thanks! Just one question; you used grey drain pipe, but after heating the pvc looks nice (Apple) white! How come? I@lbert

1 reply

Thanks for your kind words. The pipe is not grey. Maybe the dirty pipe looks that way in the pictures in contrast to the white paper and stove. It is plain white drain pipe found in box stores or plumbing supply.