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Picture of yet another gps handlebar mount
I'd been looking on Amazon for a handlebar mount for a long time and every time I order it, it goes out of stock. Then I saw this article (http://www.instructables.com/id/EAKFO4VEB6EP306G7G/) and was inspired. I decided to use a different approach though, because I don't want to modify my gps unit in any way.

This is an almost entirely made from scratch solution that didn't cost me anything to make. Of course it helps if you already have some tools. :)

 
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Step 1: Parts list

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some sturdy scrap metal. Mine is a piece of brass about 1mm thick, though you could use probably any kind of sheet metal.

a cheap handlebar mounted reflector or similar thing. Mine came with my bike as a freebie to mark the place where your headlight should go.

two machine screws with matching hex nuts or the like.

drill
clamp
a means for cutting metal, I used a jeweler's hand saw
file
pliers or metal bending tool
spray paint

Step 2: Measuring the metal

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I don't know what this tool is called, but it's pretty cool. It consists of a row of many long pins which you can press against a 3-dimensional surface and trace it's outline. I've been looking for a use for this tool, perhaps this is one.

I've pressed the back of my gps into the tool to capture the form I need to make out of metal.

Step 3: Cutting the metal

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Guesstimate the amount of metal required and scribe out some cutting lines with the point of a safety pin.

Using a c-clamp, clamp the metal to a work surface and then use the jeweler's hand saw to cut along the scribed lines.

The jeweler's handsaw is an amazing tool. You can cut almost anything you want with it. It requires no physical strength, only zen-like patience. Admittedly, it takes a few tries to get the hang of using it. You can purchase saw blades for a very reasonable price at Widget supply (www.widgetsupply.com). Periodically coating the blade with beeswax helps prevent breakage.

If the metal is too hard to cut, you can soften it by placing it on a stove top, cranking the heat and letting the metal sit on top of the flame until it turns burning bright red throughout. Then, with some tongs, drop the metal into cool water. It will sizzle and look oxidized, like this metal does here, but then afterwards the metal will be much softer and more pliable and easier to cut.

If you're using metal with unknown constituents, be careful not to breathe any fumes that might be generated by super heating it. So, turn on the fan, maybe step outside for a bit.

Step 4: File the edges

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After sawing the metal, there will be sharp edges. Just file all around all the edges with a file until you can't feel any jaggy bits when you stroke the edge with your finger. Then file down the corners really well so they are rounded and smooth.



Step 5: Form the metal

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To form this metal, you can use pliers. I used a crusty rusty old metal forming clamp I bought from a jeweler who retired and closed his shop.

Just bend the metal so that it creates an open box like shape around the gps.

Then crimp the tips in a bit so that the gps sits snugly inside the shape, yet is easy enough to slide in and out with a little push.

Step 6: Drill screw holes

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This gps has a convenient curvature that allows some room for the screw heads.

Use the handlebar mount as a screw hole template and scribe the positions of the screw holes into the metal with the safety pin.

A drill press is ideal. At the very least, clamp the metal firmly before drilling. The scary thing about drilling metal is that sometimes the drill bit can catch in the metal and cause the metal piece to spin around wildly. So you definitely want to clamp it down before drilling.

The awesome clamp shown below is available at Widget Supply (www.widgetsupply.com) for around $15. You can position your work fimly at almost any angle with it. It's one of my favorite tools.

Step 7: Assemble it

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Screw the handlebar mount onto the metal bracket with two machines screws and bolt them in tight.

You can easily saw off the excess screw length with the jeweler's hand saw for a neater appearance.

Step 8: Paint job

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Since my bike is black, I decided to paint it black.

Put the whole thing inside of a paper bag and blast it with spray paint. The paper bag is good for containing the overspray. This especially good when you live in a small apartment.

Step 9: Finished

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Well, there it is. The GPS sits firmly in the metal brace at a convenient angle and all the UI buttons are accessible. It can also be easily slid out with a gentle push for safekeeping.

My only qualm is I wish I had chosen a handlebar mount that had one of those quick release things so I could remove the entire mount without using a screwdriver.

After all is said and done, I will still probably try to get a new one from Garmin, if they ever get them back in stock.

But hey, it didn't cost me anything and it's not too bad really.

jpalmer94 years ago
your front forks are the wrong way round
Mnweni5 years ago
I have had a crack at this very useful instructable, but dispensed with the clamp and used cable ties to secure the mount to the the handle bars. I also used a piece of motorcycle tyre to prevent the gps from falling out.  
Tinworm5 years ago
it is called a profile gauge
Manatee6 years ago
This is a good winter project before Geocaching season in the spring. I really struggled to keep the GPSr stable where I could read it on trails. Thanks
qwertyboy6 years ago
it's a depth gauge
Bluemini7 years ago
THIS IS PROBABLY ONE OF THE BEST AND USEFUL (and EASIEST) THINGS I"VE SEEN ON INSTRUCTABLES!!!!! And, I have the perfect use. I'm sure you know what Geocaching is (since you have a GPSr) And I just bought a bike rack, so now, I have the ultimate mounting systems I did have one question. Is it easy to put in and take out the GPSr?
foobear (author)  Bluemini7 years ago
Thank you! Yes, it is easy to slide in and out. The brass is bent so that it is a snug fit, but the metal is just flexible enough to let you slide it out easily by pushing along the side. It worked well for me.
Any thoughts on using a Nuvi 680 on a HD Softail?
foobear (author)  adallojacono7 years ago
Hmm.. Cool. I wonder how long the battery lasts on that one with that great big screen. I'm surprised they don't seem to have a handlebar mount for it, that's a silly oversight. I picked up a handlebar mount for my handheld garmin at REI (the bike shown above was stolen a year and half ago along with my gps mounting contraption). Barring that, I think this design could be adapted to the Nuvi with a wider width of sheet metal.
n0ukf7 years ago
What keeps the GPS from sliding out the sides?
foobear (author)  n0ukf7 years ago
Oh, well you can't tell from the photo, but the brass is really sproingy and holds it in pretty snugly. It worked really well. Bike's been stolen since then. :( But it was very effective.