Introduction: Make an Articulating Wall Mount Hold Your TV Perfectly Level

About: I like doing things myself. I've installed my own automotive and home sound systems. I've built my own electronic gadgets including an LED voltage monitor for an auxiliary battery used to power my auto sound …

I will show you how to make a relatively easy 'add-on' to your articulating wall mount to level your TV perfectly. I bought a fancy articulating wall mount for my 26" flat panel LCD TV and was disappointed to find out that after all the careful steps taken to make the mount perfectly level on the wall, that the arms have enough play with the weight of the TV that the more I swing the TV off-center, the more crooked it hangs. I have a solution for that. This instructable is suitable for smaller TVs not exceeding 40 lbs in weight. For larger TVs, please make appropriate modifications to materials used.

Level of difficulty is Medium.
Cost (not including TV and articulating wall mount) is Low (under $10).

Note: Have a helper when removing your TV or hanging it on the wall.

Parts I used (your list may vary depending on mount):
(1) flat panel TV with standard 75mm x 75mm or 100mm x 100mm VESA mounting pattern
(1) articulating wall mount with 75mm x 75mm or 100mm x 100mm VESA mounting pattern
(2) 4-3/4" square x 1/16" thick steel plates
(1) 9/16" x 1-1/2" long bolt (9/16" hex head, 3/8" shaft, 16 threads per inch)
(3) 9/16" x 16 nuts
(7) 3/8" flat washers
(2) 7/16" x 1-1/2" long bolts (7/16" hex head, 1/4" shaft, 16 threads per inch)
(2) 7/16" x 16 nuts
(20) 1/4" flat washers
(2) 1/4" wing nuts
(4) #8 x 1/2" long philips head machine screws
(4) 1/4" x 18 nylon thread lock nuts

Tools I used:
safety glasses (recommended)
cordless drill
3/8" drill bit
1/4" drill bit
file to smooth out snags from drilling
Rotary tool with cut-off wheels
hammer and punch to mark drill points (keeps drill bit from walking before starting into material)
workbench (recommended)
clamps for holding parts while drilling (recommended)

Step 1: Drill Corner and Center Holes in Steel Plates

I stacked both steel plates together and laid my bracket mount on the steel plates to mark the hole locations where the bracket is intended to mount directly to the back of my TV. I marked the center on both steel plates to drill out the rotating point of my home-made adapter. Both of my steel plates needed all 5 of these holes drilled in the same places.

Note: The steel plates I used were electrical box covers that already had one corner slot and one key-hole. Don't do like I did! Move your bracket more than 1/4" away from any existing holes in the steel plate in order to not compromise its strength. After making my mistake, I decided to place the hole I drilled that's too close to the key-hole at the bottom of the finished product so it won't have weight trying to pull on it. Hind-sight shows me I should have used the existing key-hole or moved my holes farther away from the existing key-hole.

Step 2: Drill Holes in Plates to Make the Adjustment Mechanism

Using a compass, I marked 2 arcs that will be clear of my articulating mount in the finished product. I drilled a hole in the center of the arc through both steel plates. Then, I drilled a hole on each end of the arc only on the back plate.

Step 3: Bolt It All Together

I bolted the plates together using washers so the mounting screw/bolt heads won't interfere. Washers are placed under bolt heads and nuts to keep them from trying to pull through the steel plate when loaded. This will distribute the force of the TVs weight to a much larger area of the plates.

Using a helper, I hung the articulating bracket on its wall mount. I positioned the articulating mount the way I wanted it, then tightened all its joints and set-screw.

Finally, I loosened the wing nuts on my adapter to rotate the TV to a perfectly level position and re-tightened the wing nuts.