Introduction: Music Stand From Junk

About: Warthog-faced buffoon.

Admit it: you have a tripod with the top broken off, don't you? And I bet you have a busted CD player or VCR waiting to be e-wasted, right? Now, if you've saved that crap, you're clearly a hoarder and I bet you have the rest of the materials laying around... so why not make your own fully-adjustable music stand, for FREE?

The perfect gift for musicians, aspiring musicians, and broken electronics enthusiasts - built one using nothing but my own copious collection of crap!

Step 1: Acquire Materials

If you don't have this stuff, someone you know does: ask around!

-Broken Tripod: The parts that tend to break are usually the bits that attach to the camera:  the miscellaneous dials and plastic knobs at the top. Luckily, all you need for this project are intact legs...
-CD player, VCR, DVD, or any other component of a home entertainment system that is no longer entertaining, and has a metal case (not plastic).
-*Adjustable flag pole bracket*: For mounting the music holder to the tripod. If you have one of these you may not need any of the items below (and you can skip step 4)!
-PVC pipe: Length and diameter depend on the dimensions of the tripod; mine was a 6" bit of 1" diameter PVC.
-Wood: I used a 4"x4" scrap of 3/4" ply, but other dimensions of plywood or solid wood will work.
-Small, Wide Brackets: The kind that come with rack-mount server hardware are great, but anything with a  90-degree bend will suffice.
-Stiff metal strip: I bent a large "L"-bracket semi-straight using my super-human strength, but any length of stiff metal would work, too.
-1/4" Carriage bolt & wing nut: The length of the bolt depends on the thickness of the wood piece; mine was 1".
-Misc. screws,  nuts & bolts, washers: Will vary depending on the dimensions of your brackets & wood.
-Glue: Gorilla, Elmer's... or you may not need any at all, depending on your available materials and how you assemble them.

-Drill, 1/4" bit (slightly larger is OK)
-Jigsaw, files, sandpaper

Step 2: The Tripod

I disassembled the top of my broken tripod, using a combination of calm, reasoned techniques and violent busting of plastic bits with pliers.

The goal here is to establish a foundation for your other parts, without damaging the tripod's  structure. Your results will vary depending on the design of your tripod, but in my case I was able to strip it down to a ~1" plastic piece reminiscent of a top hat from a bygone era.

By lucky chance, I had a piece of PVC that fit this "hat" like a glove. Or, like a really well-fitting hat.

Step 3: The Music Holder

Disassemble the donor home entertainment device until you free the metal housing, and bend the sides out using your super-human strength.

You are, of course, shooting for a music stand-shaped thing. You may get lucky and end up with a plate of metal that is already all one piece, but (on my Pioneer CD player) I had to attach the "bottom" panel with 2 small L-brackets and some nuts and bolts.

File away any sharp edges.

Step 4: The Adjustable Part

If you have (or can find) an adjustable flag pole bracket (like one of these), bolt it to the bottom middle of your music holder, skip to step 5 (and please don't point and laugh at us poor saps making our own...)
If you don't have an adjustable flag pole bracket, make something that does the same thing:
Note: this part will vary significantly depending on the design of your tripod and what materials you have on hand, but here's what I did:
-Drill a hole near side of your wood piece: this is a "hinge point" that will help make your music holder adjustable.
-Cut the edge of the wood opposite the drilled hole, into a half-circle.
-Cut an arc about 1/2" in from the curved edge of your wood piece. The arc should be a bit wider than 1/4" (so your carriage bolt can slide along it freely). The length will vary depending on the placement of the other hardware, and will determine just how adjustable your final stand will be. I cut the arc by drawing out the arc in pencil, drilling several holes, then connecting them & cleaning up using a jigsaw.
-The stiff metal strip is used to connect the wood piece to the to the tripod. It needs to bolt to the wood piece at the hinge point (hole at the flat side), then through the arc-shaped hole with the carriage bolt, allowing adjustment via the wing nut. The bracket I used had two conveniently-located holes at one end for attaching to the wood piece, and I glued the other end into the PVC pipe, adding a 3" half-round wooden dowel inside for a snug fit.
-To quote a famous philosopher, "Paint it Black." Or some other color.

Step 5: Put It Together

Affix your adjustable piece to the music holder. I used the small brackets and an assortment of nuts and bolts.
Place your music holder assembly onto your tripod. My plastic "hat" shape fits perfectly into the PVC pipe, but you may need additional hardware depending on your tripod's anatomy.

Step 6: Enjoy!

Congratulations, you now have a fully adjustable music stand!

Extra points for keeping a few telltale signs of your source materials: my stand still features RCA-jack holes and FCC warnings...

More Ideas:
-Add electronics for lighting (see:, by caitlinsdad or by ander), recording, or powering the ipad you're using instead of paper sheet music.
-Add magnets or clips to hold your music in place.
-Fabricate a custom case for travel, or re-purpose a pillowcase.
-Add hardware to integrate your guitar tuner, pick holder, extra reeds, or other musical accessories.
-Many commercially available "mic stand accessories" will work on a tripod.

Thanks for reading!


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