Introduction: SatNav Bean Bag Dashboard Mount for Free

So... my SatNav is a rather venerable TomTom One.  I've had it so long because it "does the job it says on the tin".  It must have paid for itself many times over in petrol savings.  The one thing I do not like about it however is the terrible window suction cup, which, no matter how much spittle and slobber one applies, likes to celebrate life by dropping off on unfamilar five lane, close your eyes and pray, roundabouts.

I bought a bracket on ebay which clips into car vent slots - fits most types of car it said - but not my car, a clapped out Vaxhaul Astra.  So then I discovered that they do "Bean Bag Dashboard Mounts".  It's a bean bag, with a bit of plastic attached, and they want... 25 quid for it.  HOW MUCH?  I'm not paying that!  (Well belatedly I discover that there are unbranded copies available for half that.  Too late now..)

So I made one for free.  Yes, genuinely, all parts and materials were things I had around the house.

I used:  The original suction cup and connector, an old Wallace and Gromit sock (any old sock would have done, but Wallace and Gromit seemed appropriate for an Instructable); duct tape (some chaps who did a fencing job for me left it behind, they charged me a king's ransom, so I did not feel too guilty about the gain); a piece of hardboard (the white kite shape on it in the image is the legacy of a previous use, and before that it was probably a picture frame backing); wood glue (strong PVA); a piece of non-slip matting (it was left over from a length I bought to sit under a scroll saw); a handful of gravel (from the greenhouse for top dressing potted plants); a piece of plastic coated garden wire.

Step 1:

I started by making a base.  It had to be as large as possible for stability, but then no bigger than what would fit on the dashboard of my car, which though level, has dipped pockets in it, and no bigger than what would fit into a sock - and it was a really old thin threadbare sock.  I tried a drinks coaster intitially, but it looked like it was going to rip the sock, so I cut a piece of thin hardboard to a slightly smaller square.  I popped off the corners to get it into the sock without snagging.

Step 2:

The suction pad was stuck down to the base with duct tape.  I could have glued it, I could have used a lot more duct tape, but I wanted the job to be resversible in case I ever wanted to use my SatNav in a car without a flat dashboard.  So the construction is reasonably easy to undo and rebuild.

Step 3:

The base board had just a little glue on its underside and is pushed down to the toe of the sock.  It's just a little glue, so that I can get it in carefully without glue ending up in the wrong parts of the inside of the sock.

Step 4:

Here's the rubbery mat, and some gravel.   The piece of mat gets cut down to fit.  I consider using a rubbery contact adhesive to glue the mat to the sock (and through it to the board).  It would have the advantage of being more flexible when dry.but the disadvantage of decaying after a year or two, so I stick with the wood glue.  (Glorious pun!)  I try to let it soak through the sock but not get too much on the under side of the rubber mat - the more flexible if remains, the more it will grip.

Step 5:

When the glue's dry, I ram in lots of gravel.  The SatNav is in place on its arm so that I can check that the bulk of the gravel is not going to obstruct it from being slid onto and off of its stand.

Step 6:

'Ere's a bit o' wire to do up the neck.  A bit of ribbon or string would have done just as well.

Step 7:

And there it is finished.  Now from the side, it's true that it's not a "thing of beauty and a joy forever" but then neither is my car (from any angle).  I think it does look fairly smart from the front, but that's pure serendipity.

Looks like it's going to do it's job. 

I hope this Instructible inspires your thoughts.