Introduction: IMacPad

About: I am a British Graphic Designer and Photographer, when I am not working, I spend my time making an array of projects. I used to make a lot of props, but now I spend most my time building crazy cameras and shoo…
So, I recently made the choice of buying an iPad. So far it has been great, but I needed somewhere to dock and use the iPad when it was not in use. Or to allow me to have a desktop experience with the iPad.

A few examples include:
  • Using the iPad as a separate instant messaging portal (with the bluetooth keyboard
  • Setting up the iPad for visitors to browse the internet
  • Using the iPad as a digital picture frame
  • Raising the iPad to a better height to use it as an extra screen for my iMac
  • Give my desk extra room under the iPad to keep other accessories
  • Just to look wicked cool
So, here is how I made a simple iPad stand, for a reasonable amount of money.

I understand that the iPad can easily be a controversial subject, and many flame wars can easily spark from the idea of putting the iPad in an iMac like stand, however I kindly ask that you hold back on flamey comments, and save them for the forums.

Step 1: Materials and Tools

  • An iMac aluminium stand - Due to the large number of iMac models with this stand, these are fairly easy to pick up on ebay, expect to pay between £10-£20
  • ~3mm Styrene sheets
  • Leather
  • Epoxy Resin
  • Hot glue gun
  • Metallic paint (optional)
  • Metallic Tape (optional)
  • Stanley Knife, Boxcutter
  • G clamp
  • Hot air gun
  • Hot glue gun
  • Coping Saw
  • Sander or sandpaper
  • Drill (hand or electric will work
  • Metal Rule
  • Pencil/Pen
  • Brush for paint (optional) 

Step 2: Mould a Holder.

I used styrene sheet to make a 'plate' to hold the iPad.

When choosing what size to make the plate, remember you may wish to use it both portrait and landscape. I decided on a size of 150mm wide by 190mm tall. The extra height on the unit was to allow me to position the iMac stand higher up on the back, which in turn places the bottom of the iPad lower. Just play around till you get what looks right.

Styrene is easiest cut with a knife, run a score across the board a few times, then you can easily 'break' along that line.

I cut out two sections to give me the extra depth to glue it to the stand.
Ensure that you leave one piece long. We are going to bend this, then cut it down after.
  1. Take a G clamp and a metal strip of some sort, a metal rule, or piece of scrap will work.
  2. Clamp the metal strip where the final cut would have been made
  3. Slowly heat the styrene with a hot air gun, use a lower temperature, and flex the styrene a little till it feels like it will bend.
  4. If the styrene feels floppy, you have gone too far, you want it to be just malleable, any more and the styrene will go slightly brown. (if you do end up with some browning, you can sand it off later)
  5. Bend the styrene over until you get a nice 45 degreeish angle. It doesn't have to be precise.
  6. Place your iPad into the cradle, and measure how much of lip you want, then cut off the excess.
Once you have done the moulded section, glue this to the second piece for depth, I used epoxy resin, by glue gun glue will work also.

Step 3: Attaching the Plate to the Stand

Next we need to attach the plate to the stand. Try and pick up one of the stands with the bracket attached. If not, the stand will still have holes, which you could run bolts through to use as a base to glue them together.
  1. Lay down the stand, and play around till you get a good height
  2. Next, use a ruler and redraw the top line, this way you can get it nice and level.
  3. Roughly trace around your bracket, make sure to leave a little room.
  4. Once you have the area traced you need to cut out, we then need to drill out keypoints to allow us to cut it out easily.
  5. Once you have your key points, undo your coping saw and thread it through one of the holes, then cut along your lines.
Once its cut out we can quickly sand of the edges to take of excess burr. Do not sand the edges flat, the roughness will give us a better grip with the glue.

Step 4: Glueing the Plate to the Stand.

You should have a nice styrene plate, with a hole to fit around your iMac stand.
Place the styrene over the stand, mine was a nice fit, so I was able to position the stand just right before gluing. On the front I decided to glue on a nice section of leather to prevent the stand from scratching the back of the iPad.

I use hot glue a lot on this project, I knew it was the safest glue for using with gadgets, super glue can leave fume marks, and epoxy resin can leave residue.
  1. Once you have the stand wedged how you want it, cover up the back and gaps with masking tape, this will stop the glue escaping out the back
  2. Using a glue gun you can inject the hot glue into and around the metal stand, fill up the gaps and get a good seal, quickly while the hot glue is till hot place the leather on the front.
  3. Once set, I then ran more hot glue around the edge of the leather.
  4. You can peal off the masking tape a little, and fill in any gaps from the other side also, recover with masking tape to shape the hot glue.

Step 5: Refit the Base. (optional, But Recommended)

This step is mainly optional, but I felt I wanted to redo the stand, as it felt a bit scratchy when sliding it around. The leather also gives it alot more grip, which considering the lighter nature of the iPad makes it a lot easier to use in the stand.
  1. Firstly remove the existing plastic foot, it is held one with a few sections of tape, a thing knife under the edge will let you remove it.
  2. Place the removed plastic onto a section of fairly thick leather (about 4mm), using a knife carefully trace around the plastic, try to keep one hand on the plastic at all time, so it does not move.
  3. Once you have the leather section use 5 dabs of hot glue gun in the same places the original tape was. Be quick, as the metal cools the glue very quickly!
For this step you could use four small sections of scrap leather, opposed to the full horse shoe shape.

Step 6: Final Additions.

These are the final additions I did to the stand, some are needed, but most of them are optional.
  • I added a small metal lip on the bottom centre, this stops the bottom of the iPad slipping off the front, its worth doing, it may not look as nice, but it sure does give the iPad a firmer holding.
  • Small leather strips on the stands lip helps to hold the iPad, the styrene lip will not mark the iPad, but the styrene as little grip.
  • I added another whole section of dark leather on the back, This neatens up the rear, not needed if you have no worries about seeing the back.
  • Painting the edge of the styrene frame with a silver metallic paint helps it to tie in with the aluminium stand. You could edge it with leather again.
  • On the gap at the front I added some aluminium foil. 

Step 7: Finished!

Hopefully by now you will had an iPad stand very similar to mine, or you own complete version. Either way I can not wait to see any versions you make. I will send anyone a patch who remakes this instructable, either for their iPad, or any other device.

Here are the final shots, plus a bonus shot of the iMacPad next to my iMac, and my vintage mac mod.

Thanks for reading, feedback is also more than welcome!