Introduction: Build an Adjustable Triple Monitor Stand
I recently received an extra monitor to supplement my existing setup (2 monitors). In order to accommodate for this, I decided to build a triple monitor stand with a couple of means of adjustment.
In order to build this wooden monitor mount you will need the following tools/materials:
Screws for monitor x6
120mm M8 bolts and nuts x4
15mm M4 bolts x10
Approx 4 metres length 2x4
Various wood screws including 75mm, 100mm
Any type of clamps x2
Hinges of any type x2 (do not have to be the exact same)
Drawer rail (if you want laterally sliding screens)
Drill press or drill with various sized drill bits
Wood drop saw, handsaw or jigsaw (any works)
3 monitors and an computer to operate them
Various considerations need to be thought of before starting this project:
The most important factors in this project are the levelness of the monitors, the alignment of the monitors and the rigidity of the frame holding the monitors. It is optimal to achieve a final project in which all the screens are exactly level with similar magnitudes of tilt. To achieve this, I went through numerous iterations of this project and fine tuning to make sure the displays were level.
My current setup is shown in the last photo and due to receiving an extra monitor, I decided to build this stand to support all 3 monitors whilst minimise the space required to accommodate them.
Let's do this.
Step 1: The Most Important Step in This Project - the Center Screen
The centre screen of this setup will be the basis for this entire project, it will be used as a base to which all the parts will be attached to.
First of all, a piece of 4x2 timber would need to be cut to the width of the monitor. It is of utmost importance that the length of the timber is exactly the width of the monitor, this will be important for alignment and ensuring consistent gaps in later steps.
Now, attach two brackets to the rear of the center screen, these will be used to mount the monitor onto the timber that you have just cut.
Place the timber underneath the brackets so that screws may be used to hold the timber in place. Now, fasten the screws into the timber, making sure it is pressed against the back of the monitor to ensure rigidity.
This step is a measure taken to ensure the rigidity of the frame as a whole. As a caution, I fasted brackets to either side of the timber (pointing up) to ensure that the hinges were mounted firmly and that no movement was permitted. In order to ensure that screws do not interfere with the fastening of the hinges in the next step, it is best to apply screws to the top of the timber first, place the hinge and then fasten screws into the bracket.
Once the brackets have been applied to either side of the timber, the hinges may now be fastened. Any kind of screw can be used, as long as it is strong enough to support the weight of the frame plus the monitors. In order for the hinges to be fastened, its holes must align with those of the brackets.
If you are lucky, your hinges may fit perfectly, however, if your hinge is unaligned, you must drill holes into the bracket so that a screw can be drilled in that place. It is key that all screw holes of the hinge is occupied to ensure the rigidity of the frame, try to use screws as long as possible. Also, the top of the hinge must be flush with the top of the wood surface and the hinges must also open towards the back of the monitor.
To make sure the hinges are flush with the side of the timber, washers can be used to easily raise the surface due to the fact that the bracket does not cover the entire side surface of the timber. Use enough washers so that the hinge is flush with the surface. Ideally, you want to use hinges that are less in height to that of the timber.
Lastly, it is absolutely key that the hinges are applied flush to all surfaces on the timber, this is a very important factor in the ultimate alignment of the entire system.
Step 2: The Side Monitors
Now it is time to attach the two pieces of timber that will be supporting the side monitors.
The length of each of these timbers is the same as that of the center one. Once these pieces are cut, it is time to mount brackets onto one (hinge) side of each timber for added rigidity. This is done by fastening the bracket with a screw on top of the timber piece, attaching the hinge and then adding the rest of the screws.
This step is very important to ensure alignment and I suggest removing the frame from the centre screen and completing this steep on a flat, level floor. You want to ensure that the TOP of the timber pieces used for the frame are absolutely flush with each other, this will ensure that the monitors are level.
As mentioned in the previous step, holes may need to be drilled in the side bracket in order to allow for a screw hole for the hinges to be attached to the side. You may also use washers in this step to make sure the hinge is flush with the side surface of the timber.
One helpful trick that helped add much rigidity was the use of flat brackets and the M4 bolts. The M4 bolt was used to fasten a flat bracket to the top hinge hole. This bracket was then bent so that it was almost flush with the surface, then a screw was drilled into the hole and into the timber to add tension to the flat bracket.
Once you have completed the side monitor support timbers, it is now time to screw brackets onto the remaining monitors, taking the same approach as in step 1.
Step 3: The Base
The frame should be the most rigid part of this project, as it is experiencing a number of forces and moments that may cause it to break if it is not strong enough.
To begin construction of the frame, you must cut two pieces of timber that are to be placed at the very edges of and perpendicular the centre monitor support timber. To ensure this part is rigid, I used two 120mm M8 bolts. The lengths of these timbers depends on the height you want for your monitor frame. I wanted to maintain the existing height of the monitors, so I measured the height of the monitor from the stock, default plastic base that was used and went by that.
To make life easy, it is best to place the centre monitor support timber under the timbers that will elevate the monitors, so that they are aligned and no mistakes are made.
One tip I can give you for installing these bolts is to drill a hole approximately the size of the head of the bolts and hammer them into the timber, this will alleviate the need for two spanners when it comes to tightening the bolts. For extra measure, I drilled a large screw into either side of this supporting timber to ensure it is stable. Once your done with fastening the bolts, it is ideal to cut them down to prevent injury or interfere with your positioning of the monitors.
Finally, you want to add a timber that can be used as a base for the frame. For this, I used a 4x2, the same width as the centre monitor timber and fastened it with 2x120mm screws on either side for stability.
To secure the base to the table, I used two clamps of different designs. This should not affect the alignment of your screens at all. This clamps must be secured to the table rigidly and timbers may be used on either side to form a base so that the clamp can be effective in supporting the frame. It is key that this step is done without the monitors on the frame and it is best to used two people.
It is best to use a c clamp as it will allow for a solid base.
Step 4: Extras, Incl. Sliding Rails
There are numerous additions that may be made to this monitor frame. One addition I made was the addition of a heavy duty drawer rail slide that I lad lying around. Adding this to the frame would allow me to extend one monitor out if necessary. The addition was simple, the steps are as follows:
First of all, you must use a sliding rail that is about the same width as the brackets that are mounted on the monitor, this is to ensure that they can be bolted down to avoid excess movement. Also, you must ensure that the rail can sustain the weight of the monitor over a long period without failure, thus why I chose a slider with ball bearings.
After you have selected your slider, it is time to mount it to the frame. In order to accomplish this, I placed the linear slider on top of the side monitor wood and used small screws with flush heads to secure it. It is important that the default, closed position of the slider is in the center, where the monitor would belong had there not been a slider. However, to avoid the predicament of placing the bolts to which the monitor will be mounted to on the slider rail, it is helpful to place them into the slider prior to installing it onto the frame.
Once this is done, the monitor may be placed over the rail and the holes of the bracket on the monitor aligned with the bolts. (I used small, 2cm M4 bolts here with washers and an extra bolt for fine tuning and adjustment).
Step 5: Placing Monitors and Fine Tuning of Alignment
Now it's time to return the monitors onto your newly built frame. Ensure that all the brackets mounted on the monitor are rigid, place the brackets onto the frame and fasten them will small screws. If you have built a frame that is very stable, you should have 3 monitors that are aligned and have a consistent tilt. However, in some cases, the weight of the monitor would cause the frame to sag, resulting in misalignment.
To counter this misalignment, I used additional screws on the hinges to improve stability and washers in order to tilt the monitors so that they were aligned.
Once the monitors were placed, I found that there was no access for the input cables to be plugged into the monitor that was mounted onto the drawer slider. Thus, in order to allow access for the cables to be plugged, I had to trim a small section of the frame as shown in the pictures.
Step 6: Improvements and Conclusion
Conclusively, I would not recommend building this frame if you are uninterested in long DIY projects. It took me over 3 hours of construction and fine tuning in order achieve a desired monitor alignment. It is not much more expensive to buy a monitor frame that is ready to be used upon unboxing.
However, if you enjoy DIY and have three monitors sitting around, this is a great weekend project that requires minimal materials and tools. However, upon reflection, I noticed that there are multiple improvements that can be made to this design.
Firstly, the use of stronger and larger hinges would have provided significantly more stability to the frame.
Second, the purchase of an extra drawer rail for the 2nd side monitor would have added an extra feature to the overall design and improved functionality.
Thirdly, the use of stronger screws with the rigid hinges would have added stability to the frame.
Fourthly, the use of other materials such as metal, in particular solid metal angles would have been a more effective choice provided that metal fabrication tools such as welding equipment and grinders were available.
Thank you for taking your time to read my instructable!
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