Intro: Desk Mount Monitor Stand for Under $20
So what do you do when you become overrun with projects, and your desk is overflowing with parts and pieces? Finish some of said projects, clean off your work station and get organized? Don't be absurd! You take your monitor off the desk and free up more room. While this could easily be a true description of my desk, this Instructable was more to provide a stand for a monitor that I was able to salvage, but had its stand irreparably broken in the process. The monitor I used is quite heavy, and the stand has held up quite well since I've put it into use, so I thought it was time to create my very first Instructable.
Step 1: Ingredients
The purpose of this project was to build a usable monitor mount for as little as possible, as quickly as possible (no monitor = clicking blindly on webpages... that can make for some interesting emails). That being said, I was able to construct this mount for around $15 Now I did have some of these materials already, but have provided the cost (or close to it) of the items that I had to purchase.
1. 1 1/2" PVC pipe about 4 ft. long - Left over from another project but probably around $3-5
2. Cheap 5" C-Clamp - $5
3. 4 x 6 piece of scrap wood - Left over from another project but probably most lumber yards have scraps from cuts they will just give you (You should ALWAYS plan on paying for supplies though)
4. 2" Flex Coupling - $3
5. 1 1/2" Flex Coupling - $5
6. Conduit Hanger - $0.59
7. Black Spray Paint $2
8. Machine Screws that fit the back of the monitor - Left over from another project but probably around $1
You will also need:
2. Drill Bit (about the size of your monitor screws)
3. An 8 1/2 x 11" Sheet of Paper
4. Nuts & Washers (again, for your monitor screws)
5. Screwdriver (all together now, for your monitor screws)
6. A Bolt with Washer and Nut for the Conduit Holder (the lowest profile head you can get a hold of)
Oh yes, and a flat panel monitor
Step 2: Let's Get Started
I started by spray painting my PVC pipe, as the paint will take a while to dry completely (nothing worse than paint fumes getting in the way of the smell of office electronics, right?). I didn't include any steps of this as I've been told I can't paint anything properly. So, just paint it as you normally paint your projects. When you are finished, set your PVC pipe aside to dry and get to work on your monitor. There should be 4 screws holding the monitor stand to the back of your monitor. You may have to remove a plastic panel to get to them, but manufacturers will usually make this an easily removable piece that you can access without any tools. Usually. Once you have the stand removed, lay your monitor face down and place your paper down over the holes you've just removed the screws from. Use the same screws to poke holes in your paper to mark where they go, this will be your guide when drilling. (My monitor stand had a circle indentation, as you can see in the pic. So I marked that with a marker just to make sure my scrap piece of wood would be big enough to cover it.) Lay your paper over your piece of wood and drill your holes using your paper guide. You can use the monitor screws again to hold the paper in place while you drill to ensure the spacing is not skewed.
Step 3: The Backboard
When drilling the hole for (and mounting) the conduit holder, be sure to measure so you can place it in the center point of the monitor mount holes you've just made. This is fairly important as it pretty much uses your monitors' center of gravity to level out your monitor when you get everything put together. Plus, it will be a load bearing point on your mount. Since I opted for using only one conduit holder, I mounted it pretty close to the span between the upper monitor screws. Be sure to set the bolt head toward your monitor, as the nut would probably stick out too far and possibly put pressure on the back of your monitor and probably damage it. Once you have your hole placed, bolt on the conduit holder and mount the whole thing to the back of your monitor.
Step 4: The Stand
If you started this project in the afternoon like I did, chances are you left your PVC pipe to dry overnight. If not, just wait until it dries. Slide the 1 1/2" flex coupler on one end of your pipe (make sure it is the end with a nice straight cut as it may be visible when all is said and done) and tighten only slightly as you will need to make some adjustments. Take your C-Clamp and slide it into the 2" flex coupler, then slide it onto the other side of your PVC pipe. This is the bottom so make sure the tightening rod is towards the end of the pipe, not the middle. Again, tighten the flex coupler only slightly as adjustments will be made.
Step 5: Fit Your Monitor on the Mount
Gently (watch the paint) slide the conduit holder onto the PVC pipe until it is resting on at the top of the 1 1/2" flex coupler. Make sure you can still get to the adjustment screws easily in case you have to adjust it later, then tighten them down. Leave the conduit holder loose enough to allow your monitor some movement, but not enough that it flops around wildly. Slide the 2" flex coupler up to about the mid-point of the PVC pipe and tighten. Make sure the C-Clamp cannot rotate as this is another load bearing point on your mount. This monitor happens to be a bit heavy, so after a stress test to make sure the conduit holder could hold the weight of the monitor, I took it back off before the next step.
Step 6: Mount It on Your Desk
I actually did this part with the monitor off of the stand. Slip the C-Clamp side behind your desk, and (if you don't have a wall to support the mount) get someone to help you tighten it so it is gripping the edge of your desk. If you have a nice desk (you are probably not doing this because you went out and bought a nice monitor stand...), you may want to set something underneath the pads of the C-Clamp so your desk will not have the dimples if you ever move or remove the clamp. Make sure to leave the bolts of the flex coupler accessible for future adjustments. It worked best for me to have the C-Clamp and the head of the tightening bolts on opposite sides of the PVC pipe.
Step 7: Re-Mount Your Monitor and Enjoy Your New Desktop Real Estate
Once you have the PVC pipe mounted, slide the backboard with your monitor on and have a s seat. Fire up your favorite application or Instructable, and make notes. Higher? Lower? Left or right? I was pretty close with my initial assessment and only had to adjust the 2" flex coupler to make my monitor sit a little higher. Get the position good before you put everything back on your desk. It will be easier that way, I promise.
Step 8: Final Thoughts
The original thought in using PVC was to use it as a conduit, and have the monitor cables run through the pipe. While this will probably work with VGA cables, I am using DVI and the connector was just too large to fit through into the pipe. If you decide to do this, please be aware that you will first have to run the cable up to the top of the pipe and then down and to your computer. if your cables are long enough, this will be no problem, but most cables are only about 6' and it will be difficult to get the cable to run the length you need to. All in all, I am pleased with how this turned out. As you can see, this design lends itself quite easily to adjustments. While the monitor cannot tilt (forward/back & side to side), you can adjust the height, and it can swivel left to right. You can leave the conduit holder a little loose to allow for this left to right movement, or tighten everything down to hold solid. I did have the inclination to convert this to a dual monitor stand, which you could do by simply getting a larger piece of backboard wood and mounting both monitors to it and setting the conduit holders (you would probably want 2 for stability and strength) where they meet instead of in the center of the monitor like in this example. However, I did not know if the weight would be a problem. Plus, I don't do a whole of graphical design or video editing so a dual monitor setup for me would just be eye candy. So there you have it. Desktop monitor mount for less than $20. Feel free to leave comments/improvements/criticisms and I will try to do better on my next write up. Thanks for looking.