Intro: Desktop Tablet Holder
I thought about buying a tablet stand for my Galaxy 12.2 Pro but once I saw the prices, I thought of making one myself. I got the idea of combining a simple desktop lamp with tablet clamps designed for cars in rear seats. So my first task was to find a suitable table lamp and found an architect lamp that had a stable base and a rigid frame that could do the job (Target - $30). I initially wanted to find a floor lamp that could do the job but unfortunately I could not a bigger version of the architect lamp, although I almost found one in Target but it was not in stock. This desktop lamp is quite functional in the sense that you can rotate, lift up and down to the desired height which would be a perfect companion to a tablet. But of course the challenge is how to combine this with a tablet holder.
As I was not sure what kind of clamps that could do the job, I ordered a variety from ebay approximately $7-$10 with free shipping.
The steps will take you through how to build a functional tablet stand with the various parts purchased (total $40, 3-4 hrs).
Here are the steps...
Step 1: Dismantle the Clamps That Came With the Tablet Holder
Here, I dismantled the pieces that make up this ingenious clamp that I purchased from ebay. It's actually very neat how this works and one has to use it to appreciate its mechanics. Basically, the ball-bearing type plastic piece allow the hinge that holds the tablet backend to rotate around its curvature and gives it flexibility in aligning the tablet that sits onto the frame. You tighten a screw piece from the back that locks the tablet and frame together once it has been adjusted to the desired setting.
I had the idea of how to fix this nice contraption to the desk lamp. What I needed to do was saw off the piece that screw on to this contraption. Basically, this is a bar that is used to hinge into the head rest metal poles. Since I only wanted the portion with the metal screw head I needed to chop off the excess.
Next, sawing and preparing the threaded screw head...
Step 2: Saw the Threaded Screw Head
The next step involved using my 10 inch saw and slicing through the pieces as shown for the piece that I wanted. Be careful when you do this since the plastic does not cut like wood and you can have shard pieces flying off in the air from the high speed blade. My recommendation is to use a saw like a Dremel where the cut is slow and more accurate. Unfortunately, I am the guy who needs to do things fast and so I put on my googles and made the cut as shown.
The piece that was cut comes apart into two pieces and since I wasn't sure what was inside, I discovered that it was hollow and the back piece had come off. Naturally this was not going to hold up a tablet mount or stand as it is, so I needed to make this thing stronger. I ended up putting filler into the hollow area and then super-gluing the pieces together until the filler set.
Next step - drill holes for the part that is going to fit to the lamp
Step 3: Lamp Part to Fit to the Tablet Contaption
Taking the lamp shade off was straight forward. There were two metal clamps (curved) that fits the two parts together with two screws. Once dismantled, I needed to flatten the pieces which was very easy with a set of pliers. Alternatively, you could use a small hammer to flatten the pieces, but the metal was a bit malleable for me to use the pliers without much effort.
Next step - Fit the lamp part to the contraption
Step 4: Fit the Lamp Metal Piece to the Contraption
I clamped the contraption that I had originally made earlier in order to drill two screws where the metal piece from the lamp was going to be seated, as shown. I made two small holes with a smaller drill bit then made the larger holes with the actual sized drill bit so the pieces would fit snugly.
The metal piece fortunately had the holes that were punched out creating metal edges that protruded out around the screw hole. This was going to go directly into the holes that I had made to give it a more solid seating and would provide additional strength to the part that was going to hold up the tablet frame and stand. The piece fit flush into the two holes and it was a matter of super-gluing the pieces together and leaving overnight to dry.
Next step - Screw this jig into the lamp itself
Step 5: Screw the Jig (contraption) You Made and Attach to the Lamp Part
The lamp piece had a black metal piece that was already coupled to the desk lamp frame where it was going to be mated to the contraption that I made earlier . Since it was curved just like the silver piece, all I needed to do was take some pliers and then flatten it so the two pieces will fit flush.
I screwed in the two screws and mated the two parts together. The last pic shows the tablet holder attached to the rotational piece threaded to the completed piece made earlier.
The next step was simply attaching my tablet and testing the final product.
Step 6: Final Product - Galaxy Tablet Pro 12.2 Sitting on My Customized Table Stand
Surprisingly, after sitting it on my side table and using it for a while, I knew what the fuss was with having a tablet stand, it is actually a very useful product in the sense it creates a whole aesthetic way of using a tablet. It is also not surprising that people will pay top dollars to have a stable tablet stand, hands-free next to their arm-chair.
With this first version that I have made, I found, although completely functional and usable, there can be improvements made. The important things I found are the following;
1. Stable base
As I have a huge tablet compared to the norm (12.2) inch Galaxy Note Pro, the stand even though it was heavy enough had a slightly top-heavy feel. I needed to keep the lamp arms a bit closer to the center of gravity, otherwise the thing would tip. I don't expect tablet folks with 10.1 inches or lower will have this problem.
2. Stable anchoring of the magic contraption made
Since I needed to customize the pieces to suit my needs, the length of the holder jigsaw piece was a tad too long. Although, I managed to keep my heavy galaxy tab articulated in the right direction, I don't expect tablets of smaller size ie. 10.1 inches will have this problem. In any case, a nicer design would be to directly mount the metal screw thread into the lamp piece.
3. Ball joint high
When I was using the tablet, I noticed that the position of the semi ball-joint which was high up on the tablet frame gave some slight shaky movements to the tablet especially around the bottom. This was normal and expected, due to the position of the joint which ideally should be placed central to the frame. I believe the product was designed not for tablet use but for positioning and viewing. Now, I am on the hunt for a 'central' frame with ball joint.
So there you have it!
A perfectly capable tablet stand made out of two very common parts (table lamp and rear seat tablet holder). I would love feedback from other folks who have tried this or other options and see how we can even improve on this product.