Initially i wanted to try design a portable stand for my iPad, that would take up no more room than the ipad itself, and that would hold the device at the right angle for using on my desktop at work. I don't want an all enclosing case, just a stand, but one that was a little more curvacious than the normal off the shelf products.
As i make leather goods for a hobby, I wanted to see if this could also be made from leather. I have been trying to think of a way to use Sugru and leather to make an iPad stand for a while….when the Sugru Magnet kit came out, the idea just clicked (sorry about the pun!).
Step 1: Marking the Leather
So using the dimension of the iPad as a starting point, i played around with a few designs, and then made a paper mockup to check it looked right.
Then a card template was made and used to mark up the leather for cutting.
A sharp scratch awl is used to score the cut lines.
Two matching pieces of leather were cut and holes were cut into one side of leather to allow the magnets to sit into the leather when they were glued together.
To increase the rigidity, I used 1mm styrene sheet sandwiched between the layers of leather where needed, cut to be 5mm less than the stands dimension. This allowed for glueing and then stitching, but meant i did not need to stitch through the styrene.
Step 3: Stitch & Burnish
Once all edges were stitched, i sanded down the edge of the leather, then used a wooden burnisher to polish up the edges.
I forgot to take a photo of the leather once it was burnished - although i can just about be seen on the second image here!
Step 4: Magnet Madness!
I bought a Sugru Magnet Kit the minute i saw they were about to be released, as it looked such a great addition to their product range....and it really is!
I used Sugru to fix the magnets, following their instructions by pushing a small amount into the grain of the leather before working on the main blob/magnet, also making sure the polarity was correct - not much point having the magnets repelling each other!
at this point its worth noting one caveat:-
I completely forgot in my eagerness to get started….DO NOT USE MAGNETS near computer hardware! I originally intended to carry the stand in my laptop bag alongside the iPad and laptop…luckily i remembered not to do that, as the strong Neodymium magnets would cause untold damage to my harddrive!
Step 5: Whoops!
I made the mistake of trying to test the stand before the Sugru had fully cured. This meant one magnet was not attached correctly, so i removed it with a knife and reset he magnet using a white sugru instead. No reason for the white, other than i had some nearing the end of its shelf life that i wanted to use up first!
Having never used Sugru on leather before I was really surprised just how well bonds to the leather!
Step 6: Dye Hard !!
The final task was to apply a coat of Fiebings Spirit dye to give the veg-tanned leather the nice British Tan colour that imparts such a look of classiness!
Once dried, its buffed up with a cloth and is ready for use. The design works in such a way that when the two magnets are together, the leather forms gentle flowing curves rather than hard rigid lines.
Step 7: Stand by Your Pad.
The stand can hold the iPad in either Portait or Landscape format, and the angle is perfect for me sat at my desk!
For a prototype, i'm really pleased with the end result. I might even be cheesy and call it 'The Air Curve"!
The final image shows how the stand folds flat to almost the same size as the iPad itself.
There are a few changes I would make if making another :-
the lip holding the ipad could do with being a few millimeters deeper. Its fine for me, but probably not robust enough on a older (and thicker) iPad.
The dye would be better applied before glueing.
I might even consider using press studs instead of the magnets - just to make it less likely to cause problems when transporting it with other magnetically sensitive technology.