Like most of you, I like to tinker around and improve things. Instructables has been a great resource to me in my endeavors. Many times I will be working on a project and following along with an instructable. While this is a good idea, it also presents a risk to the tablet with possible spills or an errant tool motion. So I decided to write my first Instructable and share how I made a tablet holder with PVC. I chose PVC because it is easy, cheap (about $6) and I liked the idea of solving the puzzle.
Step 1: Materials Needed
For this project you will need the following materials:
Two 1/2" PVC Snap-on Saddle Tees (or regular Tees) for the brackets.
One more PVC 1/2" Tee for the pivot arm
One PVC 1/2" 90-degree elbow
One 1/2" PVC Pipe Section about 8" long. Or a longer piece if you have a bigger size tablet.
One 1/2" PVC Pipe Section about 1" long.
Two 1/2" PVC Pipe Sections about 3" long.
Four 3/8" long small bolt/nut assemblies with a flat head.
Four 1/2" Wood Screws.
The Tools I used were:
PVC Cutter (Optional)
Dremel (Optional) or Hacksaw
3/8" Drill Bit
1 1/8" Paddle Bit (Optional)
Heat Gun and Gloves
File and/or Sandpaper
Straight edge, pencil ... this and that.
Step 2: Step 2: Making the Brackets
Take the two Saddle Snap-on PVC pieces. (If you don't have those and want to use the regular Tee fittings then you'll have to cut them. Use a saw or the Dremel to slice the tees down the middle lengthwise on the top part of the tee. This way they will have an opening, like the Saddle piece.)
Using the heat gun, gloves and respirator in a well-ventilated area. Heat the top part of one of the Saddle pieces until is pliable. Once its soft enough open up the two sides and push them down against a concrete floor or hard flat surface. It's a good idea to put a scrap piece of 1/2" PVC pipe into the end of the tee fitting while you're heating and shaping it. The scrap piece will keep your hand away from the heat. And it will help to maintain the shape to ensure that you have a good fit. If it does get deformed, just re-heat that area and put a piece of 1/2" PVC back into it. When it has been formed back to its correct shape run it under cold water to lock it in. I used two scrap pieces of wood with a hole drilled on one them. It was the right size for a 1/2" PVC fitting, a 1 1/8" paddle bit did the trick. This way I can make a really flat brace easily.
Once the braces are flattened they may come out a bit distorted. I knew that this would forever bug me so squared them off with the Dremel, file, and sandpaper.
Repeat this step for the second brace. One brace is for the tablet clamp and the other is for the wall mount.
Step 3: Step 3: Drill Holes
The next step is to drill four holes in each brace. The placement is not that crucial but neatness counts for something. The holes should be appropriate for the screws and bolts to go through.
Step 4: Step 4 Making the Tablet Clamp
Now you'll need to cut the 8" PVC pipe lengthwise but not in half. Get your heat gun and safety equipment and soften it up until you can open the pipe up. Once its really soft and you're able to flatten it out all the way, put it between two boards. Stand on it or clamp it until it cools. Straighten out the edges by drawing a line with a straightedge and using a saw or the Dremel with a cutting wheel.
Reheat one end of the flat stock until it is soft and wrap it around something the same thickness of your tablet. I did not want to put that much heat directly on my tablet. So I used my digital caliper case since that was pretty close. You can use a scrap piece of wood or an old book. Once you have it fitting pretty good put your tablet into the lower end of the bracket and mark where the top of the tablet is on the bracket. Heat it up and fold it over. You should have a lot more material on this side. While the PVC is still soft, fold the extra material up to create a gripping point for your clamp. Check the fit and make tweaks as needed. The extra material will allow me to resize it down the road should I upgrade to a wider tablet. I also cut off the corners and rounded them off using a file and some sandpaper to remove the sharp edges.
Take one of the braces that you made in the previous step and mark the hole locations on your new clamp. Drill the holes and countersink the side that will be in contact with the back of your tablet for a flat fit.
Step 5: Step 5: Making the Swing Arm Pivot
Okay, time to grab your Dremel and safety equipment and cut the ends off of the third PVC Tee fitting. Again, perfection is not needed but neatness counts. Using your drum sander attachment on your Dremel (or wrap some sandpaper on a wooden dowel), slightly enlarge the inside of the fitting. This part of the fitting is smaller and is the reason why the PVC pipes lock into them. We don't want them locking in for our pivot point, so you need to enlarge it a bit. Just keep checking the fit until it moves freely. Clean up the edges with a file and sandpaper and now you're ready for assembly.
Using the PVC cement, glue the pivot you just made onto the wall brace with a short length of PVC pipe. You can now mount the pivot on the wall with the wood screws. I actually chose not to glue the modified fitting to the short PVC pipe. I forced it in so that its snug but I'm still able to tilt it if I need to. Try to avoid getting any cement on the inside of the pivot point. If you do, just work the sandpaper or Dremel in it again until it's smooth.
Step 6: Step 6: Clamp Assembly
Glue the 90-degree fitting into the second brace with a short piece of PVC on one end. Cement another short piece of PVC on the other side of the fitting too. This short piece should be at least as long as the wall pivot is wide. Using the flat top bolts, assemble the clamp to the flat brace.
Test fit the unit to make sure that it is secure, adjust as needed. To adjust it, reheat the section that you need, bend it a bit and then hold it under cold water. You can use the this as a tablet stand as it is if you want. If you place the brace a little higher it will be reclined a bit more. For my needs, this angle works well.
Step 7: Step 7: Final Assembly
All that is left to do is to place your clamp on the mounted pivot brace and swing it around to adjust your viewing angle. If you need move from your workbench to a table you can just slip it off the pivot and take it with you. I even made another pivot point and mounted near the sink so that I could continue my videos while I was washing something out. For this design, I flatten out the end of the PVC pipe and mounted it to the wall using one of the screws that holds the paper towel dispenser up.
This tablet holder has worked out really well for me and I wanted to share it with the community here. I have learned so much from the rest of you already. I hope that this will help others out too, give me a vote if it helped you. And please let me know if I should clarify any details.
Runner Up in the
PVC Contest 2017