Intro: PVC IPad Holder and Mount for Tent Camping
My wife and I recently went on a camping trip to the beach and I posted an instructable on how to ruggedize and bug-proof a small air conditioner here. I knew we would be taking our iPad with us to check email and watch movies but I didn't want to have to hold or prop the iPad up the entire time not to mention I didn't want it lying in the bottom of the tent getting sand all over it so I decided to make a cheap, adjustable mount that would be sturdy enough to support the iPad but also easily transported. The best bang for your buck when it comes to piecing together a relatively sturdy structure for practically nothing is PVC of course. PVC pipe and connectors are basically tinkertoys for big kids!
The pictures pretty much tell the tale. I wanted a leg on either side to support a long piece of PVC pipe going across the width of the tent with the iPad holder in the middle. I used 3/4" PVC pipe. This is a pup tent so I wanted it just high enough so that it was out of the way but also so that I could just raise my arms to reach the iPad controls and to adjust the tilt angle. I used PVC cement on only a few of the fittings; mainly just so I could see what piece went where when we arrived at the campsite.
Here is the iPad holder portion of the mount. I wanted to cut a slot into the pipes at first but that proved to be too difficult and unnecessary. It was much easier to just draw a straight line on either side of the PVC and then run it along a bench grinder until the wheel reached the line. Make sure you wear long sleeves, a mask and eye protection when grinding PVC because that white PVC dust coming off the grinder goes everywhere and is probably not good for your lungs.
At first I was going to use a T-connector to attach the iPad holder portion to the cross mount but then decided that since I was going to have power at the campsite that I would just use a 4-way connector and fish the iPad charging cable through the mount itself. I used a USB extension cable to extend the charging cable all the way to the AC adapter. I decided that the iPad's built-in speaker probably wasn't going to be heard very well over the sound of the air conditioner so I also ran a headphone extension cable to some little amplified iPod speakers I brought along to also use on the beach. The portable amplified speakers are iMainGo 2's and I highly recommend them. That's them pictured on the left (the black one) hanging from our beach umbrella using a little keychain carabiner. They have a very rich, full sound that sounds better than any small stereo I ever heard and you can zip up your iPhone, iPod or MP3 player inside to protect it while playing music.
One last minute modification I did was to add a little cross support across the back to keep the sloping back of the tent off our heads while we were propped up on the pillows watching a movie.
The whole thing breaks down very easily and fits nicely in a nylon camping chair bag.
Here we were one night watching an episode of "House". Thanks for looking!