Intro: Rotating Monitor Stand Conversion
Years ago, there was a video card for PCs which was designed to work with a dedicated monitor which had a swivel on the back (not the one I had in mind but an example). The card sensed when the monitor had been turned vertically and changed the display to suit. The point of this was to display a whole page A4 (Letter for our friends in the States!) at one time making it easier to correct page layout or whatever.
This has always stuck in my mind until one day I discovered (by accident!) a shortcut on Windoze which turns the display which ever way you want (Test it on your own computer before you set about making this monitor stand or you'll be angry with me!). The shortcut is: CTRL-ALT (arrow keys) - in other words, to turn the display to the right, press CTRL-ALT and the right arrow at the same time. To return to normal, press CTRL-ALT up arrow. This may change depending on whether NumLock is on or off, and different graphics cards might not support this shortcut).
OK, here we go, let's see if I can explain what I did! Comments and suggestions welcome :-)
Step 1: First Check Compatibility of Your Monitor...
We don't want to destroy your monitor stand only to find you can't finish the project. So first we must check if our monitor is suitable:
Have a look at the back of the monitor. If you see four screw holes in a square pattern then your monitor has a VESA mounting pattern and can be converted. It may be possible to convert other monitors but you'll have to find some way to fix a flat panel onto the back of the monitor, maybe using double-sided foam tape, but I can't guarantee it will support the weight...
Step 2: Gathering Materials...
Most of the parts I used came from the scrap box, so I can't advise where you can get them. The only part I actually bought was the caster wheel, they should be available in most hardware stores.
List of Materials:
Support column: 30 x 40 Aluminium - length to suit monitor size (see Step 5 for details)
Base "insert" - a piece of Aluminium which fitted nicely into a cutout in the base of my monitor stand. You could use a flat piece of whatever takes your fancy. It has to be fixed to the column at 90 degrees.
"U" piece - to fix the base and column together - this was from cable supports used on GSM antenna masts but could be found elsewhere. Alternatively those brackets sold in hardware stores might do.
Screws - M8 x 10mm 3-off countersunk to fix base to column; M4 x 10mm 4-off to fix plate to monitor;
suggest M5 x 10mm 4-off countersunk to fix place to caster wheel plate - whatever is suitable but must be countersunk.
Flat plate to adapt caster to monitor - I used laminated plastic-aluminium sheet but anything sturdy would be suitable, even plywood!
Catch to lock the monitor in position - I haven't done this yet so can't suggest anything!
Step 3: Measure Once, Cut Twice...
OK I know the correct form of the phrase is "Measure twice, cut once",but it's more striking like that!
First we need to determine the column height. Lay your monitor face down and measure from the center to the furthest corner. Add 1cm (1/2 inch!) for clearance and a bit more according to the thickness of your baseplate. We also need to add half the width of the caster baseplate as well. All in all more hit 'n' miss than engineering but I'm sure you understand...
I also measured the monitor baseplate to decide the dimension of the support. Note that my baseplate has an area which screams "cut me out!" running down the middle but different makes will be different (This was an LG W1941S monitor).
Step 4: Attack the Baseplate...
Here I'm describing what I did, but your baseplate and materials will determine how you carry out this step. What we are aiming to do is make something that will support the column vertically and give the monitor stability. We must also be careful to maintain the original balance of the monitor otherwise it'll fall forwards and spill coffee all over the desk - You Have Been Warned!
First thing is to remove the original monitor support column. My baseplate had a quarter-turn latch which was fixing the column in place. Remove and discard the old column!
What I did was empty out the space in the baseplate where my aluminium support plate would fit in. This was done with a metal cut-off wheel in a hand grinder and cutting the ribs with a sharp knife (a Dremel would do a neater job - anyone who feels like giving me one please see my Amazon Wish List!)
After a bit of fiddling I'd managed to clear the recess and could start on the top surface - my column support was a bit too big to fit through the hole so I needed to enlarge the hole - be careful to enlarge backwards so that the finished job is neater and the monitor's balance isn't affected (too much!).
Step 5: Prepare the Column...
Again, this step will depend on your materials.
First you must dismantle the caster as we will have to measure, mark and drill the column to fix it. Save the wheel and cupped plates for a future project! The height of the column and location of the caster-frame will all depend on your monitor's diagonal measurement.
At this step I made a minor mistake; one which I regretted later on. In order for the monitor to be at the right angle for comfortable viewing, you'll have to mount the caster-frame so that the plate is facing slightly upwards. Mine was vertical and slack in the bearings allowed it to slouch down, making the monitor face downwards. I managed to slightly improve the situation by fitting spacers between the caster and adapter plate, but that's not a good solution.
If you're a good engineer/machinist you could arrange the column to slope backwards by 10 or so degrees - this would improve the balance and angle of the monitor screen. Again, it's a matter of preference.
I saved the center spindle from the wheel, and shortened it slightly by grinding to fit into the column. This prevents the column from being squashed when you tighten the fixing screw. Mark and drill the column from each side in turn rather than trying to drill from one side - you want the holes to line up perfectly. Don't fix the caster plate to the column yet, we'll do that later.
The bottom bracket fitted loosely inside the column so I spaced it with washers while inserting the screws. Mark the location and drill the holes to ensure that the bracket was 1-2mm (3/64 inch) inside the base of the column; this would allow the bottom screw to take up any slack when it was tightened. The holes in the column should be countersunk carefully as the material is thin.
Step 6: Fix Column to Base...
After preparing the baseplate to hold the support piece, we need to mark the location of the column and drill a suitable hole. As the bracket I used had a hole in the center it was just a matter of marking the column's corners and scribing a line to find the center. Again this will change depending on what sort of bracket you use.
At this stage I haven't fixed the support piece to the baseplate as I didn't have a suitable screw. It could be fixed with "no more nails" or something similar but I wanted it removable so I bought a black, round-head screw which won't look too ugly on top of the baseplate. Also the gaping hole around the column could be filled with something black but lazy me just left it open for now; potting compound or some kind of two-part epoxy might be suitable.
Step 7: Prepare the Adaptor Plate...
As I'd forgotten to note my monitor's hole spacing (it was in the office), I had to guess which VESA spacing to use. I decided to "play it safe" and prepared my adaptor plate to suit both VESA 75 and VESA 100 mounts (what? in short, the holes on a "VESA 75" are 75mm [2.95"] apart).
My scrap of material was an aluminium-plastic sandwich as used for cladding buildings and signs. Anything sturdy can be used. I was pleased to find that my material had a black surface so I prepared the plate so that this would face outwards and look better in the finished project. I didn't bother to paint the edges but they would look better with a quick spray of black paint.
Decide the overall size of plate required according to your monitor's hole spacing: VESA 75 would require an overall plate size of 100mm (3.93") square, VESA 100 would require a plate 115mm (4.53") square. Make the plate to suit your monitor's hole spacing.
Be careful marking and drilling as a small mis-alignment would make it difficult to insert the M4 screws which hold the monitor in place.
The holes for the caster plate were marked and drilled 45 deg. offset from the monitor mounting holes to prevent them being too close to each other.
The holes for the caster plate need to be countersunk (carefully!) to allow the plate to sit flat against the monitor. As my M4 screws were countersink-headed I countersunk them from the OPPOSITE side of the plate. Cheese-head screws wouldn't need countersinking.
Fix the adaptor plate to the caster plate and tighten the screws.
Step 8: Time to Tidy Up the Monitor!
I wanted to get rid of the little "tail" that was left sticking out of the monitor. This looked easy but it was a pain!
There are no fixing screws visible on the back of the monitor, and the "tail" was not budging when I tried to pull it off. Only solution, attack it from inside the monitor!
Thanks to John for publishing this video showing us how to get inside an LG monitor. Of course yours might not be the same.
Once inside, it was easy to remove the four screws holding the "tail" in place. Save the screws for future projects, recycle the tail! Reassemble the monitor and test that it's still working before proceeding!
Step 9: Fix the Monitor to It's New Stand, Test, Finished!
As I'd made the adaptor plate "too big" for my monitor, it stuck out above the profile on the monitor. This doesn't really matter as it's behind the monitor, and will allow me to upgrade my monitor if I ever feel the need!
Screw the plate onto the monitor, just hand-tighten the screws, as there is a risk of stripping out the threads if you over tighten.
Check that the monitor can turn and doesn't hit the baseplate; I could have left more clearance but thankfully, it doesn't scrape on the way around! This was more luck then planning...
As I haven't made anything to keep the monitor vertical, I support it with my desk alarm clock. Anything suitable will do it, or you could make some kind of catch to hold it in position - that's up to you! The monitor stays horizontal fairly well so it doesn't really need anything else.
Step 10: Last-minute Adjustments...
As I'd not thought about it beforehand, the monitor was drooping forwards after I'd mounted it on the new stand. This made it uncomfortable to use and made it look strange.
Adding some spacers to the lower-most caster-plate mounting screw and less spacers (!!) to the middle screws improved the monitor's position, but it was not perfect. This needs to be thought about in the early stages; maybe I could have mounted the caster to the column so it faces upwards in the first place, or mounted the column sloping backwards slightly. Planning is better than trial and error!
I hope that this Instructable has given you enough ideas to convert your own monitor. Please share your ideas and results if you decide to do the same!
Best wishes from me, see you on my next project!