Sewer Pipe Ipad Tripod Mount




Newer iPads actually have some decent cameras but tripod mounts are a little bit tough to come by.  I'm a school teacher and our video club recently started working on some stop motion projects.  The iPad mini is actually pretty handy for simple stop motion and there are some decent apps out there for it but a tripod is necessary to do any kind of accurate stop motion.  The first little gem that I stumbled upon was a youtube video of this process made by You2CanDIY.  I credit the creator of this mount entirely and thought I would simply add a few more tips and resources in case anyone else wants to try their hand at this process.

Step 1: Getting Some PVC to Work With.

You'll need to go to a hardware store and get some 4" PVC pipe.  I got mine at home depot and it was labeled as sewer pipe.  This pipe is not the regular schedule 40 pipe and is much thinner.  This is important for working with it.  The pipe came in an 8ft length and cost about $12.  For the ipad mini, only 10" of pipe is needed per mount so if you only want to make one, it might be worth finding somewhere that sells this pipe by the foot.

Step 2: Heat Up the Pipe

You need to get the pvc warm in order to flatten it out.  Cut down one side of your pipe section and then heat it up until it lays flat.  Afterwards, sandwich the hot pvc between two flat surfaces until it cools off.  It should turn out nice and flat.  In this video you will notice that I used a heating element out of an old electric rotisserie along with a heat gun.  An oven would work great too but I don't think I would use the same oven that I use for food.

Step 3: Stencil Out Your Mount Design and Cut It Out

Here is the design I created for an iPad mini.    Make sure that there is no page scaling applied if you print and use this for an iPad mini.  I used a scroll saw to cut it out which made it pretty easy to do.  You could probably get by using a jigsaw, or a hacksaw if you go slowly.  Note that you must add some tabs on top and bottom that later hold the t-nut where it attaches to the tripod.

In the third picture, you can see a hole that was drilled for the camera.  I made 4 of these, on 2 of them I drilled the hole after I was finished.  The other two I drilled the hole before bending.  Of the two methods I would probably lean towards waiting until the whole thing is formed and then drill the hole for the camera.  If your forming doesn't work out exactly how you planned, your camera hole might be off.

While it is still flat, do all of your sanding.  I used an 80 grit at first to remove all the ink that was printed on the outside and the wavy surface of the inside sands down as well.  Next, I used a 220 grit to make it nice and smooth.

Step 4: Bend It Up

Since I was making 4 of them, I decided to cut out a template that was the same size of my ipad.  I made it slightly thicker, maybe 1/16 to 1/32 of an inch thicker in order to add some padding later on.  Hopefully the pictures do a good enough job of explaining but work first on the sides and bend them flat.  Then bend up the bottom piece.  Finally, bend the tabs back and form the mounting arm.

Step 5: Add a T-nut

This last part is more of an art than a science.  Bend the tabs back and form a shape that will easily mount to a tripod.  You'll want it to stick out past the back of the iPad and be has close to a 90 degree angle as possible.  Use a 1/4-20 t-nut, I heated it up with the heat gun for a minute or so and then pressed it into a hole that I had drilled through the PVC of mounting arm.  I also used a small dab of PVC cement to stick the two tabs of the arm together but it isn't necessarily needed.

Step 6: Add Some Padding and You're Done

I used peel and stick craft foam that I got from Walmart for about $3.  It came in a pack with 5 9x11 sheets in various colors.  I started with boring squares of it but then decided to get more creative.  As you can see in the blurry video, it does a decent job of grabbing and not letting it slide out.  Please disregard the screaming at the end of the video.



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    6 Discussions


    4 years ago on Introduction

    Any worries with heating PVC or are the problems only when you burn it? also what did you use to cut it?


    5 years ago

    I love it but if you didn't want to flatten the PVC you could use a cheep acrylic sheet

    1 reply

    I actually had that same thought before I went out and bought some PVC since I already had some acrylic on hand. I came to the conclusion that acryllic would be a lot harder to work with. PVC cuts and drills almost like wood without any cracking ever. Also, my experience with acrylic and bending it is that you only really have 1 chance to get your bend right and it stretches and deforms. As I was figuring out the PVC on the first couple of mounts, I must have reheated and rebent 4 or 5 times. Each time it would heat and go back flat. Now if someone wants to try acrylic, it would look awesome in the end. Maybe the difference is that i have never worked that much with thicker acrylic since it is kind of expensive.


    5 years ago

    that is sooo cool