I never stop reading its probably the best way to learn something new. Though for years I've had one chronic problem that bothers me when holding a book and now a reader, it's the arm fatigue from trying to hold the material at an eye level. I'm not one of those types that can sit for a long time with a book in my lap or on a desk, having to crane my neck causes a fatigue as well. Most times I find myself doing something else when I'd rather be reading something, due to these little nuisance pains.
My mother was going to throw a couple of old lamps out, one my daughter took and this balanced arm lamp without a base sitting on my materials shelf for weeks now. Having 2 or 3 of these types of lamps already just figured I use it for something. A couple of days ago while reading down in my workshop and experiencing one of these particular pains I looked up at the lamp sitting there and inspiration struck:
"The Zero Gravity Reader Stand"
Step 1: What You'll Need to Get Started!
Materials and Tools
Balanced arm lamp (the bigger the better)
Some kind of stand (this has many options even making one from scratch)
Wood or plastic blocks (While researching another project I came across some plastic off-all real cheap at a local steel manufacturer near where I live, you can get this stuff at pretty much any craft store though in small quantities)
Bolts and washers(I picked up a box at Harbor Freight for general project use a few months ago really cheap)
Spring (At H.F. as well cheap)
Drill or drill press
Cheap tap and die set (or a torch and bolt for plastic block only)
Dremel high speed cutter bit (Part #115-01)
Saws (I've done something similar in the past with just a couple of hand saws, It takes a lot longer but it can be done)
Sugru (this will be my first time using the stuff so I we'll see how it goes I'll be convinced once the instructable is done and working)
Step 2: Make Your Stand!
As with most of my projects I've tried to use materials that I find or stuff that is going to be thrown away. For this project I am using a stand my brother was going to throw away; it is an old satellite speaker stand that should be perfect for this project it has a threaded inner post that has an adjustable height and weighted base. However you can use almost any type of tripod stand, guitar hero drum stand, or just make one out of wood.
Making the base:
1. Measure everything twice and then be sure you write everything down
2. Cut your block about 1 inch square or more (I'm using plastic block in this instructable however you can use a hard wood block as well; Just use more nuts for the bolts instead of tapping)
3. Use a straight edge and from corner to corner draw a line to find your center point
4. Next, with a drill bit the diameter of your lamp post stand, drill a hole the length of your lamp post tip, you can use masking tape around your bit to cut to the right depth
5. Test fit your lamp before proceeding
6. With a bit the diameter of your center screw drill a second hole all the way through the block (if your chosen stand doesn't have a center post alternatively you can drill out the bottom of the block to fit your stands post; drill and bolt through the post)
7. Drill and tap a hole in the side of the block as a set screw to keep the lamp sturdy or from spinning around
8. Finally attach the block to your stand and attach the lamp to the block
Step 3: Well I Could Just Leave It This Way for a Cool Looking Lamp, Nah!
Removing the lamp
1. To remove the lamp first we have to cut the cord (CAUTION: Please make sure the lamp is unplugged from the wall first)
2. Remove the cord from the lamp and any screws holding the lamp shade on
3. To remove the adjustable post from the lamp shade itself I have to drill out the pop rivets. Once you have removed the rivet ring it will be necessary to tap out the remaining rivet with a screwdriver or punch and hammer
4. The post plate is curved we will need to flatten it by putting it over a channel and tapping flat
5. Now just re-attach the post plate to the arm (to keep the little pieces handy for the moment) and your ready to go on to the next step
Step 4: Building the Zero Gravity Plate
Again I decided to use plastic off-all that I got from a local steel shop (all of the plastic block you see in this instructable cost less than 5 dollars, check in your are for die makers and metal shops, I'm not sure what they use it for but they always have lots of pieces they'll end up throwing away and sometimes they'll sell this stuf to you super cheap)
Building the plate:
1. First we need to cut 2 arms that will hold the reader in place
2. Next we need to cut 2 feet to hold the reader in place at the bottom
3. Next I drew an arc on the arms and began cutting them on the drill press using a Dremel high speed cutting bit, make sure that when you cut each side of the arms you leave just enough material to slip into the main body of the plate
4. Next we need to cut the corners out on the edge to attach the arms. Centering the body of the plate on a table saw and running it through each corner will achieve this (carefully you could do this with a hand saw as well
5. Next using the Dremel high speed cutting bit I rounded corners of the body to allow the arms to swing freely
6. Before we can attach the arms we need to drill tap an attached the feet first
7. Now drill, tap, and attach the arms using bolts
8. Using a Dremel and cutting disc: remove the excess threads of the bolts from the back of the plate
9. Next use a drill and tap, to attach bolts to the end of the arms to create hands or fingers to hold the top of the reader. Tip: using spacers or bushings to offset the length of the bolts will avoid having to cut excess threads and give you the reach you need for the thickness of the reader
10. Add a spring to the 2 hands to create pressure that will squeeze against the reader to hold it in place. This will also allow you to adjust the stand according to the size reader you will be using
11. Finally attach the head of the lamp by drilling and tapping into the back of the body; again using bolts to mount the head to the body. Do any additional Dremel cutting to any exposed threads and do any clean up of the edges as necessary for looks. Then re-attach the head and body back to the lamp post
Step 5: Fixing Problems Found While Testing!
Decided to update this step with a few basic fixes for my first design flaws, I decided to re-evaluate this step and add the tips to the tags on the pics instead of typing them out.
Step 6: All Done, After Thoughts!
Works on any position, I think the only thing I would love to find is a ball joint to move it in odd directions rather than just rotating from side to side and moving up and down. Later on down the road I might add an electric box with a plug in cable from the base to charge the reader when it's mounted.
However I'm satisfied with the project, it works well now and solves a problem, is ready for any reader or tablet if at some point I upgrade, It's reach allows me to sit in a recliner with the foot rest fully extended and still have the reader practically right in my face. The height can reach to the ceiling or I can lay on the floor and have it right at eye level, just reach up to flip the page every so often resting my arm or doing other things hands free.