This is a very easy to make and inexpensive tripod mount for iPads or any tablet really. It is made from a piece of PVC drain pipe and a t-nut. The funnest part of this project is the unique way the pipe is flattened to become the iPad case.
This project was adapted from a YouTube video. The original design would not quite fit my tripod so I made a new mounting bracket.
Step 1: Materials
14" of 4" PVC schedule 20 drain pipe
1 1/4" #20 t-nut
Step 2: Tools
25mm (1") round saw
5/8" drill bit
drill or drill press
Dremel with cutting wheel and grinder
sander or sand paper
heat gun (not shown)
Step 3: Cut the Pipe
Cut about 14" of 4" schedule 20 PVC drain pipe. It should be a few inches wider than the long side of the iPad. Then make a single cut lengthwise down the pipe.
Step 4: Preheat
Wait until your wife is out for the afternoon. Preheat your oven to 210 F. You are going to bake the PVC for about 6 minutes or until it is flat. Don't worry this should not produce any smell.
Step 5: Flatten the PVC
Bake the PVC in a 210 F oven for about six minutes or until it is mostly flat. Use a cookie sheet so that the oven shelf does not leave any marks. Once the PVC is mostly flat, remove it from the oven. The PVC will be soft like pie crust dough. Put a cutting board and a pitcher of tea on top of the PVC so that it will cool completely flat.
Step 6: Sand
Sand off all the labeling, marks and stains from both sides of the PVC.
Step 7: Template
Draw a template on a piece of card stock. Transfer or copy the template to another piece of card stock. Use the second piece of card stock to make a prototype. Make sure all of the iPad's buttons and connectors are not obstructed. Adjust your master template if needed.
Step 8: Cut Out the Case
Poke holes through the center of each circle on the template. Lay the template on the PVC and mark the center of each hole on the PVC with a pencil. Then make a divot at each mark with a small knife or nail. This will keep the drill bit from walking. Drill the holes using the round saw. Use a ruler and pencil to mark lines from the edge of the circles to the edge of the PVC. Use a hacksaw or Dremel to cut along the lines.
Step 9: Mold Case
Use a heat gun to fold the tabs over to hold the case to the iPad. Be sure not to point the heat at one place very long or you will scorch the PVC. Do not heat your iPad! Heat the PVC by itself then mold it around the iPad one tab at a time. Do not fold the top tab all way over your iPad trapping it inside. Angle it up just enough so that the iPad will not accidentally slide out but will still allow it to be removed.
Step 10: Round Corners
Trim all the edges so they do not overlap the LCD screen using a Dremel cutting wheel. Then use a Dremel grinder to round off all the corners. Use sand paper to round and smooth all the edges.
Step 11: Mounting Bracket
Make a mounting bracket from a leftover piece of PVC. The shape is not important as long as it will fit your tripod and it provides plenty of surface area to cement to the case. Make sure your iPad will not obstruct any of the adjustments on your tripod.
Cement a small piece of PVC to the base of the bracket so that there will be a double thickness of PVC. This will strengthen and steady the bracket where it connects to the tripod.
A 1/4" #20 t-nut will fit the bolt on standard tripods. Drill a hole in the double thickness of PVC that will snugly host the t-nut. You may need to trim the nut so that it does not stick out below the mounting bracket. An alternative would be to make a triple thickness of PVC.
Shape the bracket with a heat gun.
Cement the bracket to the case.
Step 12: Use It!
Take some great pictures or videos. Please leave a comment or even a picture of your tripod mount. I'd love to see how you improve the design.