There are a number of reasons for needing to attach an iPad to a tripod. Speakers can use an iPad as a teleprompter, musicians can use one to display sheet music or a set list, or to hold the device when using it as an instrument, and artists may want to hold one up while they work. The iPad can also take decent video in a pinch and a tripod is helpful there too.
This instructable shows how to make a mount for attaching an iPad to a tripod.
This mount is fabricated from extruded angle aluminum, a few wings nuts and washers, polypropylene pipe insulation, and two small buret (burette) clamps. The buret clamps are available on eBay, from surplus suppliers, or from lab supply houses for about $7-10 each. Any similar adjustable clamps with a mounting stem can be adapted to work. Only basic tools are needed.
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Step 1: Tools
Basic hand tools and a drill (not shown) are required as shown in the Figure:
(A) hack saw
(C) 1/4-in (6.35 mm) twist drill
(D) center punch
(H) pliers (optional)
(I) tubing cutter (optional)
Step 2: Materials
Any rigid material can be used as the crossbar for mounting the clamps. This build uses extruded angle aluminum, but as shown in the figure, flat stock (A), shelf mounting rail (B), or even a piece of wood, could also work. The figure shows the parts layed out in exploded form.
(1) 1/4-20 wing nut (2)
(2) 1/4 wing nut washer (2)
(3) extruded Al angle cross bar
(4) 1/4 clamp-side washer (2)
(5) 1/4-20 cross bar mounting wing nut (1)
(6) 1/4-20 threaded clamp (2)
(7) 1-in polypropylene pipe insulation (2)
The size of the wing nuts and washers has to match the diameter and threads on the clamp stems. If non-threaded clamps are used, they can be threaded using an appropriately sized die.
Tripod mounts in the US are commonly equipped with a 1/4-20 mounting screw (used with part #5), but some tripods may have a different size.
Hex nuts may be used instead of wing nuts, but wing nuts are more convenient and can be hand tightened.
Step 3: Fabricate the Crossbar
Note: Wear safety glasses for all cutting and drilling operations.
(1) Measure and cut the crossbar to a length of 9.5 inches (24.1 cm).
(2) Use a file to remove sharp edges and deburr the crossbar. Round off the corners to make them less sharp.
(3) Mark the crossbar for a center mounting hole and for the two clamp holes. The clamp holes should be placed about 3/8-in (1 cm) from each end.
(4) Use a center punch and hammer to locate the drill points for each of the three holes.
(5) Drill the three holes using a 1/4-in (63.5 mm) drill. Either a hand drill or drill press may be used.
(6) Deburr the holes with a file or other deburring tool.
Step 4: Assemble the Parts
Refer to the Materials figure for the assembly sequence.
(1) Place a 1/4-in washer over the threaded end of one of the clamps.
(2) Insert the clamp through an end hole in the crossbar.
(3) Place a washer over the clamp threads and install a wing nut hand tight.
(4) Repeat step 3 for the other clamp.
(5) Align the clamps on the crossbar and tighten the clamp wing nuts. A good hand tightening should be adequate, but pliers can be used to make them tool tight if desired.
(6) Make the clamp jaw pads by cutting two pieces of 1-in polypropylene pipe insulation to a length slightly larger than the width of the clamp jaws. A sharp knife works, but a plastic tubing cutter (item I in the Tools figure) produces a straight and clean cut.
(7) Insert the polypropylene pads deeply into the clamp jaws. The pads could be glued in or kept in place with double-sided tape, but it is not necessary.
Step 5: Installation and Use
(1) Attach the mount to a tripod by placing the crossbar center hole over the tripod mount screw. Fasten the crossbar with a wing nut on the tripod screw and tighten it using the tripod screw knob.
(2) Fully open the clamp jaws.
(3) Insert the iPad into the jaw pads and push it down as far as it will easily go. Do not force it.
(4) Use the finger and thumb of one hand to squeeze each jaw tightly closed so it grips the iPad securely.
(5) While holding the jaws closed, use your other hand to spin down each clamp adjustment screw until it is snug.
Note: Do not over-tighten the clamp screws. The iPad should be held securely at either end, while still allowing access to the on-screen controls.
(7) Shoot some video!