IPad Tripod Mount




About: Math/Science Educator and writer with more than 30 years of experience in science and industry.

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
(B) knife
(C) 1/4-in (6.35 mm) twist drill
(D) center punch
(E) marker
(F) ruler
(G) file
(H) pliers (optional)
(I)  tubing cutter (optional)
(J) hammer

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!

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    12 Discussions


    7 years ago on Introduction

    Good work but...... not worth. Why? iPad give you a poor(S*ck) quality picture my Nokia 5800XM are much better. I recommand you to bought new camera. For now digital camera price aren't expensive. Make/Buy tripod for digital camera are easier and cheaper...

    5 replies

    Reply 2 years ago

    The negative comment above is probably out of date. Per EveryMac.com:

    Apple reports that the iPad (5th Gen) models support "H.264 video up to 4K, 30 frames per second, High Profile level 4.2 with AAC LC audio up to 160 Kbps, 48kHz, stereo audio or Dolby Audio up to 1008 Kbps, 48kHz, stereo or multichannel audio, in .m4v, .mp4, and .mov file formats; MPEG 4 video up to 2.5 Mbps, 640 by 480 pixels, 30 frames per second, Simple Profile with AAC LC audio up to 160 Kbps per channel, 48kHz, stereo audio or Dolby Audio up to 1008 Kbps, 48kHz, stereo or multichannel audio, in .m4v, .mp4, and .mov file formats; Motion JPEG (M JPEG) up to 35 Mbps, 1280 by 720 pixels, 30 frames per second, audio in ulaw, PCM stereo audio in .avi file format."

    My iPad Gen 5 has 128 GB RAM, and its video and sound quality are very good for home use. You can see an example here:


    That said, this mount is a great starter idea. I think there are improvements to be made (example: gripping the pad at all 4 corners rather than just the bottom), but very good, simple work.


    Reply 6 years ago on Introduction

    If you have a camera, smartphone, or use something like an EyeFi you can use the iPad as your display, not your capture device, as just one example as to why you might want to do this.


    Reply 7 years ago on Introduction

    I appreciate the feedback. Well, I'll have to disagree that the quality s*ck. It's not the best on the market by far, but the back camera is "good enough" for many applications. Besides, there are other reasons to hold an iPad steady besides for shooting video.


    Reply 7 years ago on Introduction

    OK! If you say that i don't had permission to change your mind so, Then after you made a tripod for it.You need a LED Light/Studio Light too! iPad camera need bright light to make it work best as it can.


    Reply 7 years ago on Introduction

    Good tips. I shot some video at a concert with it this evening. It was either that or go out and spend a couple of hundred bucks that I don't have on a new camera. Until I get my HD Flip fixed/replaced, this is all I've got.


    Reply 7 years ago on Introduction

    Thanks for mentioning that. I have modified the instructable to point out that there are many reasons for putting an iPad on a tripod. In my case, I needed to shoot some video and my camera decided to stop working.

    This is great, now I can use my iPad sitting on a stool, play my guitar with the on screen music I have downloaded. Now if only you could make it work as a table top mount as well as floor standing. Well done!

    Well, you could get yourself a piece of heavy base material (like really dense wood, or a chunk of metal of some kind), stick a piece of 1/4-20 all-thread in the top, and you'd be good to go.