I wanted a way to securely hold a portable device at any angle while in the car. My requirements were as follows:
** work with any device (within certain size ranges)
** flexible -- hold almost any device at any angle/position
** quick and easy to mount and remove the device
** holder should be totally and easily removable
** Off the shelf parts (I don't want to machine parts)
** common measurements that can be mix and matched.
While there are lots of solutions on the market I couldn't find anything that was cost effective (cheap), flexible, sturdy, etc. I considered all different types of mounts including friction, suction cups, vent mounts and magnets. Of these, only the last one offered any real option.
What I finally ended up with combines a magnet, a mini ball head and a spring-loaded smartphone tripod adapter.
Step 1: Parts
Step 2: Assembly
This is really easy, but... screw goes through the magnet, fender washer, split washer and into the ball head. Tighten it down snug so that when you loosen the thumbscrew on the ball head it will swivel freely without unscrewing from the base.
Once assembled, loosen the set screw on the ball head to adjust the angle and position the phone any way you want. The most difficult part is finding a metallic surface on which to mount the magnet.
After installing a new radio in my expedition I had a narrow slot under the stereo so I created this wooden shelf (ugly but useful). Through that I've mounted a door hole filler plate that lets me mount one of these holders on top of and/or below the shelf.
In my Toyota I couldn't find anywhere suitable to mount the magnet so I epoxied a 6"x1.5" piece of flat steel to a plastic cover just below the radio which lets me mount either one or two devices at the same time.
When I park the car I can either remove the device from the holder or remove the holder altogether. Putting it back on just takes a second.