How to Make a Tablet Stand

Last year I got tablet fever.  An iPad with a starting price of $500 was out of the question for me.  If I was going to get anything I wanted to have internet access so I had refrained from buying a Kindle.  Color would be nice too.  I found out that you could convert a Pandigital book reader to an android tablet.  I didn’t really need another computer.  I have a laptop that works just fine.

Didn’t matter.

I wanted one.

Not just for the book reader but because I wanted to root it and change it to my needs (with help from tech wizards far more savvy than myself ).  As I schemed of ways to rationalize buying a tablet I came up with a perfectly plausible reason to buy one.  (right honey?) I have a giant pile of recipes that I have printed off the internet as well as other recipes and notes that I’ve collected over the past 25 years of cooking.  It’s a drag shuffling through piles of papers looking for the recipe you need.  ( Yes, I’ve organized them several times but they get pulled out and I can’t seem to keep up).  Going digital with the recipes made sense but a laptop is just too vulnerable and takes up too much counter space in the kitchen.   A tablet would be perfect.  A convenient place to organize and access all my cooking stuff in a device with a small foot print.

I was in Bed Bath and Beyond shopping for Christmas stuff and just happened to notice that they had book readers.  They even had one that looked like it did what I wanted and cost less than the Pandigital reader.

Yup, I got it.

At home I discovered it totally wasn’t going to work for me.  It didn’t even have wi-fi, just sort of hinted about it on the packaging.  I returned it and started searching out the Pandigital.  I went to several stores and found one for $125.  It turned out to be the wrong one as well.  It was a black one and the hack only worked with the white ones.  I returned it and went out in search of a white one.  After an entire afternoon of driving around I ended up back at Bed Bath and Beyond again and they had it!  Even better, it was on sale and had a mail in coupon.  It ended up only costing me $70 (and two days of my time)- Score!

I messed around with it, got android running and started collecting my recipes on Evernote.  (I still only have about 15% of my recipes digitized.)  After trying to prop the tablet up on the counter with apples and other useless items I realized that I was going to need a stand for this thing.  I wanted something minimal and adjustable that I could sit on the counter above the mess.

I have a bunch of boxes full of  potentially useful parts.  I rooted around in them and found everything I needed to build the stand.  If you have a tablet then I bet you need a stand too.  I’ll show you how to make a tablet stand.  Copy my design or use it as a starting point for your own.

Materials

Plastic cutting board, 1/2″ thick- I had it on hand.  A nice piece of wood would work too.

Plastic snap together hose- Get the Male NPT kit from Enco for $8.

A base-  I had a nice metal lab equipment base.  A piece of 3/4″ thick wood would do fine here as well.

A metal clothes hanger or similar gauge wire.

Felt

Spray glue & super glue

Tape

Tools

A saw to cut the wood or plastic

Two pairs of pliers

Wire cutters

Scisors

Drill & bits

1/4″ pipe tap

Metal file

 

Let’s build it!

Support Plate

First cut the plastic/wood for the tablet support plate to the width of the tablet and 2/3 of  its height.  Drill a 7/16″ hole in the support.  It will be centered between the left and right sides and about 2/3 of the height of the plate.  The hole should be at the center of the back of the tablet when the bottom edge of the tablet and the support plate are lined up.  Tap the hole for 1/4″ pipe threads.  If you don’t have a tap you could just drill the hole over-sized and glue the neck in.

Threaded tip

Take the plastic snap together hose and parts kit and assemble the neck for the stand.  Mine has six of the ball and sockets, a 1/4″ pipe threaded male end on the top and a 3/8″ nozzle on the bottom.  The plastic parts can be really hard to snap together.  I dip them in hot (just off boiling) water to soften them up a bit if they are giving me trouble.

Base and neck

base and neck 2

The 3/8″” nozzle fit perfectly in the base that I had.  My base even had a convenient thumb screw.  Cut a base that is wide enough to support your tablet.  Mine is 4.5″ in dia.  Drill a 3/8″” hole in the center for the neck.

Test fit

Test fit the support plate, neck and base then take the support plate off the neck.

Drilling

Drill a hole just wide enough to accommodate the clothes hanger wire on the right and left sides of the support plate.  Center it in the thickness of the material and 5/8″ from the top edge.  Go in 1/2″ deep.  Put two holes in the bottom of the plate.  Centered in the thickness and 1/2″ deep again but 5/8″ from either side.

Yucky

You can see that the surface of my plastic cutting board was gross looking.  I wanted to cover it and provide a scratch free surface for the tablet to rest on.

Trace felt

Lay the support plate on the felt and trace it.  Cut the felt to fit and use some spray glue to attach it to the top of the support plate.  Put something heavy on it while it dries.

Side guide

In order to hold the tablet to the stand we need to make some wire guides.  Cut a 4″ piece of clothes hanger and file one end smooth.  Mark the wire at 1/4″ from the smooth end.  Hold the wire with the two pliers.  One on either side of the mark and bend it 90 degrees.  Lay the tablet on the support plate and put the bent end of the wire on top of the tablet next to the right hand hole at the top of the support plate.  Mark the wire where you will need to bend it to go into the hole.  Bend it to fit and trim the bottom off to fit in the hole.  You should have a  squared off “C” shape.  Make another one for the left side.

Bottom 1

The bottom guide is a similar concept but a little trickier to describe.  Take a longer piece of wire and bend it at 90 degrees 4″ from the end.  Measure the distance between the holes in the bottom of the support plate and make the second bend at the same distance.  You will have a large “C” again.

Measure and mark 1/4″ in from the left hand side of the “C” on the top and bottom.  Bend the wire 90 degrees so that the left hand side now sits perpendicular to the table.

Bottom 3

Rest the wire on the tablet and support plate again.

Bottom 4

Mark it at the bottom holes and bend each end so that it will turn in and fit in the holes.  Trim the ends to fit in the holes.

Gluing

Put all the wire pieces in the support plate and test fit the tablet.  it will be a little tricky with the wire not glued in yet.  You are looking for the wire guides to hold the tablet securely but not scratch or drag on the tablet.  You can adjust the wire with the pliers until you have a fit that you like.  Glue the wires into the holes with super glue.  Use tape to hold everything in place as it is drying.

Assembled

Once the glue is dry (be patient!) assemble all the parts.  Glue or screw the neck into the base and support plate.

Finished stand

Slide your tablet into your stylin’ new adjustable stand and get cooking!

This week 11/21/11- 11/27/11 we are giving away a 1 year pro membership to Instructables.  

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4 Comments

  1. Posted November 22, 2011 at 12:18 pm | Permalink

    I was checking that out this summer.  It’s way cool.

    • Posted November 23, 2011 at 6:16 am | Permalink

      Thanks!  But have you seen the new travel/bed stand?

  2. Sandyl
    Posted November 23, 2011 at 4:56 am | Permalink

    Super cute. Next you have to design a reading light to clip on.

    • Posted November 23, 2011 at 6:15 am | Permalink

      The reader is backlit so if anything it’s too bright.  I would look cool w/ a little gooseneck light though.  Hmmm……..

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