Friday, July 3, 2015

iPad Holder Prototype #1 for the Roadrunner

I have been thinking about an iPad holder so I could use Google Maps while I drive.  

Last summer Adam built a little aluminum frame with magnets to hold his iPad mini on the dash of his car.  Using that same general idea, I looked for many months for a solution that would work for us in the Roadrunner.  I decided to build something similar to what he did.

First I had to get all the pieces together which were in three parts:
  1. A flexible arm strong enough to hold a frame and my iPad
  2. An iPad 'holder' that I could mount with flexible arm  
  3. Some way to fasten the iPad frame and arm without drilling holes into our wood console or doing damage to the dash
Here's what I came up with as my first prototype:
The flexible arm:
I picked this up at a nick-nack discount gadget store near Murfreesboro TN that was full of gadgets.
I liked this because it had a nut at the top of the arm near the magnifying glass and also had a nut down on the other end for the clamp.  This was what I needed to secure the iPad frame at one end and then screw the bolt into the platform I built for the cupholder.

At first I wasn't sure how to make this 'flex arm' strong enough for the frame and holder but I knew it had potential.

What I ended up doing to 'stiffen' the flexible arm was to liberally use electrical tape and tightly wind  it around the entire length of the arm.  It still wasn't tight enough so I put a layer of good old duct tape around the length of the arm.  I still wasn't quite stiff enough so I wound another layer of electrical tape on top.  That gave me three layers of tape which ended up to be perfect.  It had enough stiffness to hold the frame and the iPad.

Next, the frame:
I used Adam's solution of aluminum 'angle bar' that I picked up at Home Depot and cut to size.
A hack saw and 4" x 4" scrap piece was good support while I cut the pieces.

I used my Dremel to sand down the edges.

I found some metal on metal epoxy that I used to glue it together and clamps to hold things in place.
I let it dry for a couple of days.  But the angles and corners were not holding to well so I found small screws and nuts to fasten the corners.  Those small screws and nuts were key to keeping the sides in place.  The epoxy did not work.
I also cut two cross pieces for the back drilled a larger whole in the middle for the end of the flexible arm to bolt to the frame.  I used some extra velcro to put over the in sides of the frame so the iPad wouldn't get scratched.  

Lastly I needed to Secure it to dash/console cupholder:

It took two pieces, one of which you can't see very well.
I slid the first piece of wood for the bottom of the cupholder.  Then I cut out a round piece the side of the cuphole and drilled a hole through the center for the other end of the flexible arm to go through.  
I screwed the end of the flexible arm to the bottom piece of wood in the cupholder.  Next, I drilled three holes into the top round pieced for three screws into the wood and fastened it all together.

It looks like I didn't do any photos for the wood base and the circular attachment in the cupholder.  But here is the finished product.
I was pretty excited about using this!  It worked well and opened up a whole new world for me.  As the primary driver I don't often get to see where we are along the route.  Now I can by pulling up Google maps and 'Directions' from our starting point to our destination for the day.

We used this prototype on our trip from Virginia Beach all the way to Oklahoma City.  It was functional and adequate, but I knew it wasn't the final product.   

Thanks for joining us today on the Roadrunner Chronicles!


  1. Talented should go on Shark Tank! :-) Or at least patent it!

  2. You did a very good job on your project. Can't wait to see what the second version looks like.
    Be Safe and Enjoy!

    It's about time.

  3. I cannot live without a Dremel tool, I've actually worn out a couple. Nice job!