For us, the value of desk real estate can't be stressed enough these days; we'll do whatever it takes to regain some of it. We've been thinking about an idea of how to "levitate" the iPad, so it's always at arm's length next to the main computer and laptop, but also secure, solid and not an eyesore. Here's what we did...
From the beginning we were contemplating buying the articulated chrome arm from a old iMac. But using that arm would limit the placement to one only source: the desk. We didn't want that. We wanted the iPad to float. The solution was cheap and easy: we discovered thru some close friends of ours that there are some heavy duty suction cup mounting brackets for video cameras. I met a guy at our monthly "car and coffee" venue that uses them hanging outside his car while driving at 80+ mph on Miami's highways! So we went ahead and bought a couple at Amazon. $15 later, we had a pair sitting on our desk, ready to be tinkered with.
The only additional piece we needed was a connection rod, like 8" long. We could've used any kind of material from the home improvement place, like aluminum pipe or even plastic tubing, but we found an extra microphone stand that was the perfect diameter. A little bit (make that a lot of) cutting later and drilling of holes, then we were ready to start testing it. We used our trusty iPad for real life testing, but any of today's tablets could be used with similar results.
Each suction cup will hold up to 10 pounds, even at a leveraged and weird looking angles. We included a rotating ball to the end that connects to the iPad for total freedom and control. The results are better than what we've anticipated: we can place that sucker (pun intended) anywhere with a smooth surface. Refrigerator door, glass desk, granite countertop, mirrors. Even IKEA's high gloss finish furniture (but no such luck on painted walls or some type of woods)!
Now we've ended up with a very versatile mount system that we can put everywhere, not to mention addressed the safety concerns when using it at the kitchen. The device is now placed on a pedestal, so any spills and your tablet will stay dry and safe. So far we've used it in several scenarios:
• In the bathroom while shaving or the while the wife is blowdrying her hair.
• While making small repairs around the house and following internet directions.
• In the kitchen while making sushi for the first time.
• Changing the serpentine belt on our car while reading the digital manual in pdf. (no need to print!!!)
• While working on the main computer, checking basic stats, or Flipboard/Pulse RSS readers.
• Even inside the car as a massive navigation system with the 3G Tablet.
So, this project, is well worth the little investment in time and money. You will find, even more ways, to enjoy your tablet in ways you didn't know it was possible.
Professional looking hardware
Easy to move, rotate and articulate
Only stick on smooth surfaces
No extendable main rod for extra reach