Monday, September 7, 2015

Phone or Tablet holder for your vehicle



If you can’t find a phone mount for your vehicle that suits you, read on.  With a little imagination you can adapt some to the Arkon products to build your own mount for holding your tablets or phones for use as “Hands Free”.

My first mount was a telescoping affair that was held via suction to the inside of my windshield.  It had a device mount on the end of it that held the older and larger iPad2.  I have a full sized van.  This arm mounted horizontal and extended over the dash board.

While this did indeed function, it vibrated a lot, lost suction often and fell off, plus the length of the shaft was maxed out right in front of my radio controls.

After a short while I set off to build a better mouse trap with materials I had to work with.



I had the Arkon mount that is sold on Amazon for $28.  The mount extends from 14.5 inches to 18.5 inches, and has a suction base mount.  I eventually had to change the device mount on the end of the arm from the iPad2 over to one that fit the iPad Mini as well as an iPhone6.  That change was about $13.  Other than the suction part of it I thought this would provide nearly all the parts I needed.
 

I then spent about $30 more on some hardware and Liquid Fiberglass Resin to create a more stable custom mount.

The following is an adaption for a full sized 2010 Chevy Express van.  For some people this will only be food for thought to spawn your own idea for your own personal mount.  Read through everything before you attempt this project.



I first started by drilling a hole in the bottom of the cup holder.  This cup holder was the middle hole of the three cup holes in the engine cover between the driver seat and front passenger seat.  The hole was made to allow a threaded rod to pass through. The rod length is cut to your desired length to include enough to allow a nut and washer on the bottom, and the extra up top to pass through the base mount of your tablet/phone mounting arm...dry fit everything before proceeding.



The cup holder was lined with plastic wrap for the pour molding stage. A fender washer placed on the plastic wrap at the bottom of the inside of the cup holder. The bolt installed as shown by gently cutting through the plastic wrap liner, adjusting the hex nut just above the washer inside the cup holder. That nut keeps the rod from dropping down. The fender washer and wing nut below (underneath side of the cup holder)  tightened to secure it in place.

The 2 back-to-back wing nuts are tightened wrench hard against each other halfway up the cup dimensions....these wing nuts end up in the hardened resin to prevent the threaded rod shaft from rotating once everything is hardened and put into use. I had to use putty on the underside during the resin pouring stage to stop any resin from leaking threw. A little was wrapped around the rod on the underside of the cup holder before the underside washer and wing nut were tightened....don't use too much. You don’t want it to squeeze up into the cup area.  All the hardware inside the cup that is covered during the resin pour, remains in the resin after it hardens.

The very top washer and wing nut can be left off when doing the resin. I used the resin and hardener they sell at Home Depot. A quart will easily do it. A plastic quart mixing container sold in the paint department makes this an easy job.  Add the hardener to the resin, mix thoroughly, then pour it level in the lined cup holder. You don’t have much time to mess with this stuff.  Do this outside the vehicle if possible or protect everything with masked off plastic or paper. You don't want to drip this resin on anything.  Have everything prepped before mixing the resin and hardener.

Once hardened, remove the bottom wing nut and washer (Underneath side of cup holder), then pull the "Plug" you created out of the cup holder. Tear the plastic wrap off best you can. It will be wrinkled and stuck in the resin. I took an electric hand grinder/sander and cleaned up any rough or sharp edges of the resin plug.

The plug was then put back in the cup holder, and the bottom washer and wing nut tightened to lock it in place.  This leaves a secure threaded rod sticking up to attach the device mount extension arm to.

On the base of the suction mounting shaft, I removed the lever mechanism that pulls to create the suction effect. Throw that away since it can't be reused after this modification. I drilled up through the suction cup (left it on for cushion) and through the plastic so the threaded rod could protrude through the base. Lock that down with a washer and wing nut. You can adjust the swivel at this point.


This can all be easily removed should you not want it in the way. Just spin off the bottom wing nut and remove the bottom washer. Pull the whole thing including the resin plug.

I can mount my phone or iPad on the end of the arm and the spring-ed grabbing device. I plug my portable device into my radio and enjoy the hands free use of the phone/iPad that way.   There is way less vibration and the thing has never fallen off (it would literally have to break off).  I can reach around to reach my dash/radio controls.  The arm is adjustable up and down, and at the bolt in the plug the swivel adjustment can be made and locked in.



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