$2.15 iPad stand

If you search on the Internet for a $5 iPad stand, you’ll find several variations of a block of wood with a slot cut into it. I had some scraps of mahogany 1×6 left over from another project I’m working on, so I decided to make my own. The 1×6 was $29 for a 9 foot plank, which comes to $3.22/foot. I used 9 inches of it for this project, so $3.22 times 9/12 comes to $2.15 worth of mahogany. Not that the price really matters much, but I get to make my wife something nice and it doesn’t cost a lot so everyone wins!

My design isn’t unique by any means, and I certainly didn’t invent it. I just modified a design I saw online to my own needs… not a bad thing in anyone’s book. My idea was to make a version which would let us prop up the old iPad at 2 different angles, using something that wouldn’t take up much space when we weren’t using it. I un-scientifically came up with 45 degrees (half of vertical) and 22 degrees (roughly half of 45) as angles, but now I had to do the math of how long to make the board so that it wouldn’t tip over backwards from the weight of the iPad. In theory, all I had to do was make sure the center of gravity was still within the board, but I chose to make it long enough that the entire iPad would be within the board, for extra support when tapping on the screen. My device is roughly 7″ x 9″ x 1/2″ so at 45 degrees the 9″ height would at most be about 6.4″ away from the slot. For the record, no I didn’t solve this equation myself… but don’t tell my Math teacher wife! I used a triangle solver at https://www.nayuki.io/page/triangle-solver-javascript to solve it. To determine the thickness of your slot, just get the measurements of how thick your device is and go a hair thicker. It doesn’t need to be exact, but too thin and your device won’t fit in. Too loose and it’ll wobble slightly. A little wobble won’t make it non-functional but it’s a matter of pride to fit right.

So with the math out of the way, the next step was pretty simple – especially since I have access to a beautiful table saw at the local school’s shop. I don’t have a table saw at home, so it would have been more complicated using a circular saw at home. I angled the blade at 45 and made 3 cuts on one end of the board, very close together, going about half-way through the thickness of the board. I then angled it at 22 degrees and made the same series of cuts at the other end of the board. If I needed to worry about accessing the Home button while the iPad was in portrait orientation I could have drilled a hole about 3/4″ across near the edge of where these cuts would be. We typically just set it up and watch TV so we’re not interacting with it much while it would be propped up. I can always drill or file a notch in there later if needed. My version of this stand also doesn’t account for a charging cable being plugged in while the device is in portrait orientation, but we don’t need that so I didn’t worry about routing and drilling trenches for the cable.

Next I used a very small chisel to remove the wood from the inside of each series of cuts, making 2 complete grooves in the wood. A few minutes with some medium-grit sandpaper (I think it was around 100?) to take the sharp edges off, and I was all set!

Photography note – Yes, that’s the same block of wood… the 2 different colors are not from staining or any top coat, just different lighting. The finished product was photographed at home, while the in-progress version was photographed in the shop under fluorescent lights.