Do-it-yourself magnetic iPad/tablet case to mount on a music stand

Posted: December 9, 2013 in accessories, folders & cases, iPad, tablet

magnetic_ipad_case_music_stand

Ever since I saw a commercially-manufactured magnetic iPad case that mounts on metal surfaces (the KICMount), I have been interested in trying to make one myself to use on a music stand.  The iPad would attach to the music stand securely enough that I wouldn’t have to worry about minor bumps and jostles causing the iPad to crash to the ground.  I could also safely pick up the music stand and carry it around while the iPad is on it.

I finally got to try this project  – here are instructions on how I did it.  This project is easily adaptable to other kinds of tablet cases too.

IMPORTANT! BEFORE YOU BEGIN: Grab a refrigerator magnet and make sure that magnets actually stick to your music stand!  Magnets work on my folding wire stands, but unfortunately not on my Manhasset stand.

Photo Nov 24, 6 11 11 PM

What you’ll need:

  • Black hardshell iPad/tablet case (I got an inexpensive one from Amazon for $5)
  • Black duct tape ($5/roll at the hardware store)
  • 6 rare earth magnets, 1/2″ diameter (I got mine from an electronics surplus store for $2 apiece but there are definitely better deals out there)
  • Glue that’s strong enough to work on rare earth magnets, like Gorilla Glue (about $5 on Amazon), or Liquid Nails
  • Sharpie marker
  • Some flat pieces of metal to “clamp” the magnets to the case while the glue dries (I used cookie tin lids and jar lids)

A note on cost: If you’re doing this DIY project to save some money, do a price check on the KICMount and similar cases first.  They lowered their price last time I checked, so I didn’t save that much money making my own (but I did enjoy it as a project).

Step 1: Use the marker to mark the locations on the back of the case where you’d like to position the magnets.  If you look closely at the picture below, you can see where I put dots for the six magnets.

Photo Nov 24, 6 13 30 PM

Step 2: Apply glue to each magnet and position it on the back of the case, following the directions given on the package for the type of glue that you are using.

Photo Nov 24, 6 22 25 PM

Step 3: Since I was using Gorilla Glue, according to the directions, I had to clamp the two surfaces together while the glue cured.  I accomplished this by putting flat pieces of metal up against the inside of the iPad case (I used cookie tin lids and jar lids).  The magnetic force “clamped” the magnet to the iPad case as the magnet was pulled toward the metal, with the iPad case sandwiched in-between.  The only problem was that the magnets slid around while I was positioning the metal pieces, so the glue got more smeared around than I would have liked.

Photo Nov 24, 6 27 03 PM

Step 4: After the glue has dried, cover the magnets with pieces of black duct tape.  This protects the rare earth magnets (which chip easily) as well as the surface of the music stand.  It also provides a “concert black” finish for the case, in case you need it.

Photo Nov 24, 9 10 02 PM

Applying the tape…

Photo Nov 24, 9 12 38 PM

Done!

Photo Nov 24, 9 14 48 PM

Look! I can stick my iPad on my fridge!

IMG_20131124_211803

The magnetic case works pretty well on my K&M folding stand.  Not all the magnets line up with the arms of the metal frame, but enough do to hold it on fairly well.  I can pick the stand up by its shaft and carry it around with worrying about the iPad falling off.  If I had been designing the case for this particular stand (I wasn’t), I would have chosen the placement of the magnets to align better with the metal frame.

IMG_20131124_212341

It’s definitely a dicier proposition on my cheapo wire stand.  The case sticks, but the whole stand is flimsier and the desk wobbles on the shaft, so I am NOT going to use this iPad case on this stand, much less carry it around with the iPad on it.

IMG_20131124_212721

And there you have it, folks – a DIY magnetic iPad case for your (hopefully sturdy and magnetic) music stand.

The thing that I’m most concerned about with this design is whether the plastic of the case will eventually crack under the force of the magnets, with repeated putting-on and pulling-off from music stands.  I’ll post an update in the future about how this case works out.

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