DIY Triple Monitor Stand

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DIY Triple Monitor Stand

Postposted on Mon Mar 01, 2010 11:17 pm

Having just pulled the trigger on the first half on my planned Eyefinity setup I caught the triple monitor stand bug. After the cost of three new screens and knowing a 5870 was in my future I decided to go the DIY route. Inspired by this guy (who was inspired by this guy) I knew that plumbing was the natural choice for the structure but I was less happy with how they actually mounted the screens to the pipe. I had the idea that an electrical plate cover might be just about the right size for a VESA mount and after a trip to Home Depot I confirmed that it was basically perfect for a 100mmx100mm setup like my new monitors have. After I had a plate I could mount to my monitors I needed something I could attach to the plate so I could hang them from the pipe, after a little looking I decided that #1 conduit hanger fittings would be perfect. The one other thing I did different was offset my T connector so I could use the same hanging method for the middle screen as the left and right.

Here's the total shopping list:
3x 3/4" x 12" threaded pipe
1x 3/4" x 10" threaded pipe
1x 3/4" x 8" threaded pipe
2x 3/4" 45° angles
1x 3/4" T connector
1x 3/4" 4 bolt flange
3x quad outlet electrical plate covers
3x #1 conduit hangers
4x 1/4-20 2" bolts w/ nuts
3x 1/4-20 1/2" bolts w/ nuts
12x 4mm-0.7 8mm machine screws (VESA standard adjusted for custom length requirement)
Grand total - $40

Assembly took less time than shopping (literally). After cleaning the pipe I arranged them as you can see in the pictures. The only thing I really had to "fabricate" was the imitation VESA brackets, I drilled one hole in the center for the 1/2" bolt and conduit hanger as well as one in each corner for the 4mm screws the monitor will hang from (I know the pics are a little ugly but the holes are over-sized enough that I have some wiggle room). That's really it, the pictures speak for themselves from there...

This stand should hold three 21.5" screens with a near perfect fit but I won't know for sure until Thursday when mine show up! Will update this thread then. :D

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Re: DIY Triple Monitor Stand

Postposted on Tue Mar 02, 2010 12:21 am

that is awesome! 8)
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Re: DIY Triple Monitor Stand

Postposted on Tue Mar 02, 2010 12:58 am

You may find that the 45° ells give you too much tilt. See if you can spot some 22½° ells at your plumbing shop.
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Re: DIY Triple Monitor Stand

Postposted on Tue Mar 02, 2010 1:14 am

Ghetto-tastic (it actually doesn't look bad plus it will be hidden ;)) and kitty-approved, very nice. My only concern would be if the clamps will hold tight enough to keep the monitors from rotatiing forward. I guess you'll find out!
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Re: DIY Triple Monitor Stand

Postposted on Tue Mar 02, 2010 11:43 am

The clamps will definitely hold tight enough, but I'm slightly worried about the pipes themselves rotating. I bought some compound to lock them in place but I'm not quite ready to commit to it yet, we'll see if I need to.

I think I'm going to like the 45s but I will look into other options as needed (looking at my dual monitor system at work you may be right). Also my desk is in a corner and it has about a 2' flat section that is between the two main sections so 45º matches the profile of the desk perfectly. I'm sure it'll take me awhile to get the placement just right before I bolt it all down.

I've got a couple ideas on how to make this adjustable with the addition of some extra elbows and piping but I think I'll leave it for now (as long as it works at least somewhat) and refine over time.
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Re: DIY Triple Monitor Stand

Postposted on Tue Mar 02, 2010 6:29 pm

I would also think the 45's would be too much. That puts the two outer screens perpendicular to each other. It seems like to would have to be very close to that center monitor to see the other two ideally.
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Re: DIY Triple Monitor Stand

Postposted on Tue Mar 02, 2010 7:49 pm

MadManOriginal wrote:My only concern would be if the clamps will hold tight enough to keep the monitors from rotatiing forward. I guess you'll find out!

+1
I would invest another 50 cents on three self-tapping screws and set them thru the top of the clamp into the conduit.

To get the angle of the monitors just right, you could consider swapping out the elbows and multiple short lengths for one long tube on each side and tweak the spacing and angle with a tube bender.
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Re: DIY Triple Monitor Stand

Postposted on Tue Mar 02, 2010 8:35 pm

I'm actually feeling better about the 45s now that I have the thing bolted to my desk (I just couldn't resist moving forward with the project). I brought a dead screen home from work that is almost exactly the same size as my new ones to check the fit and I did find out that while my makeshift VESA brackets worked after a little adjustment to the holes I drilled yesterday it turns out that the conduit hangers don't quite have the clamping force I thought they would. The problem is that the side opposite the one the bolt goes though just opens up more since it's not bolted. I could fix this with a pin or self taping screw as mentioned, but since I want to maintain some adjustment I'm going to first try a wrap or two of duct tape around the area I will put the clamp, hopefully that will add just enough friction but I could also try some grip tape as well. Oh, and I buffed up the built in threaded section of the hanger with an actual nut, that let me get enough torque that I think I could be fine without grippy stuff but I will probably add it anyway.

The pipe bending idea is another I considered briefly but I decided to go the quick and easy route to see what I learn first...

Thanks for the suggestions and feedback, really appreciate it. :)

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Re: DIY Triple Monitor Stand

Postposted on Tue Mar 02, 2010 11:05 pm

drfish wrote:I did find out that while my makeshift VESA brackets worked after a little adjustment to the holes I drilled yesterday it turns out that the conduit hangers don't quite have the clamping force I thought they would. The problem is that the side opposite the one the bolt goes though just opens up more since it's not bolted. I could fix this with a pin or self taping screw as mentioned, but since I want to maintain some adjustment I'm going to first try a wrap or two of duct tape around the area I will put the clamp, hopefully that will add just enough friction but I could also try some grip tape as well.

You could try to solder the clamps in place, that should give you the same flexibility as duct tape without the hassle and mess of unwinding 25 feet of tape each time you want to make an adjustment.
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Re: DIY Triple Monitor Stand

Postposted on Tue Mar 02, 2010 11:36 pm

Don't duct tape it. You won't like the way it turns out.

I would solder anything you really don't want moved. If you need to be able to take it apart easily, drill holes through the joints (you've severely over-built it, right?) and drop in pins. I wouldn't bother with screws, just get pins with a lock ring or maybe some kind of cotter pin. It will keep the industrial look, be cheap, and very reliable.
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Re: DIY Triple Monitor Stand

Postposted on Tue Mar 02, 2010 11:42 pm

If you're worried about the pipes unthreading themselves then you could take the rig to a welding shop & get them to put a few tack welds on there. The only caveat would be that if you want to change anything, you'd have to grind off the welds.
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Re: DIY Triple Monitor Stand

Postposted on Wed Mar 03, 2010 12:45 am

The duct tape would be for UNDER the clamp, just a wrap or to so it has something grippier to compress on than the pipe itself (maybe some rubber tubing or even a rubber band instead). I may have it welded if the pipe rotation becomes a problem (like that idea better than using goop) but I really buried those threads deep into the fittings (had lots of leverage), I'm 99% sure it will hold as is.
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Re: DIY Triple Monitor Stand

Postposted on Wed Mar 03, 2010 9:39 pm

Use blue Loctite then.
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Re: DIY Triple Monitor Stand

Postposted on Wed Mar 03, 2010 9:50 pm

Oh man, this so needs to be on http://thereifixedit.com/
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Re: DIY Triple Monitor Stand

Postposted on Thu Mar 04, 2010 10:12 am

Hey, that's not very nice, by the time it's done you won't even see the structure in normal use. :P

I'm going to skip the Loctite for now, even if it can be removed I want to maintain an even easier degree of flexibility until I'm 100% sure the setup is exactly how I want it.
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Re: DIY Triple Monitor Stand

Postposted on Thu Mar 04, 2010 3:54 pm

Pretty cool man, looking forward to seeing the finished setup :)
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Re: DIY Triple Monitor Stand

Postposted on Thu Mar 04, 2010 7:13 pm

Suggest double-stacking those outlet cover plates. I wouldn't count on just one being able to hold a monitor over time; at the very least, add a fender washer to reinforce the center of the plate around the screw hole.

Personally I would also take Hoser's suggestion for the tack-welds. You won't be able to solder anything to a galvanized steel pipe, although brazing might be an option.
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Re: DIY Triple Monitor Stand

Postposted on Thu Mar 04, 2010 7:52 pm

Try turning the outlet plates 90 degrees, then use a U-bracket like the other guys used. Ideally, it'd fit through the outlet screw holes.
You might also need a stiffener outside the plates to help make sure they don't bend and loosen under the force of the U-bracket.
This would just be a straight piece of stiff metal with holes for the U-bracket screws to pass through. The sequence of attachment
would be: bolts -> backside of outlet plate outlet screw hole -> stiffener -> U-bracket surrounding pipe -> spring washers -> nuts.

Alternately, if you don't want to get new brackets, just take some #20-24 gauge wire and wrap it around the clamps you have, where
they narrow down on the opposite side of the big screw. Wrap it around a bunch of times and then tie it off. This will prevent this
side of the clamps from spreading apart as you tighten down the screw on the other side.
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Re: DIY Triple Monitor Stand

Postposted on Fri Mar 05, 2010 8:05 am

Part of what I was trying to do here was see if this nearly completely off the shelf solution would even work at all (ask me about my DryLok and plywood aquarium). I definitely like all your ideas from a engineering quality perspective, but I set out to find a slightly unique combination of cost, functionality and easy of assembly that I hadn't seen out there yet. It could fail as it is, but I've got to try it first. ;)

The plates are quite strong but double stacking is a good idea if I need it later (and it fits with my philosophy for this build). At that point though (since I'll just want it to work) I might switch gears and get some kind of thicker gauge plate and build the whole bracket from scratch. I've got enough conduit hangers in reserve that I could also use two on each outlet plate (with the center monitor still held from just one but with a standoff of some kind bracing it from the vertical support) - however then I would lose my potential for using the displays in portrait mode. I'd like to sneak a washer between the bolt and the inside of the cover plate - but I don't think I have enough room in the depth of the cover plate to do so without it touching the back of the screen (if it becomes an issue I will get a flat head bolt I guess).

Wrapping the wire around the back of the hanger is a great idea! I'll give that a shot before I mount them tonight, I hope it works because I'd seriously prefer not to use grip tape or something on the pipe like I was talking about.
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Re: DIY Triple Monitor Stand

Postposted on Fri Mar 05, 2010 8:40 am

The slick way would be to route cables through the piping. If you could manage that it would have an incredibly slick look.
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Re: DIY Triple Monitor Stand

Postposted on Fri Mar 05, 2010 10:59 am

Someone at work mentioned that to me today, it would be cool, but maybe not worth the effort. If I was using all DisplayPort connectors maybe... But as it is I'd need like 1 1/2" pipe... Actually the new monitors are HDMI so it wouldn't need to be that large except for the power... I think it'll look pretty tidy regardless...

Packages are out for delivery... :)
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Re: DIY Triple Monitor Stand

Postposted on Fri Mar 05, 2010 7:33 pm

Why such thick pipe? Use HDMI cables with DVI converters. The setup would still be dirt cheap. You can also wire your own power cable very easily if you're handy with a soldering iron and keep your smaller. Cut U channels into one spot of the threading so the wires can slip out well. I would hope you're over-building this enough to allow such a thing.
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Re: DIY Triple Monitor Stand

Postposted on Sun Mar 07, 2010 9:47 pm

Well it's been done since about an hour after I got home on Friday but I've been so busy either tweaking it, playing on it, or being out of town today that I couldn't post until now...

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I love it! For FPS it's perfect how it is, right in your face with the perfect position on the desk to wrap around your peripheral vision (on two occasions this weekend it helped me survive and kill in TF2 when I otherwise wouldn't have). Obviously I didn't do anything with the cables but I don't really need to, it's all hidden in the back anyway and since I might modify it later I didn't want to make it too pretty.

The one tweak I want to make is for games like SupCom and Civ - for them I think the 22.5º angle may be better and I would like the whole thing moved backward maybe 6" or more so I can see what is on the other screens without turning my head. I'm pondering some different ideas for that solution, ideally it would be very simple to adjust back and forth between setups.

One other comment, SofthTH is wicked! It's by no means perfect and its game compatibility is lacking compared to Eyefinity or TH2Go but it sure gives you good taste of what the others can offer. One card does all the rendering but even with my aging 8800GTX I can play TF2 and L4D2 with max details (no AA or AF) at 5412x1050 (186x2 pixels for bezel adjustment included) while still rocking a very playable 28-35fps. I'm going to hold off on a new card for awhile longer to see how the Fermi vs. whatever ATI's refresh looks like (if they bother to have one) but I know I'm going to go for it soon - I want AA back and I want to play my other games looking this cool as well.
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Re: DIY Triple Monitor Stand

Postposted on Mon Mar 08, 2010 10:55 pm

über-FOV FTW!

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Last edited by drfish on Wed Mar 10, 2010 10:59 am, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: DIY Triple Monitor Stand

Postposted on Tue Mar 09, 2010 8:53 am

That stretch looks weird. You almost need three separate planes of view.
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Re: DIY Triple Monitor Stand

Postposted on Tue Mar 09, 2010 9:34 am

Awesome Job!.

I love the image properties.

Image Dimensions 1082px × 210px


lol
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Re: DIY Triple Monitor Stand

Postposted on Tue Mar 09, 2010 9:47 am

SpotTheCat wrote:That stretch looks weird. You almost need three separate planes of view.


It looks normal when its at an angle in your peripheral vision.
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Re: DIY Triple Monitor Stand

Postposted on Tue Mar 09, 2010 11:09 am

Indeed it does. The stuff I can't get to work with SoftTH is the stuff I'm most curious about though, SupCom, CivIV, and Dawn of Discovery are all isometric games that won't distort like that but I can't get any of them to work with this setup - will have to wait for a real Eyefinity rig...
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Re: DIY Triple Monitor Stand

Postposted on Mon Mar 15, 2010 6:14 pm

Small modification I did yesterday, attached the whole stand to a base instead of having it bolted to my desk. I'm liking it a lot better further back but I have the option to move it around a bit if so desired. This setup is going to be a lot better for general use and for non-FPS games. The base was an old section of my desk that I wasn't using anymore so it worked out perfect.

Also also included some shots I took from L4D2. :)

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Re: DIY Triple Monitor Stand

Postposted on Thu Sep 16, 2010 1:24 pm

drfish wrote:Small modification I did yesterday, attached the whole stand to a base instead of having it bolted to my desk. I'm liking it a lot better further back but I have the option to move it around a bit if so desired. This setup is going to be a lot better for general use and for non-FPS games. The base was an old section of my desk that I wasn't using anymore so it worked out perfect.

Also also included some shots I took from L4D2. :)

Image



I like it! nice job! I made an entire desk for my Eyefinity setup.


http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=pQM7ntiIPnw

(skip to the end to avoid some cheesy music and talking haha)

I do like the pipe look a lot and may have gone with that if I saw this before!
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