Howard Bentley creates a neat instrument panel from a low-cost Ikea tablet stand
Last year, having put a couple of instruments on my Christmas list – a battery monitor and a Navtex receiver – I was delighted when Santa duly delivered them in my stocking. However, I then faced the issue of where to place them, since the cabinet space around the chart table was already full. There was an area where they could go by the chart table, but no suitable surface to mount them on.
I spotted the solution during a coincidental visit to IKEA – an iPad/tablet stand called ‘Rimforsa’, made from a tough bamboo ply. Amazingly, the dimensions exactly matched that of the two instruments in width, and there was plenty of depth between the front face and back riser to allow for the workings of the instruments inside. Another bonus was the bent lip at the base which allows the stand to be attached to a surface beneath, as well as providing a place to keep pencils etc. Rimforsa is supplied with a stainless steel hanger which can be used to wall-mount the stand, if so desired.
First I stained the light bamboo with a dark Danish oil to bring the tone closer to that of my boat interior. Then I made the cuts in the front face to mount the instruments using a Dremel with a cutting wheel. I could have used a jigsaw, but was concerned that the blade would make contact with the rear riser behind. I was surprised at the tough and robust nature of the bamboo ply – my original thoughts about potentially needing reinforcement proved unfounded.
After mounting the instruments, there remained adequate space for wires and leads to be attached, inside the stand. Excluding the price of the instruments (and the rest of the bill in IKEA!) the total for the job came to £10. The end result not only puts the instruments right where I wanted them, but also saved making big holes in the cherry woodwork somewhere else in the boat. Perfect!
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