In Development - Seat Back Tablet Holder

RWerksman

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Hello again my dudes!

In early August the family and I took a road trip from Pittsburgh to the Outer Banks. This 500 mile trip was a pretty stark example of a few things that were missing from my R1T. The most glaring thing from the trip was the lack of cupholders. After working on them a few weeks, they were released both in STL printable format, and for purchase on RIVIPARTS. Both feedback and sales volume has been good, and I'm ready to move on to the next item that was on my list.

The next item that I've actively been working on is a tablet or phone holder that attaches to the rear of the front two seats.

Typically, these tablet holders are two parts. One part is a bar fits between the two pegs for the front seat headrest. This bit is typically held in place by pressure, pushing from between those two posts outward. It basically creates a mounting location. The second bit is the holder itself. These holders tend to utilize the standardized 17 mm ball mount in many cases.

Unfortunately, the seats installed in our Rivians don't have adjustable headrests. This means that the most common tablet mounts just simply won't work. As of today, you'll have to either strap the tablet around the front of the seat (which can chafe the top of the seating surface) or mutilate an off-the-shelf product and hope that it would work.

I wanted to find a better way. These were my requirements:
  1. Simple installation - The mount should quickly hook or hang right on the back of the seat.
  2. Elegant - It must retain access to both the USB-C charging point, and ideally the hook.
  3. Flexible - It should support multiple different mounts.
  4. Compact - When not installed, it must be easily storable.
  5. Economical - Cheap to print or to purchase.
  6. Durable - Kids will be using it and they will unintentionally try to break it.

This is what I've come up with:
Screen Shot 2022-10-15 at 11.30.48 PM.jpg

1665891057142.png


It's a mount that installs over the hook on the back of the seat. It's purposefully designed to use multiple surfaces of the hook for stability. The result seems to be amount that is extremely secure for a 100% plastic implementation.

Under the hook is a slightly skewed app and more shallow 17 mm ball mount. This ball mound is as big as it can conceivably get for use in a variety of tablet holders. It's deliberately slightly oversized to give whatever mount is hanging off of it the maximum amount of clamping pressure. The ball is also as close as possible to the mounting plate in an attempt to keep tablets close and reduce torque from the sway that happens as the vehicles go over bumps.

This mount is just one part of the solution for mounting a tablet or phone on the back of the front seats. You would need a holder. I've been testing with this:

61qWCHBdwRL.jpg


It's one of the best selling holders on Amazon, and the 8000+ reviews are spot on - it's excellent for $18. It even has Compass Yellow accents on it. In our application, the rear bit with the hooks can be discarded and the holder will mount directly to the Rivian specific part. A phone or tablet can be mounted by pulling the Compass Yellow ropes and clamping the phone in the holder - it's spring loaded.


So - where do we go from here?

I have more prototyping to do. I've completed 5 generations of it already and have a sixth on the printer now -- this one is the first one with the 17MM ball mount included. From there I have to dial it in a bit by tweaking tolerances to ensure the best possible fit. I will then have to revise it a bit to smooth out in a sharp edges, and perhaps adjust some things to ensure easy printing and manufacturing. Best case - this will take a few days.

From there, I think I would like to get a few of these out in the wild to gather feedback. If you are interested in one, please post in this thread. I thinking I may do a limited beta test with a handful of folks who really want to see something like this.

Assuming that all goes well, my intention is to both post the file, so you can print one yourself, and batch produce these for folks who do not have a 3d printer, like I've done in the past. If I hustle, and things go well, I'd really like to be able to ship them on Black Friday for use in traveling for Christmas or as a present. The thought of making the ride to Grammy's house on Christmas a bit nicer for kids makes me feel good.


Anyway, feedback is welcome. Please post your interest. Don't forget to watch this thread as I'll hopefully be posting installed pictures very, very soon.

 
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RWerksman

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Within a month...SooN?.....or Rivian SooN?
Assuming no show stoppers - yes, yes, and only to Kyle Conner because he knows a guy, not because he is an influencer, everyone he knows knows a guy, and he don't talk about pricing.

😁
 
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RWerksman

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Below are photos of the latest prototype:

IMG_0895.JPG

IMG_0897.JPG

IMG_0898.JPG


A few notes:
  • This is 100% functional at this point, but there are loads of small tweaks needed to sizing to ensure this is optimized. For instance, the tolerances are a bit too tight and it's causing the tablet to not lay as flush as what I want it to.
  • I think I'm going to change up how the ball mounts on it to be bolted through. I'm concerned with strength of the ball if kids really yank on it. Having that steel bolt through it will help in that regard.
  • I also need to work through production issues too - the amount of supports needed in printing these is entirely too damn high.
  • I can confirm a 2 second remove and that it fits in the pocket at the bottom of the rear door.
  • LOVING the Compass Yellow accent on the holder that I selected.
  • My 10 year old saw it and was SUPER excited about having it. I thought he was going to be down for it, not this much though.
 

Christopher

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I just mounted a tablet today using a magnetic mount. As I was doing it, I was thinking to myself "I can't believe there isn't a mount that Rivian sells and just clips over the hook behind the seat."

I was thinking a universal ball mount such as the ones from RAM Mounts would be great, but I am worried about how much closer the tablet is to the face with the ball mounts. The magnetic ones are low profile so it's a few inches further from the face and it looks much cleaner.

Maybe you can just make a plate that we can slide over the hook and screw or 3M VHB anything we want to the plate.

This is a Samsung Galaxy Tab 7 FE 12.4"

PXL_20221016_230704478.jpg

PXL_20221016_230809132.jpg

PXL_20221016_231048225.jpg
 


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Below are photos of the latest prototype:

IMG_0895.JPG

IMG_0897.JPG

IMG_0898.JPG


A few notes:
  • This is 100% functional at this point, but there are loads of small tweaks needed to sizing to ensure this is optimized. For instance, the tolerances are a bit too tight and it's causing the tablet to not lay as flush as what I want it to.
  • I think I'm going to change up how the ball mounts on it to be bolted through. I'm concerned with strength of the ball if kids really yank on it. Having that steel bolt through it will help in that regard.
  • I also need to work through production issues too - the amount of supports needed in printing these is entirely too damn high.
  • I can confirm a 2 second remove and that it fits in the pocket at the bottom of the rear door.
  • LOVING the Compass Yellow accent on the holder that I selected.
  • My 10 year old saw it and was SUPER excited about having it. I thought he was going to be down for it, not this much though.
This is great work! Thank you for the labor and care you’re putting into the project!
 
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RWerksman

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I just mounted a tablet today using a magnetic mount. As I was doing it, I was thinking to myself "I can't believe there isn't a mount that Rivian sells and just clips over the hook behind the seat."

I was thinking a universal ball mount such as the ones from RAM Mounts would be great, but I am worried about how much closer the tablet is to the face with the ball mounts. The magnetic ones are low profile so it's a few inches further from the face and it looks much cleaner.

Maybe you can just make a plate that we can slide over the hook and screw or 3M VHB anything we want to the plate.
We're pretty close in our thinking. I've been tweaking the mount around a bit to separate it into two pieces - the ball and the hanger. Here is where I currently am:

1665978881592.png


This does a few things:
  • With a fastener, it makes the whole assembly much stronger.
  • It allows easier production, with vastly fewer supports. (seriously - 2/3 the material and half the time to print)
  • It provides flat surface to someone who doesn't want to use a ball mount. I wouldn't say that it's tremendously big, but it should be more than enough surface area for 3M tape. (area below the large hanger opening, with the hole in the center)
1665979193333.png


I've also done my best to create a low-profile ball mount. The off-the-shelf models extended WAY too far and the one that I've created is literally just far enough to allow swiveling up/down left/right of the holder. (only 23MM) Regardless, I'm still going to strongly insist that it be removed when not in use.

1665979355801.png
 

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Posting to follow.
 
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RWerksman

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A few updates:

Design of the part has been progressing. Tolerances are getting close. Rough edges have been rounded. The mounting ball has been spaced correctly to ensure the M5X25 bolt that I've chosen is flush on the side of the mount where it might bump into the wood. I've also made a cut out to ensure that the mount can easily be removed when a cable is installed.

Here is what the design currently looks like:

1666549686326.png


I've also printed a prototype of it. Here is what it looks like:

IMG_0906.JPG

IMG_0907.JPG

IMG_0908.JPG

IMG_0911.JPG


This is what it looks like compared to the last prototype:

IMG_0912.JPG


There have been quite a few revisions over the last few weeks. These are just the printed prototypes:

IMG_0914.JPG


So, where do we go from here?
  • There are still a few tweaks that I want to do, mainly from a production perspective.
  • I'm still debating on redesigning the ball itself. If you really wrench down on the holder and start cranking left over and over, you can force unscrew the ball from the mount. 50/50 on this.

I think that I want to get a few of these out in the field. If you think that you'll be able to sue one consistently and are willing to provide feedback, please PM me. I'll send you one for free if you cover shipping. You'll also need a holder - I suggest the one from earlier in the thread. 2-3 people would be great.
 

Christopher

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I'd be interested in providing feedback. My tablet just fell off the back because the hot Florida heat softened the adhesive of the magnetic mount. I leave the tablet on the back 24/7.

When the mount attaches, does the back of it rest on the seat or any trim? I'm wondering if it does and over time it would scratch the back of the seat seat. If so, I'd be putting on some felt padding behind it.
 


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RWerksman

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Update:

At this point I believe I have a production intent design.

1667357011718.png


There have been numerous design enhancements since the last time that I posted. Some of the larger ones are:
  • Overhauled small dimensions everywhere for the best possible fit onto the hook on the back of the rear seats. The goal is eliminate any 'hot spots' during mounting. It needs to be tight, but not too tight, especially on any surfaces that are visible.
  • Overhauled how the ball mounts to the hanger plate. On earlier versions, you could use the table holder as leverage to unscrew the ball, which is somewhat less than ideal. I've solved the issue with the introduction of two Delrin dowel pins which are captured on all sides. This was the optimal solution as the ball needed to be printed separately due manufacturability concerns, and a single dowel deformed the PETG if you really cranked on it.
  • Location of the ball mount and T-nut have been raised a bit. This is to ensure the material making slight contact with the back of the seat below the hook is a plastic bit - not metal.
  • I've fixed the cutout to the top so that you can actually install or deinstall it even when a USB-C cable is installed, not just be frustrated because it looks like you can. 😁
  • Corners are now rounded and contours have been added to make it look / feel better and more closely follow the design cues of the seat back.
A few more photos of current prototype (edit - it's the second to most recent):

IMG_0977.JPG

IMG_0978.JPG

IMG_0979.JPG

IMG_0980.JPG


Where we go from here:

I'd like know how many folks would be interested in this. The more people, the cheaper it is as my costs come down based on volume. I'm really hoping to get this somewhere in the $12 range, which will place a complete tablet holder (this mount + the thing to clap onto a tablet) at around $25 all in.

If you're interested, please post here. My hope is to make this an ongoing, low cost, option for Rivian owners to purchase going forward. As always, I'll be posting the STLs and links to the other parts needed so you can print one up for free if you have a 3D printer.

Installed pictures shortly... (although it looks very similar to what was posted above)
 
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RWerksman

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Big Update:

I've finished development of the RIVIPARTS Seat Back Tablet and Phone Mount and it's now IN PRODUCTION! Thanks to everyone who has helped with testing and provided feedback, both public and private. I really, really appreciate the assist!

Overview Video:


Purchasable Here:
https://riviparts.com/#seatback
Ordering opens on Wednesday, November 9th.
Orders will ship within 10 days after that.

Download and Print Here:
https://www.thingiverse.com/thing:5614900

There are a few other parts you'll need to assemble this yourself:
  1. One T5x25mm flathead bolt (available many places)
  2. One low profile T-nut (I use these, but ordered direct from the source vendor.)
  3. Two dowel pins - 1/4" long 3/32" diameter (https://www.mcmaster.com/97155A314/)
 
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RWerksman

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Videos in action:

RIVIPARTS Tablet 1.gif

RIVIPARTS Tablet 2.gif

RIVIPARTS Tablet 3.gif
 

 
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