LCD Monitor Stands Very Inexpensively

Regular readers know that I’m the IT Support Department for St. John’s Episcopal School and Church. Since I am a volunteer, the budget for the IT Department is also pretty low. I buy parts when I need to, but will re-use, salvage, and scrounge when able.

It is even so when it came to some LCDs we had donated from the company of one of our patrons. We got about 40 LCDs. Some of them had plastic/metal stands, most of them were attached to swinging arms that bolt to a desktop. Nine of the LCDs had nothing. These were all Dell LCDs in the 17″ and 19″ class.

I went online to look for stands. YIKES! I found stands on eBay for $100+. EACH. Retail, the stands were $220+. Clearly, something else needed to be done. I took a close look at the plastic/metal stands and got the idea I could replicate them. The thing I realized was that the center of gravity of the LCD had to be over the center of the base. Once I got that idea in my head, I went out to the garage and built a prototype in about a half hour. Total cost in materials was about $6.

The tradeoff is that the monitor will not tilt up and down. It swings left to right easily by moving the base. Up and down can be compensated for by increasing or decreasing the arm of the stand.

The stand has three parts:

The base is at the lower left, the arm to the right, and the plate at the upper left.

The base is made from 1/2″ or 3/4″ thick MDF, about 6″ x 12″ (plywood would work as well). The arm is made from a 2×4, and is 12″ to 14″ long. The critical part is the plate. The plate has to fit into a recessed area on the back of the LCD. There are four screws that attach the plate to the LCD. The plate for the Dell LCDs measures 4-5/8″ square. I used one of the Dell metal plates for the template. This is the Dell plate:

My first plate was made out of 3/4″ MDF. When I drilled the holes for the screws through it, it was so close to the edge that the MDF delaminated (if I had a sacrificial surface like a scrap of wood underneath it probably would have been a clean drill). I changed over to #2 1x wood for the rest of the plates; I used a 1×6 that I cut down to the right size.

Cut all the pieces out. I used a table saw, but a hand saw, jig saw, or circular saw would also work. The only critical tolerances are for the plate. The Dells have a recessed area; the minimum cut has to have room for the four mounting bolts, some extra, but not any bigger than the recessed area.

Drill four holes for the mounting bolts (I used a 1/8″ drill bit for all of this; the drill bit was sized based on the holes in the corners of the metal Dell plate). Also drill four holes in the center part of the plate for the screws that will hold the plate to the arm (those screws are visible in the photo below).

Drill a couple holes in the base (I held the arm on top of the base and drew its outline); I used three screws.

As Norm Abrams would say, now for some assembly! I used 1-1/4″ drywall screws for the assembly. First, drive screws through the base into the bottom of the arm (after this, you will see why I used three of them). Next, position the plate on the arm and drive screws through the four holes into the arm.

It should look like this:

That’s some good work, isn’t it?

Paint the stands if you want. I painted them with a couple coats of black oil-based acrylic.

To attach the LCD, get bolts of the right length, run them through some washers, then through the wooden mounting plate to the nuts in the LCD, and tighten them down. The bolts that came with the LCDs were metric, M4.7 x 8mm, which were too short for the 3/4″ thickness of the plate. I went to Home Depot and bought sets of M4.7 x 25mm ($1.37 per pair).

So the total cost of each stand was about $6 for each stand. The biggest cost was the four metric bolts at just under $3. The rest of the cost was seven 1-1/4″ drywall screws, and a quart of paint (the single biggest cost at $12, of which I used about 1/3).

The stands are sturdy and don’t look too bad. I ran some coarse sandpaper over the edges to ease them a little.

This is what one looks like assembled:

This was a fun little project that got some small pieces of 2×4, 1×6, and MDF out of my garage. The total time to to cut and assemble the pieces was less than 45 minutes. Painting was quick; the time for the two coats of paint to dry was a lot longer than cut and assemble.

And I saved us about $1200!

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One Response to “LCD Monitor Stands Very Inexpensively”

  1. Raegan Says:

    They look good, too.

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