This gadget is a useful ‘3rd hand’. It has developed over the years I have been using TheoLt for live CAD capture from TST. It has changed according to the size and weight of field computer, early models were sheet steel with a slot and tab brace to take the weight of devices like the Hammerhead, Motion Computing or Fujitsu Stylistic tablet PCs. This one is for the Surface Go which is a neat device once encased in its UAG shell.
It is made up from common hardware at minimal cost: the only special item is the Cateye lamp clip. The clip can be replaced with a tape measure steel belt clip but the nylon of the Cateye is kinder to the paint on the tripod acessory slot. As tablets get thinner, lighter and screens brighter the support required became modest. 25mm plastic ‘L’ section is plenty to hold both the Surface 4 and the Go. Viewing angles are not as critical as they were, the main consideration now is finding an angle to avoid glare.
The lighter weight means the strut can be simply gripped to the tripod dowels but, as not all ‘pods are the same a variable fixing is called for. Plumbing pipe clips grip the dowels beautifully are but getting them spaced correctly for a selection of tripod sizes proved a headache. I came up with a rubber (from a bike inner tube) pressure plate and a velcro strap which, although fiddly, works.
- Ally strip 23mm x 120mm x 2mm
- 2x 40mm hinges, brassed steel
- 2x plastic L section 25mm x 2,5mm
- Cateye clip
- 10x 5mm snap rivets
- 4x 3mm snap rivets
- weight = 140g
The hinge detail is important. If a fixed clip is used it becomes very difficult to clip the bracket to the tripod. Even with the hinge it is still possible to snap the clip if care is not taken un-hooking it from the acessory slot.
TheoLt will work over Bluetooth but I prefer a USB cable for the interface as this increases battery life. The Surface Go is good for 6 hours with the WiFi, Bluetooth off and screen brightness down. So far I have not resorted to an anti-glare filter on the screen but this may change when the sun comes out.
I gave up long ago the idea of a ‘universal’ bracket, the host of adjustments needed makes such items bulky and awkward to build. There are a number made for ipads, mostly to fit car seat headrests and a few for mike stands; they tend to be fragile, expensive and not fit survey tripods too well.