Retractable IPad Dock For The Kitchen

[Evan Flint] and his wife use a lot of online recipes in the kitchen. Rather than printing them out, they bought an iPad as a cooking companion. But in their cramped kitchen he needed to find a place for the high-end hardware that is out-of-the-way yet accessible. Some head scratching and parts bin diving led to this under-cabinet iPod dock.

The dock itself is a cradle made out of sheet aluminum. After cutting to shape, [Evan] bent up the sides and bottom to center the iPad. Since this is not a permanent fixture he needed to make the cradle collapsible. He used a CAD program to design the base tray to let the cradle lay flat, while giving several options to the angle when it is in use. Once the cooking is done just fold it up and the drawer slides make for easy under-cabinet storage.

Because he doesn’t own the house he didn’t want to make permanent alterations to the cabinet. But he does lament the unfinished look of the drawer slides. We’d just grab some pre-finished oak crown molding from the home store and wrap the entire thing. The left-edge of molding could slide out with the cradle when in use.

17 thoughts on “Retractable IPad Dock For The Kitchen

    1. Yeah, if it were sunk back a bit, with some appropriately stained wood trim, it wouldn’t look so out of place.

      Also I meant to hit reply, but hit “report” instead. Mods: I don’t think the comment is offensive. :P

    2. I was also thinking than Evan wasn’t married. I can just see it now – what is the industrial looking bracket is attached to the kitchen. If you but a molding piece in front of it or something it might be okaye for a couple of weeks.

    1. Yes, that is simple, more elegant and has more functionality.

      I can’t see the DIY version here contribute anything useful to the kitchen apart from a being a novelty. Rigid position, awkward angle and ugliness do not make it great.

  1. That looks like a nice set of mechanics – the kind of thing that’s easy to sketch and hard to arrange. I would suggest a bit of thought about steam and condensation; it would be really annoying to kill the iPad with the very cooking it is helping with.

  2. Am I the only one who thinks this is pointless? Almost all recipes can be written down on a 3×5 card and kept forever. Requires no power to use, is easy to browse, and you can carry and put it anywhere.

    1. While I agree that 3×5 cards are a reasonable way of keeping recipies, I would prefer this (or some other, electronic method) for the following reasons:

      * I will “grab” many more recipies, than I would ever make. If I see a recipie that sounds good, I will make a copy, and then I someday, I will look through my list to decide what sounds good NOW. I may never make many of the recipies I collect.

      * I can keep ALL of my recipies in one place, And they stay there. My wife has a large collection of 3×5 recipie cards. When she wants to make that recipie, the card comes out of the book, she makes the recipie, and, IF the card gets back into the book, it winds up in the front of the book, loose, along with a couple dozen others.

      * I can index one recipie under several different catagories (ie: chicken, Chinese, spicy, quick cooking time, etc)

      * The cards tend to get lost and/or dirty. Old bits of food can get into what I’m cooking now. Yuck.

      * I don’t have several differing versions floating around.

      * I can easily add comments, changes, and variations.

      * Most of the reasons that source code should be left in the computer rather than printed out (version control, backups, etc).

      * I can print out any recipie I want, any time I want.

      Some people prefer to use cards, and that is fine. I just prefer to keep data in a data-friendly format.

      1. Also worth mentioning is that many recipe-management applications and websites allow you to find recipes based on available ingredients, which is something that is not feasible with paper. (Ever try implementing a proper tagging system in a filebox? :P)
        Besides, it will go well with your Samsung Linux fridge (it’s real, but I’m kidding).

        In any case, the design looks pretty slick. aesthetics can always be improved afterwards, but this looks like it solves their problem nicely. :)

  3. This is a great idea, I wonder if you could rig up a platform that could hide in the space that exists under many cabinets. I’m thinking you could use sliders in the exact same way, just with another set of hinged supports that allow you do fold it up into that space.

    Going to try to capture this with ascii art…

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    1. I don’t recall if it was covered on Hack a Day or not, but I did see news of a hospital in Toronto that made use ofthe Open Source Kinect drivers to allow surgeons to pull up documents and medical scans with hand gestures while they were operation on a patient. Obviously that wouldn’t work with the iPad, but something like that might be an interesting idea to explore. All you’d really need for this (at minimum) is a touchless page up/down control, which could be implemented with something much more simple than a depth-mapped computer vision system.

  4. I considered putting a computer in the kitchen for recipes, but I decided against it. Instead I tacked up a binder clip to the lip under the cabinet (hidden) and printed out the recipes I wanted.

    No worries about messing up an expensive piece of hardware. Printing was cheap on the laser printer I had at the time.

    Still, if you really want an ipad in the kitchen, this looks like a sturdy way to do it.

  5. This looks like a bad idea, although extremely well executed. The underside of kitchen cabinets are awful for the accumulation of steam and other detritus of cooking, particularly in smaller kitchens. A thin film of oil forms, trapping dirt. Almost impossible to clean off, no matter how you try.

    1. That’s not right, you can clean off that weird layer of greasy dirt using degreaser… If you can’t find any simple green or similar degreaser locally you can use citric acid, like a lemon or grape fruit. Automotive sections have engine degreaser that works really well, plus most dish soap cuts that crap easily.

    2. Really – you live in such a pristine state of cleanliness that you’re concerned about dirt that accumulates on the UNDERSIDE of kitchen cabinets and how said dirt might somehow infiltrate an iPad hung under the cabinet?

      That’s ridiculous. Unless you use it as a chopping board, the iPad is not going to break under any reasonable usage scenario in the kitchen.

      And even if it did – so what? People who dedicate an iPad to a glorified recipe card box are not likely to lament the loss of essentially disposable income for long. In fact, they’ll probably buy a replacement…

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