Several customers asked about adding landscape functionality to the popular Vertical Surface Dock. Here is a quick build guide for enabling landscape mode with a few additional parts.
But before you get started, check out the latest demo video showing what’s possible with the improvements:
Part 1 – additional support
Because the Vertical Surface Dock is designed around laser-cutting and 3D-printing, it is relatively simple to design add-on parts. The challenge is designing parts that fit with the product vision of best-in-class ergonomics and simple docking and undocking.
Below is a photo of four 3D printed parts. The bottom two are regular flat M4 nutbars which have shipped with every kit since day one and are still checked into GitHub for folks that build the product themselves. These are used to secure the dock to a VESA arm. There are two extended nutbars which provide additional support for landscape mode:
Here is a close up of the two extended nutbars. Above is the Surface Pro 3 nutbar and below is the Surface Pro 4/Surface Pro 2017 nutbar. The shapes are contoured to the different tablet profiles:
If you have a Surface Pro 3 use this nutbar in the top position to enable landscape docking:
If you have a Surface Pro 4 or Surface Pro 2017 use this nutbar in the top position to enable landscape docking:
Surface Pro 3 nutbar mounted:
Surface Pro 3 nutbar mounted (alternate view):
Surface Pro 4 nutbar mounted:
Surface Pro 4 nutbar mounted (alternate view):
Part 2 – More clamping force
The extended nutbars in Part 1 provide much needed stability when using the tablet in landscape mode. But in order to keep the tablet securely connected to the 40-pin Surflink docking Connector, a little more clamping force is needed on the other axis.
Enter industrial elastic bands.
Industrial bands may not the prettiest choice, but they sure are durable and work great! I evaluated several approaches including metal springs, dampers, magnets, and mechanical locks. This approach was the simplest, least expensive, and most durable. Simply wrap the band around the pivot point of your VESA arm and over top of the dock as follows.
EPDM latex-free industrial elastic band wrapped around VESA arm pivot:
Elastic band tied around itself into a knot:
Expanding the elastic band over the top of the dock:
Elastic band set in the divot on the lock:
Here is the undocked view showing the elastic and the extended nutbar in the top position:
If your product was shipped prior to the availability of these improved parts, send us a note and we’ll make sure you get updated parts.