April 7, 2017

At the studio, most workstations are equipped with a 22HD Wacom Cintiq so that the artists can draw digitally on a secondary display, and each Cintiq is connected to an Ergotron arm.  We've found that the Ergotron arm allows for much more natural positions of the screen than the stand that comes with the monitor.  I was very excited to try out the new Wacom Cintiq Pro 16" display since it claimed to have 4K resolution, and the new "Pro" line would have better pen pressure sensitivity, no parallax, etc.  However, once it came I was bummed to find out that there was no VESA mounting holes on the back - meaning no way to connect it to my Ergotron arm!

The Cintiq comes with little "feet" that can push out on the bottom so that you can angle it up a few inches off your desk while drawing on it.  However, there's no way to attach it to an arm so that you can easily position it upright next to your primary monitor and use as a bright crisp 4K secondary monitor.  That's when I started to think about what I could possibly build to cradle the display and also attach to my Ergotron arm.  Matt Barrera, one of the all-star animators here who at the time was working with our team to complete a project for the new Samsung S8, suggested building a frame out of wood that could hold the display and also attach to the arm.

"..once it came I was bummed to find out that there was no VESA mounting holes on the back - meaning no way to connect it to my Ergotron arm!"

I started by figuring out the dimensions of the pieces I would need to cut by building a simple model in Maya.  The back of the Cintiq is slopped to where it's much thinner on the bottom than at the top, so I needed to figure out a way to have my mount hold the screen snuggly without there being a gap in depth and allowing it to fall around in the cradle.  While in Maya I figured that if I put a small lip towards the bottom that I could slide the screen in front of, it'd hold it perfectly in place.

Next step was to buy the lumbar and make the cuts.  Then I was careful to sand everything thoroughly, then stain, then sand again, then coat, then sand one more time so that it'd be smooth as glass and comfortable to work on when drawing.

Finally, I installed 4 t-nuts into the back of the holder that would line up with the Ergotron screws.

Once it was all put together and finished I slid the Cintiq in through the top and tested it out.  It works great!  It matches well with the stained wood top of my desk and allows me to swing the display into whichever position I prefer, whether it's down low for drawing, or upright and to the side of my primary monitor.  I also found that I can rest the Wacom ExpressKey in the lower corner while drawing and it's a natural position for me to have my thumb on the controls there.

Overall I'm really happy with it and hope that others looking for a similar solution may find this helpful in building their own!

by Brian Covalt

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