Introduction: Amplifier Dock
Amplifier Dock is a hybrid of DIY and industrial design that combines a found object with parts custom fabricated from readily accessible materials. Unlike similar consumer products, Amplifier Dock is meant to be manufactured and eventually discarded with minimal production of waste.
Step 1: Materials and Tools
The material count and skill level necessary to make this project are both pretty low. That being said...you will need access to a pretty decent wood shop. Okay, here's exactly what you'll need:
• Ceramic cereal bowl about 6.25" diameter and 2.5" height
• 2 10-32 thread 1" length flat head phillips machine screws
• 2 10-32 thread wood tee nuts
• A small piece of 1/8" thick wool felt, at least 2.5" sq
• A block of hardwood you can cut down to 16" x 2.3" x 3/8"
• A $.10 dime (totally serious)
• Wood planer
• Table saw
• Chop saw
• Belt or disc sander
• Drill press
• Drill bits
• Forstner bit,
• Countersink bit
• Calipers or tape measure
• Block sander
• Medium and fine grit sand paper
• Wood glue
• Craft glue
• Mallet or dead blow hammer
• X-acto knife
• Metal ruler
• Masking tape
• Phillips head screw driver
Here's where I got my bowl and wool felt:
Step 2: Plane Hardwood Block to 3/8" Thickness
The hardwood clamp, which holds onto the front lip of the ceramic bowl, is comprised of 3 parts: the base, a spacer, and the cap. All three parts are the same thickness, so you can make them from one 3/8" piece.
First order of business: plane to 3/8".
Step 3: Cut to 2.3" Width
The hardwood clamp is meant to create a flowing line directly to the point at which it touches the iPhone/iPod touch. That is why it's measured to 2.3", the precise width of an iPhone/iPod touch.
Use a table saw to cut your 3/8" piece to a 2.3" width.
Step 4: Cut the Base, Spacer, and Cap
Use a chop/miter saw to cut your block into the three separate pieces, which will become the base, spacer, and cap. 6" for the base, 2.3" for the cap, and 1" for the spacer. Make sure to account for blade thickness when measuring and cutting your pieces.
I have provided a technical drawing (.jpeg and .pdf) to serve as a reference for the coming measurements and cuts.
Step 5: Countersink Base for Tee Nuts
Use the technical drawing to mark holes on the bottom of the base. Now you're ready to grab your fortsner bit and carve out a small countersink using a drill press. This is will make the head of those tee nuts nice and flush to the bottom of the base.
Step 6: Drill Out the Base
Now you're ready to drill out the holes for the tee nuts to slot through. Use a 1/4" bit here. Pretty straight forward.
Step 7: Countersink the Cap
Being mindful of the grain, take your three pieces and sandwich them together with some masking tape. Transfer them into the vice with a piece of scrap wood underneath.
**Insert your wood sandwich into the vice (base side up) and use a small bit to drill a pilot hole all the way through from base to the cap first. This will save you from having to measure again onto the cap like I did.
Now flip your wood sandwich right side up, get your countersink bit, and carefully drill out countersink holes in the cap for the flat head screws.
Step 8: Drill Through All
Ok, you're finally ready to drill through all three pieces and make the holes for the machine screws. A 3/16" bit will do the job. Line it up, nice and easy.
Step 9: Insert Tee Nuts
You're all set to make metal meet wood. Insert your tee nuts into the bottom of the base one at a time, making sure to position them so that the prongs face as far from the front edge as possible (this will prevent splitting). Use a mallet or dead blow hammer and a piece of scrap wood to hammer the tee nuts until they sit flush with the bottom of the base.
Step 11: Round the Corners
It's coming together now! Go ahead and stack the cap on top, insert the machine screws, and see how it looks!
It just so happens that the rounded corners on an iPhone/iPod are almost exactly the same size as a US dime. Grab ten cents and trace around the four corners of the cap and rear 2 corners of the base. Use a belt or disc sander to carefully sand down your corner. Remove the cap to hit its rear corners.
Step 12: Sand It Smooth
Use a block sander and hit the curves, edges, and surfaces with medium/low and then fine grit sand paper until you get a nice smooth finish. **Leave the edges on the spacer square to maintain a seamless transition between the three stacked pieces.
Step 13: Cut Wool Felt Square
Using an X-acto blade with a sharp blade and the cap as a template, cut out a rounded 2.3" square from your wool felt.
Step 14: Glue Wool Felt to Cap
Use craft glue to attach your rounded wool felt square to the bottom of the cap. The wool will act as a bushing between the cap and base, creating a nice tight grip onto the lip of the ceramic bowl. Wait a few minutes for the blue to bond.
Step 15: Poke
Use an awl, or similarly pointy thing to poke holes through the wool from the cap.