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I know there are a million different DIY guides to taming all the chargers, wall warts, and tangles of wires associated with portable devices. The problems with most are that they are either

a. more focused on hiding the chargers than making life easier

b. expensive

c. craptacularly hideous

d. all of the above.

Essentially, for anyone who wants to make a cool*, cheap, and easy docking station for their electronic doo-dads, rock on.

*if you are expecting your P.D.C. to charge, play, and manipulate your device, you may be a little crestfallen by my instructable, but hey, it's my first one!

Step 1: Materials:

A few of the essentials:

1 Glue Gun (w/ glue sticks..)

1 (Preferrably SHARP) Box Cutter

1 Pair of Scissors

A handful of Zip Ties (smaller the better)

The specialty items:

1 FOAM "ergonomic keyboard wristrest" (Gel is possible, but a little too soft)

1 sheet of craft foam (mine came attatched to the wristrest)

1 charger that fits your device of choice

1 device.

Step 2: Adapting the Cradle

Unless your cell phone is a field radio, a full wrist rest is a little excessive for one project. Thusly, we must cut the thing into a piece that fits our needs.

First, determine which way your device will mount. My iPod is via the port sous la derriere (on the bottom?). This will dictate the necessary size of your principal form.

My iPod is a nano, so it doesn't weigh much, and didn't need a big base. My g/f's 30G is far too large for this dock, and would require a re-design. Consider your needs before beginning to cut ANYTHING out of the foam, it's sort of a one shot deal.

****I apologize for some of the cheese graphics, but I've already completed the final product, but I still want it to be my first instructable. My next one will hopefully be written alongside the project****

Step 3: Incorporating the Charger

The next step is really a lot of fun, because the simplicity will astound you, and the overall sexiness of the final product begins to become very apparent.

Once you have figured out how your dock will "sit", you can do two things:

1. Decide how deep your device will sit in the dock, then cut that portion out. (Top view)

2. Cut a shallow groove, as well as a small hole through the bottom of the dock to insert the wiring.

(Not necessarily in that order, but it makes things easier.)

Step 4: Yay! More Foam!

Before we begin finalizing this project by way of hot glue, there are a few more steps, and a few more things to avoid...

First, once your "cradle" has been cut out of the base, it will likely be a little rough, as the first cut is never perfect. FEAR NOT! we have the technology, we can make it look good again.

Remember that other sheet of foam? Chances are, if you frequent this website, you know where I'm going with this...

Simply cut the sheet into a square small enough to cover the most visible surface of the removed area (fig.1)

NOTE: These two surfaces (foam & foam) are fiends for hot glue, as in, glue it ONCE, cause you're gonna be RIPPING it apart to re-do it.

Step 5: Put It Together!

This is the final build step, and it involves adding and glueing your charger into the base.

For many designs, I have found hot glue unnecessary, for others ... KEY!, use your judgement, as adding hot glue to your charger may be something you want to avoid if at all possible.

In this step, simply force the SMALLER end of the charger through the base, and glue it into place.

Step 6: Enjoy!

Your cradle is now ready for use! Simply find a handy place to have your dock, and plug it in! The zip ties from earlier are perfect for shortening cords that are a little too long; roll it up and zip it.

Another kicker to this whole shebang is that you should also be left with enough materials to make whatever further docking accessories you need!

~CHEERS~

I will add photos of my completed projects as soon as I find time, since the photos are at home, and I want to publish this thing before someone else does the same thing and claims I copied them.

would you recomend multiple devices in one cradle?
It would probably add some much needed weight to the cradle, I found that I had to hold it to remove the iPod. (I say 'had' because the iPod is gone, the cradle remains! lol)
I removed this comment because it was all "can't get photos...well no there are photos! They're not spectacular, but they get the job done, ENJOY!
if you are talking about connecting your digicam (or a usb drive or something) it could be that your work computer uses the drive name that your digicam wants to use. i had that problem. if so - just rename the drive that you are networked too i.e. "E: Drive" to another letter.
Good instructable, you may already know but you're probably getting alot of hits b/c it was mentioned on lifehacker.com. Thanks for putting in the drawings since you finished the project - but lets see your finished project! Post up a photo of it.
Not to mention being on MAKE, too. Good job!

About This Instructable

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Bio: Just a dude who was a nerd as a kid. I tried for a while to pretend it wasn't true, but let's face ... More »
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