Introduction: How to Make a Universal Car Dock for Your Phone, GPS, or MP3 Player.
I recently became interested in getting a dock for my new Android device as I am using it as a GPS. However, I realized that the docks I wanted were a little more than I wanted to spend. Hence, I decided to make my own that fit almost any device and almost any vehicle (my vehicle happens to be a 2003 Ford Focus though). After scouring this website for some ideas, I came across several that used coated wire to do the job (ex. here). I decided to borrow this idea and run with it. All in all the project cost me $5.84 using supplies I found at Walmart and I still had material to make 3 more docks and lots of wire left over. If I go by price per dock, that's about $1.46. The following are the instructions for this project.
Step 1: Materials and Tools
For this project you will need the following materials:
1. Vinyl coated wire ($3.57 at Walmart)
2. Square furniture sliders/ caster cups (called Super Sliders and come in a 4 pack at Walmart for $2.27)
3. Black electrical tape or tape of your choice (this I had on hand and I imagine many of you do as well)
You will also need the following tools:
1. Wire cutting device of some sort (I had needle-nose pliers that did the job)
3. Screw driver
4. Scissors (to cut tape)
Step 2: Punch Holes in a Caster Cup.
The caster cup will be used as the back of our dock as it has a fabric side that will help protect our device. It will also be the "hub" for all our wire. In order to thread the wire through the caster cup, we need to punch some holes. The caster cups I used have an aluminum backing that works really well for punching holes through without cracking anything. I just used a screwdriver as a punch and hammered in 6 holes: 2 on the left, 2 on the right, and 2 on the bottom.
Step 3: Threading the Wire.
Now that we have the holes punched in the caster cup, we need to thread the wire through. Make sure the holes are big enough for the wire to go through. I just spun the screw driver around inside each hole until the holes were big enough. I think pictures say a thousand words here, so I will just let you look at the sequence of pictures in order to figure out how to thread the wire. As far as amount of wire goes, just keep feeding wire through all the holes and cut it from the spool when the loops fit your device properly and there is enough of a tail for mounting the dock to the car.
Step 4: Add Supporting Wire/hook.
In order to stabilize the dock a little more, though it is not absolutely necessary, I made a length of wire that can be hooked to the back of the dock and to another point on the vehicle. The dock is just fine without this, but you have a little more bobble motion while driving. An alternative option would be to add some more wires to the two main mounting wires to make a sturdier neck.
Step 5: Finishing Touches.
Just to make sure those sharp wire ends don't harm anything/anyone, I would wrap the ends with some black electrical tape or tape of your choosing. The previous step shows the wrapped supporting wire/hook.
Also, as you can see from the previous step, I have twisted the main tails of wire that are the mounting wires a few times to make the adjustable neck of the dock.
Step 6: Mounting the Dock.
In order to mount the dock, just look for a spot on the dashboard that you can use the mounting wires as a "twist-tie" around. For me, this was a convenient little drawer in my dash to the right of the steering wheel. After twisting the dock into place, I hooked the supporting wire/hook to the change cubby (at least that's what I use it for). For you, this could be anything on the dash like a vent, etc. Once everything is in place, make sure all the wires are tight and that the wire loops fit your device appropriately. Now it can be used. Good luck!
P.S. I am not responsible for anything that happens to your device or your car if you decide to follow my instructions. Use at your own risk. That said, I haven't had any problems with my dock and you shouldn't either.