Introduction: Night Stand Charging Station Lamp

Picture of Night Stand Charging Station Lamp

I had a beat up night stand that I wasn't using. It would just sit there and collect dust. With a little bit of work and some new paint I turned it into a night stand that is also a lamp and a charging station for my portable devices!

Step 1: Route the Top of the Night Stand

Picture of Route the Top of the Night Stand

I used my router to create a groove that went in a rectangle on the top of the table. I use the guide on my router to make sure that the groove was the same distance from the edge all around the table.

Step 2: Make a Hole in the Top of the Night Stand

Picture of Make a Hole in the Top of the Night Stand

If I had a jigsaw I would do this first. I don't though so I decided to use my router again. I just set the guide so it was closer to the inside and set depth lower to cut a hole in the night stand.

I had to use a lot of clamps to keep the center in place while I was doing the last cut. I was really scared that this would somehow fly out and kill me, but that thrill adds to the fun of the project. In hindsight I think it was pretty safe.

Step 3: Remove Old Paint, Paint It Again!

Picture of Remove Old Paint, Paint It Again!

I used sandpaper to sand off all the old paint. I was paranoid that the old paint was somehow toxic so I had my HEPA filter running and used my dust extractor to get all the dust out of the way.

I painted the piece with black casein paint which is made from milk. I didn't make it myself this time, but maybe I will next time.

Step 4: Cut Some Plastic to Size, Stick It Over the Holes

Picture of Cut Some Plastic to Size, Stick It Over the Holes

PT has mentioned the virtues of Canal Plastics on the MAKE Blog several times. I know this place from when I was in art school. I picked up a large piece of translucent corrogated plastic while I was there. I used an xacto knife to cut it to size.

When I routed the top I made a lip to set the plastic into. For the sides I glued in a few small pieces of wood. I attached the plastic to the sides with Gorilla Glue.

Step 5: Add a Powerstrip and Light Guts

Picture of Add a Powerstrip and Light Guts

I had cut a hole in the bottom of the piece and threw in a powerstrip and the guts of a clamp lamp. I used a low wattage CF bulb which stays a bit cooler than an incandescent. It's also plastic and tough so it can take a little bit of a beating. The plastic on top is slightly smaller than the routed edge so I can fit the cords from the inside to the top.

The light on the cords makes for some nice shadows and the cord mess is out of the way.


mmurarescu (author)2016-03-22


djrobotfreak (author)2010-12-12

As cool as this is, 10 points if you could make it wireless power.

ShogunD (author)djrobotfreak2012-01-06

Working on it right now, mate.
Not yet sure if I'm gonna go the, make an induction circuit route or the gut a Powermat and glue it under the table, route.

pefty (author)2010-12-13

Terrific, but here's what I could really use:
A table that changes color/brightness when all items are fully charged.
Bright ideas, anybody?

ManifoldSky (author)2010-12-12

Just two quick (and belated) suggestions.
1) Instead of charging cables, since most things are USB now, just install a cheap powered USB hub on the side under the lip of the cutout. That clears up the clutter, as there is only on transformer, and allows you to have a large number of devices charging.
2) instead of cables, you could connect USB to miniUSB adaptors and secure them to the edge of the lip of the cutout, such that the MiniUSB jack protrudes just a bit beyond the edge. Alternately, make the lip float above the top of the plastic, so that the device to be charged can fit underneath, and mount the jack flush. To charge a device, just slide it onto the connector.
3) In addition to the above, or in place of, install retractable USB cables that sit under the lip. That way they are out of sight when not in use and won't be as easily lost.

alexhalford (author)2008-07-07

Love it. Did you consider IPT? Would've been perfect for this project.

drocko (author)alexhalford2008-07-20

Hmm. I don't think I know what IPT is. What is it?

TheBestJohn (author)drocko2008-07-26

I think he's referring to Inductive Power Transfer. All you would have to do to charge the devices is lay them on the table and the table inducts a charge into the batteries.

technodude92 (author)TheBestJohn2008-09-16

would probably be more efficient as well... Cool idea though. i've never thought of using light to charge portable devices at home.

alexhalford (author)technodude922008-09-17

No, it doesn't use light to charge things... Actually it's very inefficient: IPT works by passing current through an inductor (usually an LC circuit to be specific with the appropriate sinewave input for the resonance of the circuit). The other end, attached to the device to be charged, has another LC circuit in it. The electromagnetic field from the charging station induces a current in the other inductor. This is why it's inefficient. The EM field will be transmitted in all directions, not only in the way of the device: (bear in mind, this crudely drawn diagram only shows it in 2D, obviously in truth the waves are emitted in all direction, thus making even less efficient.) In short, it's horribly inefficient, but for low power consumption devices it's ok and would make life easier on something like this. PM me if you need any help. AlexHalford

k4gdw (author)alexhalford2010-12-08

One thing regarding the efficiency of IPT. Although the amount of power transferred to any one device is indeed very limited, having multiple receiving devices does not put any additional load on the transmitter. A single transmitter could charge as many devices as could be placed within the EM field generated by the transmitter in the same manner as a single radio station can be received by an unlimited number of receivers (constrained only by the number of receivers that could be physically squeezed into it's signal footprint) without any reduction in signal strength.

Well, that's not quite accurate. If the receivers were packed in too tightly the ones in close proximity to the transmitter might form a Faraday cage and block the signal. :)

if only we could set up a computer touch screen system into the table so when you put your device down it could "see" the device then send signals to the ipt system to send power in a beam to the device you set down on the table that in theory could make the IPT system more efficient.

The device would need to be bluetooth for the computer to recognize it and you would need to tell the computer to scan for bluetooth... more work than it's worth. The simplest or best solution would be to put a switch on it or have it turn on with a weight sensor.

true but you never know in the future everything might be bluetooth and this was just an idea for the community as maybe another way to try to make ipt better

I'm not trying to downplay your Idea at all man... sorry if it seemed that way. I was just putting out a lower tech solution... bluetooth is very possible it's just I know when my cell has bluetooth enabled the battery drains in like 2 hours lol

CerealKiller (author)alexhalford2008-09-30

So in other words like that table Microsoft has out where you sit a cup down it shows a lil animation of bubbles, and if you lay a phone down it shows a description of the phone and knows what kind of phone it is.

alexhalford (author)CerealKiller2008-09-30

No, an IPT system will only provide power (wirelessly) to the device. It will not recognise the device. In fact, it will induce a current on any inductor within range. AlexHalford

technodude92 (author)alexhalford2008-09-18

Oh! i understood that there was a solar panel under each of your devices so that you could charge them from the light of the night stand. and i wonder which would be more efficient, light transfer or IPT...

alexhalford (author)technodude922008-09-18

No, but that would be pretty easy to do... if you give it a try post some numbers for your efficiency etc... I'd be quite interested to know. As for which would be more efficient... I'm not really sure... it all depends what you're charging. With a laptop you could get a pretty big solar cell (not panel, there's a difference) underneath it and the efficiency would be higher (still not high though). Whereas with an iPod for example, you could fit only a very small solar cell on it so much of the light would be 'wasted'. It would still make a nice centrepiece though. As for the IPT the same applies really, size of inductor etc. PM me if you need any help. AlexHalford

drocko (author)TheBestJohn2008-07-27

Now that would be cool. Maybe i'll try that in V2.0!

alexhalford (author)drocko2008-07-28

Good luck! AlexHalford

im3733 (author)alexhalford2008-09-12

ok. i saw this and totally had the exact same thought pop into my head. must be a good one.

timlawyer (author)2010-12-08

Nice project. As a woodworker, let me share a better way to cut out the center. Just cut for holes in the corners, then connect the holes with a handsaw (you said you didn't have a jigsaw) and then use the router to clean up the remaining sides into straight clean lines. The way you did it is a little dangerous, puts undo strain and wear on the router/bit and probably took longer.
Nice work!!

StarshipMcGee (author)2009-08-10

Very awesome idea. btw picture 2 in step 1 is awesome... it just looks very professionally done. I might try something like this.

HeidiJJJJ (author)2009-05-18

Nifty! Thanks.

Lftndbt (author)2008-07-07

Very well done!

(I win, three words!!)

But seriously though.

That is fantastic! Looks very slick and streamlined. I think you have inspired me to build my own "charging station". These seem to be the new "in" thing.

If I do get around to it I'll definatley post pics.

Keep up the good work and congrats on thFeature.

Derin (author)Lftndbt2008-11-24

Very well done project that inspires us all to make some versions. I win.Period.

Lftndbt (author)Derin2008-11-24

Noticed how I continued on to give a "decent" responce? Which still beats your 10 words. Have a good day sir. I still win!!

drocko (author)Lftndbt2008-11-24

Are you guys having a contest about making comments or something?

Lftndbt (author)drocko2008-11-24

NO that is certainly not my intention... When you first published this I'ble you have two other comments prior to mine. I was a bit bemused as to why they would bother commenting if they did not give any actually praise or input. Hence my decent responce. Derinsleep I believe was thinking it was a contest and posted a 10 word responce. I was simply responded as to remind him 10 words is still not really a decent responce. Like I said no contest here, just initially I would have liked people to input more to your project.... Looks like now several months later they most certainly have.

arsenaltoyz (author)2008-11-22

very cool..... strong design and a brilliant idea... one thing to add to the sides though from looking at your pix is additional channels for the corregated board to slide down into , basically to hide the bottom edges still a top notch idea

DaStan (author)2008-10-22

Quite the fancy lamp there. I'd try it to build one if I wasn't afraid of electrocuting myself...

Coffee bean (author)2008-10-14

Awesome 5 stars!!! Until they begin using wireless electricity.

pointblankk2323 (author)2008-08-10

I was thinking of making a bed frame out of this idea, the plastic looks really futuristic and i like the idea, I am just thinking making it my furniture and not a charging station, i have a hot switch in my room( turns on the outlet when you flick the switch) and it would be perfect to have those plastic like windows around the outside of the bed. I will post pictures of my results. I love the instructable! Also, would you recommend using a jigsaw after you routed the square out, thanks.

bluesman (author)2008-07-17

Very very nice idea.

Actually I did something similar but only using a Ikea box
here's the instructable

Your's is much more refined. Well, nicely done ;)

dark180 (author)2008-07-17

sick mod man, now if only you could combine it with the ambilight/LED rgb insturctable i saw a while ago this would look sick

sotsirh194 (author)2008-07-08

You might want to put a switch on the power strip. Those charge adapters take up lots of juice when they are constantly plugged in to an outlet and not charging.. If you go away for a long time, and leave them in it could run up your energy bill.

drocko (author)sotsirh1942008-07-11

Agreed. I plan to do some revamping of the electrical guts of this when I get a chance.

mrjubjub (author)2008-07-07

love it

Mr. Rig It (author)2008-07-07

Nicely done!

LinuxH4x0r (author)2008-07-06


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