Introduction: Acrylic IPhone4 Charging Dock - Bumper/Case Compatible

Having some acrylic and a laser cutter available, I set out to make an acrylic dock for the iphone4.  Being a nexus one owner myself I took pity on a couple of friends and decided to make some for them.

After measuring up a co-workers phone, I made a dock that would work with a covered phone.  However, that cover was replaced with an 'official' antennae-gate fix one, which was a little thicker.  This instructable will make a dock compatible with those style covers, however should be fine with ones that are thinner.

The angle I choose was based on optimum viewing angle, touch-ability and for video calling when sitting at a typical desk.

I've attached both a dxf and pdf to scale.  If you don't have CNC capability, these parts can be traced from the PDF and cut onto your material.

The material list:
  • 1 sheet 0.093" thick acrylic (available at home depot, etc., ~$3.50 for 12"X12") 8"x11" will be enough
  • Saw, jigsaw, scroll saw, laser cutter.  (if not using laser you might have to put in extra effort to get sharp inside corners, which is needed to fit the mating tab)
  • Optional:  sugru for non-slip feet.

The design is snap fit -- it may take some pushing to get the parts together the first time.  The slots on the side pieces have a relief radius in them to prevent cracking, since an interference fit is used to hold parts together.

You can use other material.  If you change the thickness then the windows and tabs have to be changed to suit.

Step 1: Program/Trace, Cut

If using a laser cutter or the like, import the dxf into your gcode program.  For 0.093" acrylic and a 40W laser, I found 100% power at 8 in/min to be just right.  Fire it up and cut.

Otherwise, its time to do some tracing.  You could print the pdf and place behind the acrylic sheet, using a sharpie or other permanent pen.  Once finished, drill small holes to start the windows; you might need several to get room for a coping saw.  Or a Dremel might be a better option for the small windows.  I'm not gonna lie -- this will take some time as there are plenty of lines to cut... one reason I made the plunge into lasers.

Note:  I put in two notches in the side pieces, for larger connection heads and smaller ones.  For strength, I recommend you only cut the notch you need.  Acrylic is brittle, and such a thin piece can snap off easily.

Step 2: Fit Up

Now, it should be time to fit it all together.  Below are some pix of how to do this.  It can be tricky to get the wire routed, and also snap all the pieces together at the same time.  Patience is key!  And maybe a good idea to trial fit each piece together individually before going for the full assembly.

Step 3: Enjoy!

This step should be easiest.  If desired, you can use a little sugru on the feet to make a nice secure, slip-proof support.

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