Amplifier Dock

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Introduction: Amplifier Dock

Amplifier Dock uses the hemispherical shape of an ordinary dinnerware bowl to amplify an iPhone’s built-in speaker, allowing iPhone users to listen to music or other streaming media aloud at a lower than normal set volume, thereby conserving battery life.

Amplifier Dock by Timothy Wikander from timothy wikander on Vimeo.

Step 1: Project Requirements

Materials

(1) 3/8" thick piece of Hardwood (or Plywood) at least 2 1/2" W x 10" L

(1) Bowl at least 6 1/4" DIA and 2 1/2" height (use larger diameter for iPhone 6 and above)

(2) #10 x 3/4" flat head screws

(2) #10 t-nuts or threaded inserts

(1) small piece (at least 3" square) of 1/8" thick wool felt, or other compressible material


Tools and Supplies

Planer or Table Saw (if using hardwood)

Jigsaw (if using plywood)

Miter saw or Pull saw

Belt/disc sander or Hand file

Drill press or Corded Drill

Drill bits and Countersink bit

Mallet or Hammer (for installing t-nuts or threaded inserts)

Tape measure and Square

220 and 400~600 grit Sandpapers

X-acto knife or Fabric shears

Awl or Hole punch

Craft glue

Step 2: Plane Wood to 3/8" Thickness

The wood portion of the dock is comprised of three parts, all of which are the same thickness. Planing dimensional sized lumber can be achieved with a planer or table saw. If you don't have access to these tools, you can find small panels of 3/8" plywood at most big box home improvement stores.

Step 3: Cut to 2.31" Width (for IPhone 4/5)

Next, use the table saw to cut your 3/8" piece of wood to a 2.31" width (width of iPhone 4/5). Adjust accordingly for newer models. If you're using plywood for your build, you can complete this step with a Jigsaw.

Pro tip: Keep a consistent feed rate while cutting to prevent burn marks.

Step 4: Cross Cut Into Separate Components

Use a table saw, miter saw, or hand saw to cut your 3/8" x 2.31" piece of wood into the three separate lengths:

A) 6.00"

B) 2.31"

C) 1.00"

See cut sheet for remainder of measurements.

Step 5: Prep Base for Threaded Inserts

For t-nuts, you'll want to create a shallow pocket in the base of the dock to account for the depth of the flange. In hindsight, t-nuts were a bit overkill and could have caused the wood to split.

Pro tip: tapping inserts or even press-fit/screw to expand inserts will work just as well and are easier to install.

Step 6: Drill Thru

For t-nuts, you'll need to drill a hole (on-center with the pocket) to allow clearance for the barrel.

Step 7: Drill and Countersink

Rather than drilling through the remaining components individually, you can simply sandwich the pieces together with some masking tape and drilling them at the same time. Countersinking the top component isn't necessary, but makes for a cleaner aesthetic.

Step 8: Insert Threaded Inserts

Use a hammer or dead blow hammer to install the t-nuts or press-fit threaded inserts. For tapping inserts, use the corresponding driver.

Step 9:

Step 10: Round the Corners

It's coming together now! Use a disc sander, belt sander, or hand file to round the corners to a .35" radius (iPhone 4/5).

Step 11: Hand Sand

220 and 400 ~ 600 grit sandpapers should do the trick here.

Step 12: Compressible Spacer (Crucial!)

A thin, compressible spacer is what allows Amplifier Dock's flat wooden components to magically hold onto the lip of a round bowl. Use an X-acto knife or pair of Fabric shears to cut out a rounded 2.3" square from 1/8" thick wool felt or a similar compressible material.

Step 13: Glue to Cap

Use craft glue to attach your rounded wool felt square to the bottom of the cap.

Step 14: Poke

Using the pre-drilled holes as a guide, poke holes through the wool felt to allow the screws to pass through.

Step 15: Assemble

Place the bowl inside the wood components and tighten down on the screws until you have a snug fit. You're done! I hope you enjoyed! Feel free to share your Amplifier Dock experience in the comments below.

Cheers!

Amplifier Dock by Timothy Wikander from timothy wikander on Vimeo.

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    90 Comments

    0
    Ajay_Accent
    Ajay_Accent

    10 months ago

    Hey Tim, Like the idea! Will try it and share my experience. Any update to the design in last 4 yrs? :)

    0
    timwikander
    timwikander

    Reply 10 months ago

    Thanks Ajay_Accent! I actually posted this back in 2013 so this project is now 7 years old!

    The initial design was made to fit an iPhone 4, but with a few dimensional modifications, I think it would easily adapt to current devices. I would suggest measuring the device you plan to use and adjusting the design proportions accordingly (ex. increase base width and bowl size). If I were to do this build again, I would also substitute the T-nuts with screw-to-expand press-fit nuts (you can find at (www.mcmaster.com); this will alleviate the need for counter boring the base and help simplify the build.

    I hope this helps. Good luck with your build and feel free to share some pics!

    0
    FirstSpear
    FirstSpear

    5 years ago on Introduction

    OK mister smarty pants, what if you want to listen to music AND eat your cornflakes? Didn't think that through, didya?!

    0
    Ajay_Accent
    Ajay_Accent

    Reply 10 months ago

    WOW! That's was smart! You Nazi, You actually sabotaged his idea!

    0
    massaoasaga
    massaoasaga

    4 years ago

    Genius. Realy. I always put my phone inside.

    0
    dav8it
    dav8it

    5 years ago

    Lovely

    0
    primosanch
    primosanch

    5 years ago

    Very nice. Thanks for sharing.

    0
    Questor
    Questor

    5 years ago on Introduction

    just make sure all the milk is out of your cereal bowl! (don't ask)

    0
    phoe
    phoe

    5 years ago on Introduction

    nice and simple, I like it - it's set me thinking, I wonder whether you could get a similar passive amp effect from a soda bottle... with some smart design you could even make it collapsible to fold flat for ease of carrying around...

    0
    BRIAN-SMITH
    BRIAN-SMITH

    7 years ago on Introduction

    Her is my quick take on the amplifier. Took about 10 minutes to build. Didn't need to use T-nuts. It's glued together so the T-nuts are overkill. Mine is made from a scrap piece of 1/2" baltic birch plywood I had sitting around. I'll make another with black walnut or mahogany and use a maple dowel instead of screws. I showed this to another teacher and she wants a bunch of them to display bowls. She liked the design a lot more than the typical easel stand you usually see on a bowl display.
    Took me longer to go to the Home Ec department and find a bowl than it did to build it.:)
    With the popularity of Iphones, androids, etc... this is going to be my next project in class as soon as we get back from spring break next week.
    Really love the design. Kids will too.

    amp 1.jpgamp 3.jpgamp 2.jpg
    0
    Pwag
    Pwag

    Reply 7 years ago on Introduction

    I don't think the t nuts are for strength so much as they are to aid in disassembling the unit.

    0
    shallnot
    shallnot

    Reply 5 years ago on Introduction

    There's no point in disassembling the unit. It's small enough that there is no need to do so for transport. At the end of the unit's life it can "biodegrade", as the author claims or burnt as I suspect, as easily in one piece as in four.

    The hardware is unneccesary for assembly, wasteful, tedious to install, and ugly.

    0
    timwikander
    timwikander

    Reply 5 years ago on Introduction

    Hey guys. It’s so cool to still see people dissecting my design two years later. Maybe I can offer some clarity here.

    The hardware actually came about as a way to provide adjustable clamping pressure, allowing the dock to achieve an extremely snug fit with a variety of bowl profiles. Dialing in on the screws actively compresses the felt along the lip of the bowl and increases the amount of surface area being clamped, effectively improving the grip on the bowl being used. This feature just isn't possible with an all wood design.

    In the end, incorporating the hardware added to the collective visceral impact I was looking to achieve - a low cost DIY tech accessory with a level of detail that pays homage to the iPhone itself. :)

    amp2.jpg
    0
    Catley
    Catley

    5 years ago on Introduction

    Not having an iPhone of any generation, I am not likely to be making this, but just wanted to comment on the careful workmanship and elegance of the finished product. Not just something useful, but a thing of beauty.

    0
    mokebhai
    mokebhai

    6 years ago

    Hey can you design an amplifier dock for the htc one? Or any mobile phone with 2 front facing speakers. Thanks

    0
    wpierce3
    wpierce3

    Reply 5 years ago

    Sit the phone on so that it faces into the bowl