Introduction: Defeat Perfectionism Or: an Attempt to Convert a Wireless Charger Into a Wireless Charging Stand
This instructable was originally intended to simply be on converting a charger. It has become more a chronicle of the mistakes that I have made in the attempt.It may be that documenting failure may be equally as important as documenting success. To that end, notes specifically on keeping perfectionism under control are in italics.
I have been a 'member' of this site since 2008. In that time, I have not so much as lifted a finger to try any of the great projects found here. Nor have I tried to start any of the 200 or so I dreamed up on my own. The most frustrating part of this is that I haven't had a lack of time, materials, tools or even motivation. I have just been unwilling to start anything out of fear that I wouldn't get it 100% correct. My excuses to myself and my family have varied: not wanting to waste materials; not having the right tools; claiming to have lost interest. Nonsense. Imagine having a thousand clean sheets of paper and refusing to learn to draw because you couldn't sketch like da Vinci on your first try. That is what life as a perfectionist is like. Completely paralyzing. In fact, if I didn't have an actual problem to fix I would still be lurking and not actually doing. Having a problem to fix allowed me to think of my project in a different way and allowed me to act. I think that it was probably my first step toward defeating perfectionism.
Step one: The Right Frame of Mind
On the little unfinished Ikea dresser (which I intended to decorate with wire inlay 6 years ago) I had a wide blue wireless charging plate. It had a shallow flattened dome for a top made of smooth plastic. There was very little texture to it meaning that whenever I placed my devices on it to charge, they often slid off. Sometimes it was just enough to prevent them from charging, other times they would continue right off of the dresser to the floor. The wide blue charger had a little red LED. Little Red wasn't so bad, but when the charger recognized that a device was present, it would switch to a little white LED that wouldn't seem out of place among the stadium lights at a night game. I hated that LED. Next to the LEDs there was a Micro- USB b port. If the charger was bumped the slightest bit, its cable would fall out of it. The Wide Blue Charger had to go.
By framing it as a fix, rather than just creating an original piece, I was able to bypass many of the mental roadblocks that keep me from starting (or finishing) projects.
wireless charging pad
9x6 acrylic clipboard
Superglue (loctite gel control)
Tools (don't go out and buy anything just yet)
exacto, box cutter, razor, etc.
scroll saw, jigsaw, hacksaw, jewelry saw, etc. It doesn't really matter which. It won't work anyway. But to be specific, I used a jewelry saw with a 2" throat and just about the cheapest blades I have ever found. I'd recommend some decent blades.
rotary tool with bits for routing, cutting, carving.
Step 1: Disassembly
This part was pretty straightforward. Removing the silicone feet on the underside of the charger revealed some tiny screws that were easily removed. Pry the housing apart carefully as the charging coil is attached to what seems to be a thin ceramic magnet and is secured to the inside of the housing top and bottom with adhesive backed foam rings. One came off quite readily; the other required some prying and cutting with a blade. The PCB was secured with a small piece of tape. Be careful not to break any of the wires between the PCB and the charging coil. Once this unit is free, the housing can be discarded.
Step 2: Create a Template
Step 2: Use that perfectionism to your advantage during planning
I started out by cutting a piece of card down to the same dimensions as the clipboard I would be using for the stand. Then I stared at it for a long time. I knew that it would need a way to stand up on its own and that I wanted it to lean back a bit. It would also have to support my devices and keep them in place. I decided to limit its use to just my phone so I wouldn't have to make a cradle with varying heights.
My goal initially was to make the whole stand in one piece by making some cuts and heat bending the clipboard into the desired shape. I made a first pass at a template knowing that it would not be the final. I just wanted to be able to visualize it better. Once I had the rough draft , it was easy to see what I would want to change on it. The design was narrowed to roughly the width of my phone. The cradle was designed around a 4.5cm diameter circle to limit the number of cuts. I was actually quite happy with the design. I did hedge my bets a little and added a pair of small braces to help keep the stand upright at a 70 degree angle.
Step 3 (optional): Take a chance on advice
Here, I will admit to taking a coworker's advice and making two small braces. I spent i don't know how long trying to come up with a single brace in the center to maintain some pretentious notion of an "aesthetic." I'm pretty sure that's a make believe word that college educated people use to identify each other in public.
Step 3: Prep the Clipboard
This part is maybe the most fun.
Drill out the rivets holding the clip onto the board. The plastic may melt a little bit and create burrs. You shouldn't have any trouble knocking those bits off once it has cooled.
With three machined edges already present in the right places, all you have to do is cut the board to width. Use a razor to score it. The straight edge is helpful here. It's a good idea to score just a little wider than you want the finished edge to be, as it will reduce with sanding.
Break the plastic at the score and set the remainder aside.
Mark out where the main bend will be, as well as cut lines for the cradle.
Step 4: Make Your Cuts
Drill a small hole just off of your marked line for the cradle. This is for a pierce cut. You will thread the blade from your saw through there to cut out the cradle from the base.
Step 4: Stay Focused
This is where it all started to really go off of the rails for me. Acrylic has a pretty low melting point and friction from the saw is enough to get that process started. After cutting smoothly for a bit, the heated plastic deforms and then cools right around the blade, binding it in place. Sometimes you can work it loose, but eventually your blade will break and/or you will go off of your line. Keep it together. Remember that it is your design and you can still modify it however you see fit. You can just sand out a wobbly cut or even turn it into a fancy embellishment.
My jewelry saw wasn't deep enough to finish the cut so I ended up transferring to a scroll saw.
I had intended to create a recess for the charging unit to fit into. Wireless chargers work better with smaller distances. Using a dremel, I melted a big ugly spot onto the back and utterly failed to carve out any plastic.
Step 5: Remember That It Is Okay To Start Over.
The damage caused by trying to recess the back was enough that I was forced to start over with a backup clipboard. I decided at this point to score the bend line a bit, too. The idea was to try and remove some material to control the bend a little.
Step 5: Heat Bending Acrylic
I thought I had a good handle on how to do this. I have made bends in other materials, like HDPE. This was a completely different monster.
Using a heat gun, heat the plastic along the line where you want the bend to be. It is helpful to have a form ready to shape your material (I figured that out later).
Step Six: You've gotten this far. Just see it through.
The clipboard did not react at ALL how I expected it too. It warped, which I was waiting for, but it never leveled out. When it was soft enough to bend, it also stretched. It didn't cool evenly. I did my dead level best to bend it into shape. It was the ugliest thing I have ever made. I wanted to throw it out. All that was left was to attach the coil to the back. I was so close. When I realized how close I was, that's what pushed me over. At the very least, this monster should at least allow my to charge my phone. Hopefully.
Step 6: Final Steps
With the new stand standing, the coil is attached to the back with some superglue. I cut out some strips from the extra clip board pieces to use as spacers and added a plate behind the coil to prevent anything from shorting it out.
It. Is. Hideous.
The Little Red LED isn't so bad, but without the opaque housing the Little White LED is so much worse.
It is functional. The cable doesn't fall out anymore. The phone stays put. It charges. It stands up on its own at approximately the 70 degree angle I wanted. It just doesn't look pretty.
Step 7: Recognize that you may an effort. You took it all the way to completion. How many of your other project ideas have gotten that far? Keep it. Take some pride in it. Learn from it. It is not perfect, but because you made it you are a little closer to being perfect yourself. Good Job!
Step 7: Takeaway
If I had to do this over again today, I wouldn't attempt the bend. I would make more cuts and glue everything together. That glue worked really well. I would also look around for a different charger to start out with. It would be nice to be able to get the LEDs off of the PCB in order to create an edge glow effect with the neon acrylic, or eliminate them altogether. If I were to heat bend it, my prep would include making a full form for the stand as well as the cradle so that the plastic wouldn't deform, or would at least stay in the correct shape to cool.
Step 8: Try again. I'm keeping this ugly little monster. Nothing I make going forward could be any worse, right?
Best of luck, Makers!
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