Introduction: Diy Charging Hub With Edge Lit Dividers
For quite a number of years now, we have an area in the Kitchen where most things that need charging are charged up, could be anything from Iphones to Bike Lights, 18650 batteries, camera batteries, you name it it was charged up in this area, it's just a tangled mess of cables and chargers so we need a plan.
The plan is to move these cables and chargers away from the kitchen area, and hopefully try and condense them into something more manageable and less untidy and unsightly on the eye.
I'm thinking along the lines of a charging hub, with numerous USB outlets etc, something like that, but something more pleasing to the eye, not just a charging hub with another mass of cables, Let me show you what I came up with.
I will be using a CNC Machine and Power tools for parts of this build and consequently I will be wearing the correct PPE when carrying out cutting operations.
Old floorboard or off-cut of wood.
3mm MDF off-cut.
In this case, a sheet of Veneer.
Charging hub, this particular one is 8 way and Smart, Amazon UK.
Wireless charger, Amazon UK.
5V USB LED light strip with Remote.
4mm Cast Acrylic Off-Cut.
Step 1: Design Layout
The first thing I did was to source some wood to make a base for the Hub, I was running pretty low on off-cuts of timber and looking around, the only thing which was jumping out of me was an off-cut of the Walnut floorboard I had used in a previous project.
I had a 3mm off-cut of MDF and also a sheet of now very fragile Cherry Veneer, I bought a pack of Veneer some years ago for an attempt at making Bentwood rings, but its mainly all dried out now, I will be careful with it, it should be ok.
For the last project I attempted to mitre the corners of the box, for this box I'm going to try something else.
Onto making the box:
Step 2: Making the Box for the Hub.
The first thing to do is workout the dimensions you want the box or enclosure, I have a thought that my iphone will charge wirelessly and my wife's phone will plug in with a short cable, for my phone to charge wirelessly the thickness of the wood is quite important, this is where the Veneer will come into its own, firstly I need a circle cut into the mdf to accommodate the wifi charger base.
I used Vetric V Carve desktop and made my circle 100mm but it was a bit too big but it will work out fine, to the right hand side of the circle I made a small rectangle, this is to accommodate the wifi charger plug in Micro C connector, the rectangle was sketched into the circle then the snip tool was used to trim away unwanted lines, and a fillet used to radius the corners.
This was then cut out of the MDF using the profile cutting tab and tabs were added to keep things together during the final passes, a light sanding did the trick and this was good to go.
As I was thinking on the fly, I was thinking what could I make the uprights out of for the slots where the phone will push into, I initially thought MDF or thin ply, 3D print some, but I found an off cut of 4mm Clear Acrylic and thought this would be better cut into 5 Individual pieces so you can see when the phone is charged through it.
I measured the area to the right of where the 100mm cut out is and created another sketch using the dimensions, the created 5 rectangular slots to accommodate the Acrylic
Getting back to the box for the Hub, I needed a recess on the inside front of the box, I wanted this recess to be to a depth where it meets the 3mm Walnut Veneer this is to accommodate the charging hub which has 8 slots and a small screen, I tried to be smart and mimic the slots within the Fusion 360 sketch, but to be honest I made a hash of the dimensions it was nowhere near when complete and I ended up cutting away what was there and filing the area to make one big slot plus the square cut out for the screen:(( For Informative purposes only I have attached the Fusion 360 Screen Shots of how I went about the sketch)
My last attempt at a wood joint was mitre joints, these were ok but not perfect, so I decided to have a go at another joint, this joint probably has a name anyway It entailed marking off a section on the ends of the sides the thickness of the end material, and cutting inner wood away leaving just the 3mm veneer of the walnut floorboard the plan then being that the ends would butt up to the sides.
I cut everything on the bandsaw and trialled the components, this seem to work and all was glued up and a frame clamp was used to pull everything together, I used a set square to ensure all angles were correct and measuring corner to corner confirmed this, when the glue dried, the corners could be sanded and rounded slightly.
The Pre cut MDF was now placed on top of the box, flipped over and marked from the Inside of the box, This was cut out on the bandsaw then the edges sanded and finally secured into position with Hot glue.
The next part is to fit the Veneer to the Surface.
Step 3: Veneer Fitment to the Top of the
I've never tried actual veneering before so this is a first, The Veneer what I have was bought some time ago for Bentwood ring projects, the biggest piece I had which was cherry? I think, was very brittle and seemed to just split very easily, so I proceeded with caution for this part.
Laying out the Veneer I sat the box on top of it and marked the the edges, When I cut, which I did with a pair of scissors, I cut to the outer edge of the line thus giving a little off-set to play with.
I Applied wood glue to the Veneer then the top of the box, then flipping the box top surface down onto the Veneer and Manoeuvring into position, Once satisfied, I sat my screw box on top of it and a few other objects for weight and left it over night.
It worked out ok for a first attempt, I sand the surface and the edges and the from the underside, cut the slots out with a craft knife for the acrylic to slot into, this took a lot of sanding and filing but what I ended up with was very snug fitting Acrylic pieces not needing any glue!
The Acrylic pieces were just measured out and cut on the bandsaw, the edges were very lightly sanded and then a small blow torch was used around the edges, the best gas to use for the edges of the Acrylic is MAPP Gas, I just had butane, it does a job but doesn't burn hot enough to flash the edges slightly making it translucent, Be very careful at this point because leaving the flame on for too long can cause it to set on fire, be sure to wear a mask for the fumes as well.
Moving on to the internals:
Step 4: Fast Charger Installation and Charging Hub
The Charger for my Iphone is the one where you just sit the phone on it and it charges wirelessly, very clever Indeed, this would sit it the recess created for it, with just a single narrow batten across it, secured with Hot glue, I there was no USB port to the rear of the Hub so I ended up drilling 4 5mm holes vertically to the side of the USB port recess, then I filed it into a slot allowing me to push the Micro C cable through for the charger, the cable was secured into position with Hot Glue.
The charger hub is a so called smart charger, not sure why, Anyhow non of these Chinese items are very expensive and for this project the Hub would be secured with Hot-Glue, which is what I did and it works very well.
I created a recess at the rear of the box to accommodate the power cable and this was also secured with hot glue.
My mind was on overtime again at this point, I'm thinking acrylic and edge lit and LED's for added effect, I already some Led strip with a USB connector, would the connector push through the same slot I created for the Charger, It did, Perfect, I cut the LED's to length Peeled the backing off and placed the strip on the rear side of the box, Hot glue spots were used to secure in position, the connections were made, cable secured with Hot Glue,
Step 5: Testing and Assumptions.
Plugging the charging hub into the power socket and turning on see's the small display light up on the Hub, then placing my phone onto the surface see's that lighting up and charging, then my Wife's phone was connected using a short cable, plugging this into a USB port this lights up, Happy Days!
The Battery chargers now fit in between the dividers as well which is great, not only for charging but for storage as well.
One final test is the LED's! there is already a remote from a previous project, clicking this see's the Acrylic dividers light up, Edge lit dividers It's a really cool effect.
So all in all I'm really pleased with this project, the area where we charge things was a complete Rats nest of cables and chargers and now the area is clear, the Hub can be in a different area, there is a drawer below the point where the hub is now and cables can be stored in there when not in use.
Definitely an Improvement for our Home.
So from a off-cut of floorboard, an off-cut of 3mm MDF and some very brittle Veneer we have a decent looking platform for a charging hub, the scrap Acrylic made some very good partitions for the Hub, and the LED's just finish it off nicely.
Hope you enjoyed this Instructable and thanks for watching.
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