Introduction: How to Make a Pocket Docking Device
Hello everyone. For this Instructable I am going to unveil a work in progress that I have been tinkering on for the better part of a year. I call it The Pocket Doc, aka Apple Fold. It is a 3d Printed casing that houses a phone and power bank and connects them through a charging cable for the goal of being able to slide your phone into your pocket or bag and have it charge without having to connect anything. It also doubles as a phone prop that works great with phones who's widgets turn with the phone and apps like Microsoft word to be used with a bluetooth keyboard and work as a mini laptop! I really forgot how this idea started. It might have began when I got fed up with my battery life and phone dying all the time or maybe when iPhone 6 and 7 plus came out and when you turned the screen all of the icons turned, and some of the apps like Microsoft word and notes turned as well and I thought wouldn’t it be cool to have like a pocket lap top with a small pocket Bluetooth keyboard to match. In any case this is what I have made so far and I like it and has become pretty useful. If you are in a particular job where you need your phone all the time and you find it troublesome to find a charging port or don’t want to deal with connecting and disconnecting from a power bank all the time this gadget is for you, or if you think its cool like I do then its for you too lol.
Laptop to use Tinkercad.com or other design software.
PLA or stronger 3D printing filament
6 inch screw/bolt with nut
Step 1: Slide Into Pocket to Charge
Instead of giving you the file to 3d print one for yourself I’m going to give you the ideas or the spirit that went behind the making of it so you can design your own for your specific phone. With so many different phones available it would be pretty hard to design a Pocket Doc for every phone out there, read this instructable to the end and I might enable you to make a universal one with a unique design idea. Also through out my tinkering process the original power bank I used changed dimensions by the manufacturer when I re bought it and the magnetic charging cable is no longer sold. So this better enables you to obtain one by your own design rather than contacting me to make one for you or printing out my file, its not that I don't want to make it available its that it most likely wont be of use and I believe if you gain the spirit of what I made it will empower you to do it yourself.
Step 2: Talk Yourself Into It, Not Out Of. You Can Do It!
To begin, don’t be timid and talk yourself out of thinking you can’t design a Pocket Doc of your own, if I can do it you can do it and it wont take you as long as it did for me, let me explain. First of all I used Tinkercad’s website to design it, the easiest program to design something to be 3d printed in my opinion once you get the hang of it, from idea to design to printing I’ve made reality many things because of Tinkercad in less time than an afternoon. Secondly, there are many files of objects you can 3d print online without having to design them, other people offer them online openly and yes there are some you can buy too but whats offered is awesome, a really cool feature of Tinkercad is that you can upload these open source files on one plane and use them as Legos almost! Its a mix of manipulating and cut/pasting of shapes.
Step 3: The Spirit of an Idea
To start I’m going to list the different parts to The Pocket Doc. First off the most unique part or quality that I loved about my design was that I can I have this in my pocket (I wear baggy loose pants) or a side molly bag or in a purse or backpack and you can just slide the phone in the dock and it begins to charge. As easy as putting your phone in your pocket, bam its charging. I have an iPhone 7 Plus and one of its downsides in comparison to many of the newer phones on the market is the battery life. Not wanting to update for being unimpressed of newer phones updates and for economic reasons (I’m broke! Lol) I’ve kept my 7 when the iPhone 11 Pro is out.
The second part to this device which is the reason for the first is the power bank and holder. I used a power bank from amazon that had particular features that I found favorable like its size and outlet locations. After picking one out I started to brainstorm the holder, I used the banks physical shape to design the holder around it so it wouldn’t move.
Thirdly is the wire end designs. I used a magnetic iPhone charging cable because they way I designed and modified it makes the phone easier to release from the doc vs. using a regular cable and detaching it would have more tension until the phone would be able to be released from the doc. To make the release even easier I used a rotary tool to shave of metal from the charging contact point and being particular of cleaning the metal shavings so there is no charging issues (fire safety!)
An important reason I am sharing this idea is because I want it further advanced by you, so something to take into consideration if your pockets are deeper is to think about the material. I really wanted to use a thin metal or at least a plastic that was really strong that my printer could use but so far I’ve just used PLA and its kept up to reasonable daily abuse. But i would love to see someone make this out of light weight thin metal or carbon fiber.
Thirdly is the hinge, I found one I could use as a “lego” and connected it on Tinkercad. The feature to open it is my second favorite feature because I can set it on a table or lap and place my Bluetooth keyboard on top of the battery or just have it unfolded to be able to view laptop style. To be able to fold and unfold easily and to keep in place once unfolded to desired position I used a screw and turn knob with nut inside of the knob to be able to tighten it and loosed it easily.
Step 4: Something for the Future
I have very simply articulated and described what I created but these are the main ideas behind designing your own, forgive me if you think I sound vague I will try to answer any question. Remember that idea I told you at the beginning about being able to design one that is universal? Now with wireless charging technology you can buy a wireless power bank and use it on newer phones to design a pocket doc without a magnetic wire or regular traditional wire. I have not gone this route because I am tethered to my 7 plus which is still awesome! But if your feeling adventurous, by all means...
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