Introduction: Make a 30 Pin IPod Cradle Out of a Garage Door Opener Remote!

About: I'm a 29 year old guy who's passionate about building and fixing things, sometimes if they aren't even broken. I get a great sense of enjoyment out of creating, designing and building new things. I also love t…
It's Saturday afternoon. It's raining. You're bored. You have a couple of hours to kill. What do you do?

Build a rad iPod cradle out of an old garage door opener of course! Duh.

Everyone has seen those iPod cradles in their local Best Buy or Future Shop or even at bargain stores. They just basically provide a stand for your iPod/iPhone while you're playing music or charging it so you don't have to lay it flat on a table. I like the idea, but can't really justify spending the money on something like this that isn't really a necessity by any stretch of the imagination. So I figured I can build this out of repurposed/salvaged parts! I did not integrate a charger into mine, just an aux port so I can listen to music through it. I built this completely from parts on hand that were just lying around, so for a grand total of $0 and the added bonus of alleviating my Saturday afternoon boredom, it was a pretty good deal!

Here is a link to the Apple dock that got me thinking:

Unfortunately, I got really into building this thing and didn't think to take photos of the entire actual process, but it's pretty straight forward and I'll do my best to explain it thoroughly.


-Dremel with cutting discs and a grinding bit.
-Epoxy glue or hot glue gun, etc.
-Soldering iron and solder.
-Round file or drill and bit.

Things you'll need:

-Old garage door remote.
-Plastic iPod dock insert.
-Female 3.5mm aux jack.
-Old 30 pin Apple or Apple knock off cable to harvest the connector itself from.
-Primer and paint (if you want to paint it. I actually used truck bed liner spray that I had lying around to give it a little extra durability).

How to make it!

First, lay your plastic dock insert upside down flat on top of your garage door remote and position it where you'll want it and trace it with a Sharpie.

Next, separate the two halves of your garage door remote and remove the circuit board and battery and save it for another project. My remote just snaps open with no screws holding the two halves together, but some may have a small screw or two that you may need to remove.

Then, use your Dremel and cutting disc to cut out a rough outline and use your grinding bit to shape the rounded edges afterwards. Make sure your dock insert fits in smoothly.

Next, put some masking tape over the hole you Dremeled out for your dock. Then put your dock insert in through the underside of your hole and use the masking tape to hold it in place and use your glue to secure/seal it in place.

Next, disassemble your 30 pin cable so you are left with just the 30 pin connector itself with the audio wires still attached to it. Cut the wires just long enough so they will reach your 3.5mm jack and solder them to L, R and Ground. Then either drill or file a hole big enough for your jack to fit through the garage door remote in a location of your choosing. 

Now it's time to glue everything in place. Stick the 30 pin connector through the bottom of your dock insert and epoxy glue it into place. Then just put a few dabs of glue around the inside of the garage door remote and snap it back together, making sure your 3.5mm jack is protruding from the hole you drilled/filed.

Now you're ready for primer and paint if you decide to go that way. Give the entire piece a little scuff with some sandpaper, clean it off with a damp cloth and then just mask off your 30 pin connector and aux jack so no paint gets on them. Now just spray a coat of primer on, let it dry and then apply the paint of your choice. Rather than paint, I decided to use some truck bed liner spray that I had lying around. I chose this because I will be carrying the device around in my pocket a lot and wanted a little extra durability.

Now you're ready to use it! Have fun! Also, having the little clip that the remote uses to attach to your car's sun visor is an added bonus. This will allow you not only be able to remove the clip and stand the cradle up flat, but also to attach the clip and mount the cradle to other devices (see picture)!
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