Introduction: Star Trek Apple Watch Charger Dock
Do you want a Charger Stand for your Apple Watch that looks like the Desktop Viewer / monitor from the original Star Trek series? I did, I was inspired by several Apple Watch charger stands that looked like various Macintosh Computers. So, after I got a 3D printer in September, I worked through several simple designs in TinkerCAD and felt like I was ready to tackle something a little more difficult. There may have been easier ways to do what I did, but the "ungrouped" image from TinkerCAD shows the number of objects required to create the monitor section. It's kind of like carving a statue, you just removing everything that isn't the thing that you ultimately want to create.
Step 1: Tools and Materials
The tools, software and materials needed for this project are:
Ender 3 pro 3D printer (or any 3D printer)
Cura (or your favorite slicer)
TinkerCAD (I used this as it was free and had an easy learning curve)
Gray PLA 1.75 mm filament (any color will do, but the original in the show was a shade of gray)
QTY 1 - #4 x 3/8" sheet metal cap screw (Phillips head)
Phillips screw driver
And of course an Apple Watch and charger.
Step 2: Design Inspiration and Requirements
As I mentioned the inspiration for this charger came from similar ones that were made to look like Macintosh computers. The photo, with my design and the "Mac" look-a-like one on the right, is of one that I own. The screen shot from Star Trek TOS, shows the Desktop viewer I used as the model.
I didn't have the actual dimensions of the original to scale down, just screen shots. So the screen size that I used for the "viewer" bezel, was that of the watch face of the Apple Watch (~45mm diagonal), and that served as the basis for the other dimensions. The cradle area, that holds the watch was made to accommodate the thickness (~14mm) of an Apple watch that has a case/cover.
I went through a few iterations to get the monitor and the base the right size and to add some details: a slot and storage area for microtapes and rocker switches that were on the original. I also made a staggered trough in the bottom of the base, to hold the USB cable flat. And on the inside where the Apple Watch charger disc goes, is a reference to Star Trek with "GNDN" - pipes or wall conduits in the original series were sometimes marked this way and the hidden meaning was, Goes Nowhere, Does Nothing.
Step 3: Printing the Items
I used the standard setting in Cura for an Ender 3 Pro printer, the only thing I added was the freely available plugin from the Cura Community library called Custom Supports, to have the custom cylinder supports.
When slicing the Monitor section, apply some cylinder supports around the side and rear overhanging edges of the monitor, as seen in the Cura screen shot.
Download the 2 stl files and load them into Cura (or your favorite slicer and then print the parts). I used a gray filament as that was close to the original color, but you can use whatever color you wish.
Step 4: Some Assembly Required
Once you have the base and monitor sections printed, follow these steps in this order to route the charger cable and attach the two parts together.
1) Route the USB end of the Apple Watch charger cable through the opening behind the monitor bezel (where you see the letter GNDN (Star Trek Easter egg for Goes Nowhere, Does Nothing).
2) Then, route the USB end of the cable through the top of the base, in the rectangular hole behind the circular monitor mount.
3) Pull the cable all of the way through until you can press the round magnetic charger disc into the hole in the back of the monitor. Make sure that the concave surface of the charger disc is facing outward towards the monitor screen opening.
4) Place the monitor on top of the base and secure it with the #4 screw and a Phillips screw driver.
5) Lastly, route the USB cable long the bottom of the base, to secure it flat to the bottom. NOTE: you may need to trim the sharp edges along the corner/bends of the cable trough (see photo) to avoid cutting into the charger cable insulation.
The opening/cradle for the Apple Watch is large enough to accommodate an Apple Watch with a case/cover, such as the Caseology cover.
That's it, you can place your watch into the charger and view the watch screen through the front of the monitor.
Participated in the