Introduction: Tablet Organizer/Charging Station
If you're like me I have a couple children who love their tablets and Nintendo DS, and if your children are like mine they leave them laying everywhere, off the charger, typically where you walk. To remedy this problem I decided to build them an organizer/charging station. The goal is to keep them off the floor making mom and dad happy, meanwhile the kids always have an easy to find charged device. I designed this in such a way that it could be made by typical tools someone might have at home. A couple of the bits can be picked up at your local hardware store or off amazon if you don't have them already.
List of items needed:
- 3/4 lumber or plywood
- Circular saw or Table saw
- Drill w/ driver bit matching your screws
- Screws (1 1/4")
- Speed Square
- Tape measure
- 11/16" paddle bit or something close (Needs to be bigger than the end of a USB cable)
- 1 1/4 paddle bit or something close (Needs to be bigger than the plug end of your power strip)
- Counter sink bit (#10)
- Plug cutter (3/8")
- Hinges for lid (Optional)
- Sandpaper (150 and 220 grit)
Extra nice to haves (Optional)
- Combination square (It's not needed but pretty handy to have)
- Router w/ Chamfer bit or 1/8" Rounding bit (Makes it look nice with clean edges)
- Sandpaper (400 grit)
- Top coat of choice (Ex. choice color of stain, Polyurethane, or choice color of paint)
Step 1: Select Your Material and Get to Cutting
Choose what material suits you the best. For mine I chose to go with cherry lumber since I had a little laying around and I wanted the finished product to look nice. You could use any lumber (pine, oak, walnut, etc.) or grab a sheet of plywood from the lumber yard. If using plywood, I would suggest paint grade. Regardless of what you choose, you'll need 3/4" thickness.
Once you've decided on your stock, you'll need to cut the following pieces
- 3) 10 3/8" x 18" - Bottom and both backs
- 2) 10 1/2" x 11 1/4" - Sides
- Measure 5 3/8" from the edge on the 10 1/2" side. Using a speed square draw a 45 degree angle and miter off the remaining 5"
- 1) 19 3/16" x 4 3/4" - Lid
- 7) 5 1/2" x 8 3/4" - Dividers
- Same as the sides, except this time measure 2 1/4" from the 5 1/2" side and miter off the remaining 2 1/4"
Tip: Now would be a good time to sand prior to assembly. Give them a once over with 150 then move to 220 grit
Step 2: Measuring All Your Guidelines
Now that all your pieces are cut, measure 4 1/8" and 4 7/8" from the back of the bottom piece and 2 side pieces. I suggest doing this on the inside and outside of the side pieces. These lines will be used to guide your assembly and where to put your pilot holes for the screws.
Tip: Make very light pencil lines in areas you may have trouble sanding later.
Also measure the spacing for your dividers, mark this on the back and bottom pieces. For the length of this box I went with 1 1/2" spaces for the tablets and 1 7/8" for the DS's giving 3/4" space for the dividers.
On the back side of the back and the bottom side of the bottom, measure the same 1 1/2" spacing but this time draw vertical lines from top to bottom. This will make it much easier when drilling the pilot holes for the screws ensuring you don't miss the dividers.
Note: If you are using a router, go ahead and router the two side pieces, front of your bottom piece, and the dividers. Be sure to stop at your inside line on the sides. If you don't have a router you can take some sand paper and go over the edges to round them off slightly.
Step 3: Assemble Sides to the Bottom
When assembling the sides to the bottom, you'll notice the bottom is 1/8" shorter than the side. This is to account for the chamfered edge I cut with my router. Place the back of the side piece flush with the back of the bottom piece. If you have clamps, use them to hold your 3 pieces together while you drill.
Using your counter sink bit, drill a hole in between the 4 1/8" and 4 7/8" and screw the side to the bottom. Then do the same on both ends securing the pieces together. Do this on both sides.
Tip: Run the counter sink portion of the bit at least an 1/8" in. This will give you enough room to glue a plug in and sand it flush.
Step 4: Assemble the Middle Vertical Piece
Just like Step 3, we are going to screw the middle piece to the sides. Place the middle piece in between the 4 1/8" and 4 7/8" guidelines and only put the top screw in. This will allow the bottom to move freely ensuring we get a solid fit when installing the dividers.
*Notice the depth of the counter sink holes*
Step 5: Assemble the Dividers
Drill the holes to attach the dividers from the back side of the center piece and the bottom in between the guidelines you previously drew. Place the dividers in between each 3/4" guideline and screw together.
Once all the dividers are installed, go ahead and put the second screw in the side securing the bottom of the middle piece.
Step 6: Drill Holes for Cables
Taking the 11/16 paddle bit, drill the holes for the cables centered above every other divider. Then take the 1 1/4" paddle bit and drill the hole for the power cord somewhere inside the chamber designed for hiding your cables. Take a small piece of sand paper to clean up the edges of your holes.
Tip: Paddle bits like to tear out or chip out badly on the back side. Drill slowly and hold a small piece of scrap wood over the backside as the bit is about to come through. This will help minimize that tear out.
Step 7: Attach the Back
Install the final back piece flush on the back side. Use your counter sink bit to pre-drill the holes like before.
Step 8: Make the Lid
If you have a table saw you can use the method I've shown (be careful) to make the lid. If not you can install a couple cheap hinges from the hardware store and be finished with this step.
Taking the 19 3/16" x 4 3/4" piece, set your table saw fence to be 3/4" including the saw blade. Set the height of the blade to be 1/4" and cut a grid on the back as shown in the picture by making a cut on all 4 sides. Now raise your saw blade to just short of 3/4" and set your fence to be about 1/2" or 3/4" minus the depth of cut you made. Run the lid vertically along all four sides trimming off the edge of the grid you just cut.
If you are using a router, router the top of the lid.
Step 9: Make the Plugs
Take some of the scrap lumber you've used and your drill with the plug cutter and cut out some plugs. As you can see from my picture, my plug cutters are cheap and pretty dull now causing them to burn the wood badly. If you used oak, you can buy oak plugs pretty cheap from craft stores.
Put a couple drops of glue in the holes you cut and pop the plugs in over your screws. Then take sand paper and sand the plug down flush with the work piece. I was pretty disappointed with how mine turned out due to the burning which created a black circle. Also be mindful of the direction of the grain (I was not).
Step 10: Applying Your Desired Finish
Perform a final sand making sure to knock down any burs or rough spots including any visible pencil lines unless you are going to paint. Since I used cherry which has a nice natural color, I simply used Polyurethane to top coat mine. Apply a thin coat of Polyurethane and once dry, take 400 grit sandpaper and very lightly sand your project. Repeat this 3 times and you'll have a nice smooth finish. Whatever you use, I would suggest spraying it on since getting a brush in the dividers would be rather difficult.
Step 11: Plug It In
Drop in your power strip. I chose one which has USB ports as well as 110v outlets. This keeps from having to fight with a bunch of plugs inside the box. Route the USB cables through the holes, plug it all in and enjoy!
Runner Up in the