Another Ipod Nano Dock




Introduction: Another Ipod Nano Dock

I know, there are many examples of selfmade ipod docks aroud the web.
But i think nobody has done it this way yet.
It fits quite well to the design of apple and is cheaper than buying an original dock.
This is an easy way to give your nano 2nd gen a worthy place to rest.
It took me about 2 days working on it.
I dont exactly know how much money you would have to spend for the materials, because i already had most of the things i used to build this.

edit: i don&apost know why, but the detail frames in the pictures won&apost stay in right position and shape, so keep this in mind if  you wonder why some of them do not make sence at all.

Step 1: Tools and Materials You Need

for the inner case i used:
- white plastic plates, differently thick (0,5 and 1 mm)
- powerglue and hot glue
- some small pieces of metal (shape does not really matter)
- an ipod connection cable (USB), i ordered a cheap one at ebay
- the original ipod dock connector (not shown in the picture), which comes with your nano

the outside casing is made of:
- casting resin
- black rubber and metal for the foot

You can buy everything (except the ipod connection cable) at your local hobby store.

- a ruler
- a cutter
- strong tape and packaging tape
- sandpaper
- hot glue gun
not shown in picture:
- a glass
- somnething to agitate the resin
- a syrine

Step 2: Building the Inner Case

At first, cut two similar parts out of the thick plastic. They will become the top and the bottom. Give them the size and shape you want your dock look like.
I made them 6x5,5 cm.
Measure your nano to have the size the slot has to be an cut it out.
Cut a little hole for the cable at the bottom.

Now deside, how tall your dock should be and cut a stripe out of the thinner plastic plate. The piece should be long enough to reach exactly around the top and bottom parts. I made it 2.5 cm high(don't ask me about inches), to give the ipod connector and cable enough space inside the box.
Bend the stripe into shape and fix it temporaly with tape. I used the edge of my table for bending the corners.

Take the original connector part which you already have, when you buy an ipod.
Cut off as much of it, to make it small enough. Otherwise, this part won't fit into middle of the case.

Step 3: Making the Stand

To make the cable connector as tiny as possible, remove all plastic you don't need.

Now stick your ipod through the top part of the case, into the connection part and fix everything (not the ipod :-)) with the glue of your choice. I took usual glue, hot glue would be faster and better, i think.

If you want to keep your dock connector, or you already used in another way, you even could make a stand for the nano just out of hot glue. but thats not that easy.

Step 4: Case Construction

To get the pieces together and make them hold, place a small stripe of the plastic at each inner side of the sidepanel. Just leave enough space to hold the top panel plane.

Then you can put the parts together, leading the cable through the tiny bottom hole.

BEFORE you close the box and fix it with glue, attach some (or just one) heavy pieces of metal inside the case to give the dock more weight.
I forgot it and had to remove the top, which is no fun when the glue is already dry.

Use strong tape to hold everything in postition while the glue is drying.

Step 5: The Inner Case Is Done

If you are satisfied with the result, you could stop at this point.
It is already a nice and functional ipod nano dock, which looks quite similar to the ones you can buy from apple. The only visual difference is the mass.
But if you go further, you will have a much more special item.

Step 6: Preparing for Casting

The whole thing looks cooler when the white box seems to float in a transparency housing.
And when you think of all the stylish apple designs, it would fit even better to your mac gadgets, when it has a clear Casing.
So at next, you schould make a foot under the case.
Cut some flat rubber, a bit smaller than your dock.
This will lift the dock, and the rubber surface prevents it from slipping away when you put the nano in its place.
Again, attach some metal, if you like, to get more weight and the right hight of the white case.

(What i suggest now, is not absolutely necessary:)
Tinker a 1:1 Copy of your nano. I made it by taping thin plastik around a bunch of Pasteboard,
finally i covered it with packaging tape.
I only did this, because i was afraid of damaging my ipod during the casting process.

Step 7: Constructing the Mold for the Casting

Now you have to construct a mold, where you put it the white case.
I used some small wooden drawers., because they are right-angled and and have a smooth surface.
Make very sure, that all edges are tight. Otherwise the fluid will find a way to drop away...

To make the outside surface more smooth and to prevent it from sticking in the mold, i covered
the whole thing with packing tape.

Stick the ipod clone ( or the original, it will survive) into the slot .
Place the dock in the middle of the mold.
Keep in mind, that the cable has to lead somewhere out of the mold, without leaving a hole.
It has to be as waterproof as possible.

Step 8: Casting Resin Progress

Now it is time to go chemical.
The casting resign is a very comlicated but inspire-worth material.
when you buy it at a usual hobby store, it comes with the needed harder.
At first, try to calculate how much ml of fluid you need.
Then mix the resin with the harder, i made it about 100% resin and 2% harder.
One drop is about 0,2 ml. 20 drops are 1 ml = 1 cm³.
But ther is an explanation when you buy such a set.

Agitate the fluid well , wait some minutes to let the bubbles flow out, but don't wait to long.
The resin will become toughly and sticky very soon and then you won't be able to change its postition.

Take syringe to fill the mixture into the mold.
Do this in everal steps. This means, don't mix all the resin you need at once.
Fill the mold to about the half, wait an hour, then fill in the rest.
The fluid needs time to react and becomes hard very slowly.
Don't bother if there are some tiny bubbles at first. they will slowly go move to the surface and disapear. The fluid will become very hot, that's also part of the chemical reaction.

I suggest to wait at least 3 hours before going on. Unpacking the item to early could deform it.

Step 9: Release the Dock

When the resin is hard enough, you can take apart the mold.
The surface could still feel a bit sticky, but that's ok.

Now you carefully pull out the nano copy. It will feel like it's unmovably, but you just have to pull it a bit to each side several times until it looses contact to the resin.

Step 10: Shaping the Dock

There you have your transparency covered nano dock!
It looks like a frozen sugardrop or whatever.
But the surface has still some irregularities.

So take your sandpaper or grinding machine and sharp it to the shape you want.

Grinding it in several steps will result in different clear surfaces.

Step 11: And You Thought About Bying an Ipod Dock ?

My first idea was to polish the dock until it is as clearly as glass.
You could do that, it will look more suitable to the classical iMac design.
An example of the clear surface you can see in the last picture (i already made another dock, for audio connection).
I desided to keep it with the milky shiny smooth style, it just looks better (in my opinion).

I hope you enjoyed my tutorial.
If you consider doing something similar, keep me informed.

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    13 years ago on Step 11

    i attached leds to the cable and added a push switch. looks great and great tutorial


    14 years ago on Step 1

    I really like this Instructables. I have a very old ipod I got at a yard sale and most of the rest of the materials. Having worked in a dental lab, I know about working with resin-type stuff and the need to agitate it. When thinking of what to use to agitate the resin at home, I came up blank and then thought (sorry if this is getting too personal...) I'll use my vibrator!


    13 years ago on Introduction

    dam good idea man..
    will try this one :)


    13 years ago on Step 11

    have you thought of selling these?! I would if I were good enough at building them! I am gonna make this in the near future!


    14 years ago on Introduction

    No,not the original iMac design!;)


    15 years ago on Introduction

    I made a dock for my nano that looked similar to this with the ipod cord and the original package that the nano came in. I added some blue leds too for a cool glow. I'll post a pic soon.


    Reply 15 years ago on Introduction

    how you hook up the LED's? ive been wondering how to do that without a battery or is it battery powered?


    Reply 15 years ago on Introduction

    you cant see it in the pics, but there is a switch on the back and 12v inside (i used a 9v and 2 AA's) I know 12v seems like a lot for some LED's but it is a bar with 5 surface mount LED's and some resistors. maybe I'll post a pic of the insides/bottom soon


    Reply 15 years ago on Introduction

    awww...i really wanted to know how to add led's to the wire so it charges your ipod and puts out light that would be cool :) i think this calls for a fourm topic... :)