3D Printed Acoustic Dock V1

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About: What's next?

I’ve been listening to a lot of podcasts lately so I’ve been looking for methods to amplify the audio so that I can hear it clearly and from a distance. So far I’ve found I can get an extra bit of volume from my phone by laying it flat against a hard surface and also reflecting it off a hard “wall” made out of books. However, I realized unless I wanted to use an active amplifier, I needed a dock in the similar likeness of the ones by Braeburn Acoustics.

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Step 1: Gather the Materials and Tools

Materials:

3D Printer Filament

Part CADD Files (STL / Fusion 360)

Tools:

3D Printer

Step 2: Download / Modify the CADD Files

Since I have a Google Pixel, I modeled the phone and the dock to fit the form factor. If you have another phone, it would be necessary to at a minimum remodel the dock.

Step 3: Print the Dock

I used the default settings and the Slic3r plugin of Octopi. I could have added some extra wall thickness and top and bottom layers for better quality but because this was a prototype part, I left the slicer at default.

Step 4: Remove the Part and Use It

I did a test run by standing 4 feet away and listening to a talk show with and without the dock. There was added clarity and volume with the dock in use compared to just pointing the speakers of my phone in my direction. So I declare my design a success!

Future Improvements:

Adding a port for the charging cable - Being able to charge the phone while listening to a podcast would mean I would never have to remove the phone to give it a recharge. Since this is a proof of concept, I didn’t take the time to route the charging cord to the underside of the phone.

Adding an acoustically transparent screen for aesthetics – A screen wouldn’t protect anything but it would create the impression of a flat front surface of the dock. I haven’t had good results printing thin branching structures so I will give it some thought before proceeding.

Adding rubber feet to keep it from sliding – I am surprised by how stable the design currently is. Adding something to increase the friction between the dock and the tabletop would keep it in place but might also increase the chance of everything falling over possibly damaging the phone. I’ll be using the dock around the house to see if it might need the feature.

Changing the geometry to better focus the sound – I used arcs since they are easy to manipulate in CADD (don’t get me started on splines). They are not ideal in focusing the sound since the ideal shape would be a parabola to redirect the audio waves in a parallel direction.

Overall I’m surprised by how well it works. I’ll be updating this in the future but feel free to “remix” this design, adapt it to your model, and add improvements as you see fit.

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