Intro: An Ugly But Easy Wall Mounted Charging Docking Station
After little luck finding a charging station for my exact needs I decided to test my subpar wood working skills and build my own. I wanted it to be mounted on the wall parallel to my bed (instead of perpendicular like on a night stand) since the wall is at arm's length. This makes it easier to grab a tablet or phone while laying in bed... yup, I'm lazy. Again, my wood working skills are rough and amateurish, so I'm sure you can improve on this project (hint: I most likely could of used better materials, used the wrong tools and/or used too many tools for this project).
- hold, at least, my tablet (iPad 2, portrait orientation) and two modern smartphones side by side, leaning upright facing me
- a compartment to hide a 6 outlet power strip (usually 12" to 14" long)
Here's the materials I used:
- a 1" x 6" board that is at least 46" long
- a 1" x 2" board that is at least 59 1/4" long
- a 3/4" sheet of plywood that is at least 16" x 8 1/2"
- a 1/4" sheet that is at least 6" x 14 1/2"
- pair of cabinet hinges (can use catchers too/instead)
- a wooden knob (can use a handle instead and any material)
NOTE: For the boards and sheets I recommend getting longer/bigger ones in case you make a bad cut
NOTE: I used pine, fir, rough cheap plywood and unknown wood respectively for the wood boards and sheets, but you can use any type of wood or other material you'd like. Though you probably want the wood/material to be smooth and easy to screw, staple and/or glue.
Here's the tools I used:
- miter saw (with sliding capabilities)
- circular saw
- staple gun
- hammer drill
- power drill
- #2 phillips/crosshead bit
- 1/8" router bit
- 1 1/8" spade bit
- 3/4" spade bit
- 7/32" drill bit
- countersink bit
- 1 1/2" staples (at least 30)
- 1 3/16" staples (at least 12)
- 3" countersunk wood screw (2x)
- 2" countersunk wood screw (4x)
Step 1: Cut the Boards
- Using the miter saw, cut the 1" x 6" board according:
- 2 (two) 14 1/2" lengths
- 2 (two) 8 1/2" lengths
- Using the miter saw, cut the 1" x 2" board according:
- 2 (two) 14 1/2" lengths
- 1 (one) 16" length
- 3 (three) 4 3/4" lengths
- then cut each of these 3 pieces in half (to make 6 pieces of 4 3/4" x 3/8")
- Using the circular saw, cut the 3/4" plywood down to 16" x 8 1/2"
NOTE: If you're going to use the self closing cabinet hinges like I did (http://www.lowes.com/ProductDisplay?productId=1063419), you'll want to make that cut 8 1/4" (instead of 8 1/2") as the hinges have a 1/4" overlay
- Using the circular saw, cut the 1/4" sheeting down to 14 1/2" x 6"
Step 2: Drill the Holes for Wiring
- Take a 14 1/2" x 1" x 6" board and drill holes accordingly:
- using the 1 1/8" spade drill bit and power drill, make a 1 1/8" hole, from the outside face, positioning the bit's center point at 7 1/4" over and it's perimeter at least a 1 1/8" down from the board's edge
- using the 3/4" spade drill bit and power drill, make 2 (two) 3/4" holes, from the outside face, one hole on left and another on the right, positioning the bit's perimeter 1" over and at least an 1 1/8" down from the board's edge
- using the 1/8" straight router bit and hammer drill (or a router if you have one), from the outside face, starting from the bottom of each new hole, route down to the other side of the board until you get 7/8" from the edge
NOTE: a regular power drill CAN be used instead of a hammer drill or router, but since it's RPM is so low (~850 RPM with a power drill) compared to what a router bit is intended to be used at (24,000+ RPM with a router) that it's going to take longer to make the cut/route and it won't be smooth. A hammer (or plug-in) drill is slightly better than a power drill at 2,500+ RPM, but still suffers from the slowness and smooth issue.
- Take the other 14 1/2" x 1" x 6" board and using the 1 1/8" spade drill bit and power drill, make a 1 1/8" hole, from the outside face, top right corner, positioning the bit's perimeter at least 1/8" over and 1 1/8" down from the edge
Step 3: Pre-drilling the Mounting Pieces
Now you need to figure out where on your wall you want your station mounted. Positioning it to where the center is somewhat lined up with a stud is optimal, but if that's not possible using mollies (assuming you're working with drywall) that can support at least 50 pounds (more if you plan on storing more/heavier items) should suffice. My desired spot landed on a stud plus my walls are lath and plaster so I was able to screw straight into the lath for added support.
- Find your stud and mark it's spot
- Take a 14 1/2" x 1" x 2" board, roughly position it where you're going to mount the station insuring the center (or close to the center) lines up with the stud. Mark that intersection on the board. This is where you'll eventually screw (through) when finally mounting. The mark should be centered vertically
Depending on your stud mark location, make 1 or 2 additional marks on the board for the other mounting hole(s). The marks should be centered vertically. The holes should be spaced out evenly for better support (use your best judgment)
- Take the other 14 1/2" x 1" x 2" board and make the same marks in the same location as the other board
- Using the 7/32" drill bit and power drill, drill the marks. Drill straight threw the other side.
- Take the 14 1/2" x 6" x 1/4" sheet, lay it face up (the smooth side), place a 1" x 2" board on top, line it up square with the top of the sheet and then using the same holes, place the drill bit through the board and drill through the sheet. Do the same for the bottom of the sheet
- Using a countersink drill bit and a power drill, countersink the holes, no wider than maybe 1/4", in the sheeting. This should ensure the sheeting (i.e., the backing) won't crack or split when finally mounting the station
You now have the cleats and backing pre-drilled.
Step 4: Fasten the Hardware
Fastening the 3/8" bumpers (or ledgers?... floor joist?) to the top shelf can be done a number of ways; glue, stapled top down or bottom up. Stapling from the bottom up is better aesthetically, but I stupidly stapled the box together already and didn't have room to do it this way so I was stuck with the ugly top down approach (more finishing work to do as the dents made by the stapling is going to need wood putty to smooth it out). Plus, the bottom up approach may require a little more measuring as you want to ensure the staples and the bumpers on the other side of the board matches up perfectly. I'm going to detail the bottom up method here.
- Line up the 3/8" bumpers, with the 3/4" sides sitting up/north, accordingly (you can customize the spacing to better fit your gadgets):
- 2 (two) bumpers 3 1/2" apart from the outsides
- 2 (two) bumpers 3 1/2" apart from the outsides with the second bumper positioned exactly 16" from first bumper from the above set
- 2 (two) bumpers 5" apart from the outsides, positioned in the center between the two sets of bumpers above
- Place the top shelf face down gently onto the bumpers (make sure they don't move). The end sets should be flush with the top shelf's edges, the middle set should be centered with the shelf and all sets should be flush with the shelf's back and leave 3/4" space in it's front (for the front bumper). Again, this could be tricky to accomplish, so extra measuring may be required to get this done cleanly (or be sloppy like me and just staple from the top down)
- Using the 1 3/16" staples and staple gun, staple the bumpers into place. Two staples per bumper should be more than enough. You may want to clamp down all these parts together so the bumpers don't move after each staple, otherwise you'll need to check and re-position bumpers after every staple
- Using the 1 1/2" staples and staple gun, staple the 16" x 1" x 2" board, from the bottom up, to the front of the top shelf. Make sure it's flush with the shelf's ends
- Using the 7/32" drill bit (or whatever size you'll need) and power drill, take your door (16" x 8 1/2" x 3/4" plywood) and drill the holes necessary for your door knob/handle. If desired, fasten/assemble your knob/handle. You'll want to drill your holes clear of the cabinet frame, otherwise your screw/fastener will sit between the door and frame and leave it slightly ajar.
- Take the bottom shelf (the other 14 1/5" x 1" x 6" board with the 1 1/8" hole) and fasten your door/cabinet hinges and/or catches, keeping in mind the position you want the wiring hole to be. DO NOT fasten the door to the bottom shelf yet!
Step 5: Fasten the Frame, Attach Door
- Using the 1 1/2" staples and the staple gun, fasten the box frame together (all the 1" x 6" boards), making sure the boards are as flush and square as possible throughout. Also, make sure the top shelf and bottom shelf are positioned correctly
- Using the 1 1/2" staples and the staple gun, fasten the 14 1/2" x 1" x 2" boards (cleats?) to the back of the box frame at the top and bottom. Make sure they're flush with the back of the box frame. Two staples from the side in should be enough
Fasten the door to the hinges
Step 6: Mount the Charging Station
If you're not screwing into a stud and/or using all mollies for mounting, you'll need to substitute accordingly for your own setup
- Place the backing into the inside towards the back of the box so that it's up against the cleats
- Position the station where you want on the wall
- Using 1 (one) 3" wood screw and the power drill, locate your stud and screw your top pre-drilled stud hole, but not all the way tight so you can still move the station a bit for leveling
- Use the level to get the station perfectly level
- Once it's level, use a 2" wood screw and the power drill to screw the pre-drilled hole(s) that is horizontal to the first screwed hole. Make sure the station is still level, if not, adjust accordingly
- Using another 3" and 2" wood screw and the power drill to screw the pre-drilled stud hole and pre-drilled hole respectively
As you can see I'm able to store my Windows tablet up there too with no problem. I was also able to add an ultrabook too, but I doubt that'll ever be my normal setup. Its good to know it can do multiple tablets, phones and an ultrabook.
P.S. - Yes, I plan on de-uglying this station by finishing (wood putty the staple dents and cracks) and painting it at some point down the road.