Wireless charging is a feature that an increasing amount of phones come equipped with. However, the chargers themselves often look like futuristic bricks or hockey pucks.
In this instructable I will show you how I made my wireless charger look like a framed picture and how you can as well.
Step 1: Materials and Tools
For this project you'll need the following materials:
A piece of cardboard about 3 mm thick
A picture frame
A micro USB cable
A QI-standard wireless charger, I used dx.com product nr. 311641 but any QI-standard charger will do.
4 small neodymium magnets
total estimated cost is about 7 euros or 8.5 dollars
You'll also need the following tools:
A box cutter (somewhat optional)
An X-acto knife
Double sided tape
Step 2: Cutting the Cardboard
The cardboard needs to be cut to the size your picture frame will hold. For me this was 10 by 15 centimeters, which would be large enough for my nexus 5 to fit into.
I used printed cardboard from a fancy box I found to double as the picture that my frame would hold. You can do the same as me or use regular cardboard and put a picture or painting over it at the end.
Step 3: Cutting More Cardboard
This is the most important step, as this will decide where your wireless charging coil will be in relation to your picture frame. You might need to look up where your phone's or case's internal coil is located so your phone will be centered in the frame at the end.
For me the internal coil was just a little bit down from the middle of my phone.
Start by tracing the edges of your phone on the cardboard, then lay your wireless charger inside the traced edges in the same position as it would be on your phone and then trace around the coil and magnets (the magnets stick to the backing plate of the coil by themselves).
Where you decide to trace the PCB depends on the position you want your wire to come out of your picture frame. I wanted mine in the middle of the bottom so I traced my PCB there.
After tracing you can start cutting away the top layer of cardboard and the internal cardboard structure carefully with an X-acto knife. Cut the PCB area a little larger in the y-axis than the actual PCB itself, you'll want some wiggle room later. Be careful not to puncture the bottom layer of cardboard, as this might be visible in the end product. Printed cardboard has stronger top and bottom layers that are not as easy to tare or puncture as regular cardboard.
After cutting around the edges of the traces and into the ridges of the internal structure it is the easiest to just pull the material out with your fingers.
Step 4: Preparing the Picture Frame
Start by taking apart the picture frame and tracing on the backside the position you want your cable to go into. Then start cutting away until your cable fits snug inside the frame. Remember to test the fit after each few cuts because you can't add material back again.
My frame was extremely cheap and made from some kind of resin. This made cutting into it extremely easy and helped with getting a tight fit.
Step 5: Taping and Test Fitting
Once you've made all your primary cuts you'll want to tape the coil and magnets onto the cardboard, but not yet the PCB. Connect the PCB to the usb cable. Now it's time to start test fitting.
The PCB needs to sit a little deeper than the backside of the frame because otherwise the wooden back panel would bend and possibly break it when you put it back in. Therefore the top parts of the PCB (chips, connector etc.) need to be sunk into the backside of the frame as much as the wooden back panel is thick. This might require some additional deepening of the cut you made for the cable in the side of the frame.
Once everything fits you tape the PCB to the cardboard in the final position it will be in.
Step 6: Putting Everything in and Closing Up
Once everything fits you can put a picture in the frame, lay the cardboard on top as shown and then close it off with the wooden back panel. Glass would be too thick to add to the frame, the phone would sit too far away from the coil and would barely charge if at all.
If all went well, your wireless charging magnetic picture frame should now be complete and ready to sit on a desk or hang on a wall!
If you liked this instructable please leave a comment as this is my first one and feedback is welcome!