At Perth and District Collegiate Institute we use modified toolbox chests to transport, charge, and store our school iPads. Our construction teacher Mr. Greg Truelove designed and built the boxes to support Mr. Elijah Funston's school iCoach program. Each box securely holds 15 iPads (mini or full-sized) and enables easy charging with one power cord.
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Step 1: Setup
We began by purchasing a Stanley 24 Gallon Mobile Job Chest from our local Canadian Tire (on sale!) that comes with sturdy wheels, a strong slide out handle, and lockable latches.
Take measurements of the chest and make a pattern template for the top cover (left) and interior dividers (right). Using the templates, get a sheet of 4x8 plastic, a quarter inch thick. Layout the patterns on the end of the sheet and set your table saw to that width.
Step 2: Cut Plastic to Fit
Cut one strip off the end of the plastic sheet and set it aside to be cut for the dividers later.
Step 3: Cut Remaining Plastic
Cut the remainder of the sheet into lengths the width of the divider pattern.
Step 4: Cut Out the Lid Pattern
Place the top cover pattern on the first end slice of the sheet (see step 2) and cut out the top cover from the plastic.
Using the remainder of the plastic slice (see step 4), place the divider pattern and cut out a divider from the plastic.
Step 6: Size Strips of Plastic
Use the remaining plastic strips (see step 3) and then cut these strips to be the same length as the divider pattern.
Stack four pieces on top of one another (see step 6) and clamp together with the divider pattern on top that will enable locating the holes when drilling them out of the plastic. A short piece of plastic pipe can be put in the holes to hold pieces together while you are cutting around the pattern using a band saw.
Step 8: Stack Dividers on PVC
Cut a total of eleven lengths of PVC pipe - seven lengths that fit flush to the end dividers and four lengths that extend beyond the end dividers. Please note lengths will vary depending on the toolbox used, but the extended lengths are needed attach the assembly to the tool box (see step 19 & 20).
Cut foam pool noodles into slices - thick enough to create a space for the iPads between the dividers. Assemble the sixteen dividers by stacking them through nine PVC pipes (seven lengths flush to the end dividers and two lengths that extend beyond the end dividers --- the two remaining lengths are added later without foam spacers) and inserting pool noodle spacers between the dividers.
Previous to assembling the dividers and spacers, drive a nut and large washer into the PVC pipes (note - do this for only seven of the eleven lengths - see image) that allows the assembly to stay together. Add a nut and washer to the other end of the pipes when assembly is done.
Here is a side view of the assembly with spaces for 15 tablets.
Step 11: Attach Pipe for Cover to Screw To
Thread the last two PVC pipes through the plastic dividers without spacers (see image). These two pipes will be used later for attaching the top cover with screws (see step 25 & 26) as well as aligning and attaching the assembly to the toolbox chest (see step 19 & 20).
Note that once all the PVC pipes are placed through the dividers, four should extend beyond the outside dividers (two without spacers and two with spacers - see image) and the other seven should be flush and secured to the outside dividers with bolts. The extensions on the four pipes are to align and attach the whole divider assembly to the toolbox chest (see step 19 & 20).
Step 12: Prepare Mount for Power Bars
Measure and cut a thin piece of wood to mount power bars on the bottom of the toolbox chest. Attach power bars that can accommodate 15 Apple chargers (We used two Noma eight outlet power bars bought on sale at our local Canadian Tire). Drill a hole that allows the power cable to exit the toolbox chest for plugging into your power supply.
Step 13: Assemble the Chargers for IPads
Step 14: Plug in IPad Chargers
Step 15: Double Check Power Bars
Make sure power bars are turned on and functioning before final assembly, because they can not easily be reached once the toolbox chest is fully converted.
Step 16: Flip Chargers
Flip the charging wires up and out of the case, so they are out of the way when the divider assembly is put into the toolbox chest.
Step 17: Fit Assembly in Tool Box
Place the divider assembly in the box making sure not to catch any wires.
Step 18: Fasten Nuts
Locate the four PVC pipes with extensions (see step 11). Drill a hole into the toolbox chest for each of these pipes and then thread a long bolt down the length of each pipe and fasten with a nut (see step 20).
Fasteners bolted into the extension four pipes securing the assembly to the toolbox chest (see step 19).
Using the piece of plastic set aside for the top cover, place the pattern on the plastic. This piece once added over the assembly will prevent others from accessing the chargers.
Step 21: Drill Holes in Top Cover
Drill four holes into the top cover. Connect the holes with a straight line cut made with a utility knife. Use a band saw to cut the outside and inside of the top cover.
The finished top cover is then ready to installation, which should protect all the charging cables and organize each charging cable to match up with the compartment for each iPad.
Step 23: Tie Knots in Charging Wires
Tie a small knot in each charging cable so it can not be pulled out of the charger through the top cover.
Fix the top cover with screws into the PVC pipe (see step 11).
Step 26: Dab Glue on to Charge Cables
Place a small dab of hot glue on each charge cable to prevent it from falling back into the toolbox chest.
Step 27: Finished Product
And voilà - here it is! Note that you can see the power cord for charging in the bottom right corner of the image. An electrical cord clamp was used to hold it in place.
Many thanks to Mr. Greg Truelove for sharing his time to build this ingenious idea. We love our portable iPad charging carts.
Instructables project written and published by Emily Richardson, PDCI iCoach student