Secret Phone Cradle (I Made It at TechShop)

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A decorative outlet cover plate that also serves as a phone charging cradle.

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Step 1: Materials

  1. Wood, 3/16"-1/4" (5-6mm). Phones keep getting bigger, so I used a 5-1/2" (14cm) wide board.
  2. Access to Laser Cutter
  3. Drill and Drill Bits
  4. Sandpaper, Various Grits
  5. Dowels - I used round wooden toothpicks
  6. Supplies: Knife, Marker, Ruler, Tape
  7. Optional: Access to Drill Press; Wood Finish (Stain, Clear Coat, etc.)

Step 2: Select Artwork and Laser Cut

I selected a Hogwarts theme and used the top banner as the portion that will fold down.

Note: The original artwork was done by Esther over at Deviant Art and can be found at https://littlefallingstar.deviantart.com/art/Hogwarts-crest-393666704.

Step 3: Sanding

Sand as desired (i.e., sand all surfaces clean or leave laser cut edges intact). There are several edges (marked in BLUE) that will need to be rounded in order for the pieces to rotate properly.

Step 4: Creating Pivots

For a smooth pivot you typically want one end of the dowel tight and the other end loose. For this project I was able to use round toothpicks as the dowels and took advantage of the tapered tip to avoid having to drill clearance holes.

  1. Optional: Use a piece of tape to create a shim along the rounded edge. This will create a small gap that will help to avoid rubbing when the parts are rotated.
  2. Mark drill depth
  3. Drill hole for pivot. If using a straight dowel, slightly enlarge the deeper hole.
  4. If using a toothpick as a dowel, trim off the pointed tip
  5. Insert dowel (may need to tap in with a hammer), trim excess, and sand flush
  6. Repeat with remaining pivot joints

Step 5: Finish and Mount

I used a light coating of cutting board oil to bring out some of the detail. To be safe, I chose to mount it over an existing outlet cover rather than to replace it (wood coated with oil = fire hazard?).

Without the cutouts and pivots it could simply serve as a decorative nightlight background, but the magic really occurs when you flip it open and use it as a phone charging cradle.

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    4 Discussions

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    Excitebike

    2 years ago

    I wouldn't think you need to mount it over the existing plate. They make outlet and switch plates out of wood, so I doubt it would be a fire hazard. Clever idea and nice execution.

    2 replies
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    CoengineerExcitebike

    Reply 2 years ago

    Thanks. The wooden ones I've seen have a sheet metal backing (code requirement?). Also, when flipped open, the outlet box would be partially exposed, so this version MUST be mounted over an existing cover.

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    livichris

    3 years ago

    very neat solution