I have seen tons of instructables out there for a DIY dock, but none seemed to work with my setup or have the clean lines and simple design that I wanted. So, after much research I decided to design my own from scratch.
I would love to know what you guys think of this one.
1 PVC tube 6" minimum length ( get one that's at least 2.5 in diameter, but technically you can use one even bigger around)
1 piece of Plexiglas or wood ( whatever work even cardboard, just make sure it's stiff)
Some spray paint (black Krylon in my case)
1 iPod dock spacer ( mine came with the iPod) if you don't have one you will have to get creative in getting or making one.
1 iPod charging usb... cable.
hot glue gun and glue sticks.
Step 1: The First Cut
Based on how big your tube diameter is, you will need to figure out how to best position the spacer so that the ipod balances. For my tube it was squarely placed at the top and marked. Then i cut the tube to the length I wanted. This will be the width of the finished product, so plan accordingly.
Next you will have to make the hole for the doc spacer. This will hold the ipod itself so start with a small hole and expand it to make it fit. It will take time and make a huge mess.
I stared by measuring the spacer and centering the length parallell to the tube. This measurement will tell you where the left and rightmost edges will be. I made two small cuts here using a hacksaw.
Then I connected these two cuts by cutting the tube lengthwise between the 2 cuts. Now started expanding this hole by removing/ cutting/ sanding material away until the whole spacer fit flush with the body of the dock.
See the pictures and take your time, the key here is to keep all your cuts and edges of the spacer hole as perpendicular and parallel to the tube as possible. If it's diagonal or too big, you will have to start over.
Step 2: One Big Cut One Little.
Next take the Plexiglas and use the tube as a stencil to mark the inside diameter on the Plexiglas.
Cut the Plexiglas and get it to fit, (like an end plug on to the tube) but don't glue in place yet.
Take the tube and cut it lengthwise. Keep in mind that you want to be making this cut at about 180 degrees from the hole we made for the spacer (see my pic)
Then cut it again lengthwise ( parallel to the previous cut). Keep in mind that, the farther apart the cuts are, the lower your base will sit on the table. So measure the height before expanding the lengthwise cuts. When you see the tube ( in cross section it should look like a "C". The open part is the base( what sits on the table. IMPORTANT: Make sure that when you lay down the tube with the open part on the table it should be no less than 2' high.
So again the farther the 2 cuts ( the bigger the gap) the lower the tube will sit on the table. if you go too far, you will have to start over.
Next, take the two Plexiglas "caps" you made and dry fit them to the ends. When you do this you will find that the Plexiglas circles need to be "trimmed" there the opening of the tube is, so that it lays flush again (See picture). Mark and cut the Plexiglas accordingly, and cut it.
You can glue the Plexiglas by putting the tube on its side and laying the Plexiglas in the end. This ensures that the outside edge of the Plexiglas and the outside edge of the tube are as flush as possible.
While here figure out what is the front and what is the back of the dock. Then make a small ~ 3/16"
hole and cut for the cable where you would like it to come out of the bottom of the dock. I wanted mine in the center, but you can do whatever even out of one of the Plexiglas sides.
With the remainder of the Plexiglas make a rectangle that will close the large hole at the bottom of the dock. This last part is not mandatory, but a nice touch, you will see it on some of the pictures later.
Step 3: Setup the Spacer and the Cable.
This is one of the more critical parts, as with any dock. The trick here is to figure out how you can join the spacer with the iPod part of the dock cable. In my case, what I did was put the iPod in the dock spacer then plug the cable through the spacer and into the iPod.
To hold it in place... rubber bands... whatever. Hot glue this together, by hotglueing the cable to the bottom of the dock spacer. Make sure that none of the glue goes into the iPod or leaks through into the place there the iPod joins the spacer and cable. Again see my pictures and you can figure it out.
Some people have mentioned that you might need to shave off the two little metal clips at the Pod end of the cable. I didn't have to do this, but you might need to in order for the iPod not to get "clipped in" to the cable. Basically you want it so that you can plug the iPod in place and take it off without using the two buttons at the iPod end of the cable.
Once cooled i highly recommend testing this connection. To do this plug the USB end in your computer then hold the dock end in you hand, and "stab the iPod on it. Ideally you want to do this so that the iPod is plugged in and stays there under it's own weight. If the computer recognizes your iPod, you are golden, if not you have to redo this step. (last picture on this step confirms it)
Step 4: It's Coming Together.
In this step we will do the basic assembly and paint prep.
First off sand any rough edges and the body of the dock. in my case the key areas of focus where the ends where the end caps were inserted. Don;t worry much about the hole where the spacer/cable assembly goes because those imperfections will be covered by the flange on the spacer.
Next take the spacer/cable assembly and cover the top with tape. you are taping across the top of the spacer which should also seal off the hole for the iPod, and the connection. (look closely at picture 2)
Put the cable in the top hole of the dock body and the spacer should now fit in place. Glue this in place. You don't need a lot of glue, just enough to hold it together. If you find that there is a gap between the sides of the spacer and the body you can fill it with hot glue from the inside of the dock.
Step 5: PAINT.
You are ready for paint, when...
you have the top, (where the iPod connects taped across) and the cable and internals taped off.
DO NOT forget to cover the USB portion of the cable, or the whole cable if you want it to remain white as I did.
wait to dry and repeat. I did at least 3 coats.
( I used high gloss black, but technically you can use whatever color you want.)
Be patient for the paint to dry. this takes at least 1-2 hours, depending on temp. humidity etc.
Step 6: Make It Heavy, and You're Done.
You want the dock to be heavy on your table. You can achieve this many ways: lead, pweter, sand, nails...
In my case i had some old batteries that seemed pretty dense and heavy for their size so that's what I used. Jam 2 or three in there and secure them so they don't rattle.
Then take the rectangle Plexiglas piece and glue it in place on the bottom. You can put felt on the bottom, or little rubber legs. I wanted mine to be flush with the table so I didn't put anything on the bottom.
That's it, now just carefully take the tape off the top of the dock port and you are good to go.