We have a pretty large family. Seven of us in total, five kids. In 2016 that means at least 7 tablet computers. They were constantly plugged in all over the place. I thought it would be a good idea to replace some of the standard wall sockets in the kitchen with ones that had a USB charging ports. That turned my kitchen counter into tablet central. It was annoying to have to constantly move them around or stack them up while preparing dinner. This simply wouldn't do.
Time to MAKE tablet central and reclaim my countertop.
Step 1: The Layout.
Since our tablet inventory is fairly robust, I had to build this charging rack to suit the wide range of sizes we have. The simplest way I came up with was to make each shelf or rack capable of holding two each. Originally, I conceptualized the rack going all the way down the wall. A slot for each tablet and clearly marked with their name. When I began to layout all the tablets, it seemed too large so a scraped that and came up with this.
I used 1x4 pine boards cut 38 1/4" long for the two side boards. A 1x6 pine board for the center board (same length)
The shelf on the bottom was a after thought. Its actually pretty handy. Great spot if you need to charge a phone, camera or store some headphones. (See pic)
The hole rack is only 12" wide.
Step 2: The USB Hub.
I'm not here to sell a certain product. The one I found works for me. There are several different products out there. I found this one on Amazon.
I liked this one because it gave me the ability to shut down ports that weren't being used or when the device is charged. I was going to put clear a label over the blue light so each kid knew which switch was theirs. When I changed the design to what you see here, that wasn't really practical. Another speed bump I hit was this USB gang charger won't work on the old 16 pin Apple charging cord. Luckily, as I mentioned earlier, I switched out some of the wall sockets with ones that had built in USB charging ports. The socket I built this rack around, was one of them. It worked fine with the 16 pin cords. That did change how the gang chargers were powered though as the plugs got in the way. As you can see, I had to use a plug extension.
With the two USB hubs and the two USB ports in the wall socket, you can charge 10 devices at once!
Step 3: Fitting the USB Hub and Cords.
Once I had a rough idea where I wanted the USB hubs I marked them out and used a router on the center board to create a channel for the cords. The hub is simply held with double sided tape. It's been a couple of months since I made this and they're holding fine.
I used strips of a rubber tourniquet stapled to the back of the center board to act as cord holders. I didn't want to permanently mount any of the charging cords as they sometimes go bad and if I needed one for travel and the like, it could be easily pulled out.
Since I decided to mount the cords like that, I figured I better hinge the center board. This way I could simply open it like a cabinet door to get to the cords. I used two 6" piano hinges to accomplish that.
For the latch, I used two standard window latches and made a slot using my biscuit maker. This worked out great. The slot fit the the window latch perfectly.
Step 4: Charging Slots. Top to Bottom.
When laying out all the tablets to take measurements, I was surprised to find out all I needed was 2 1/4 inches to fit two tablets in any of the slots. I was very pleased with that as I could make the entire thing uniform with only the height of the slots being different.
The doors of the slots are pine 1x4 boards. I used countersunk magnets to hold the door closed. The magnets make contact with a small piece of flat steal stock. The metal plate is slightly larger than the wood it's attached to. This is because I wanted there to be a lip to catch the tablet and keep it from falling out when the door is opened.
I should note, you don't need to open the door to get your tablet out either. Say yours is the one in the back, you can simply unplug it and pull it out from the side. So there's two ways you can place your tablet for charging. (See pic)
The top slot was measured and built to take a iPad Pro and an iPad 4.
Slot-1 Measurement: 2 1/4" x 9 1/4"
The second slot was measured and built to take a iPad 1 and iPad 2
Slot-2 measurement: 2 1/4" x 8 1/4"
The third and forth slots were measured and built to take two 6" tablets (kindle or iPad mini)
Slot-3 measurement: 2 1/4" x 5 1/4"
Step 5: Final.
I'm just going to add all the photos I took here in case I missed something.
Enjoy and happy making.