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HOW-TO: DIY media/car dock

Discussion in 'Android Hacks and Help' started by nite 0wl, Nov 12, 2009.

  1. nite 0wl
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    nite 0wl New Member

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    How to make your own Droid dock from a cardboard box.

    You will need the following:
    1(or more) small magnets (small, flat rare earth magnets work well)
    1 corrugated cardboard box
    tape (I use electrical tape)
    a sharp knife, metal straight-edge and pen/pencil/marker

    #1: Cut a flap off a medium sized cardboard box and mark off the following shapes:
    1 Large rectangle (about 5" x 4" is good, much smaller and you won't be able to make tabs or fit a normal USB cable into the Droid while it's 'docked')
    2 equilateral triangles 3.75" on a side
    1 small rectangle 5" x 1.25"

    When you cut these out you should have something that looks like this (I trimmed off two of the corners of the triangles on the 'front'):
    [​IMG]
  2. nite 0wl
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    nite 0wl New Member

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    #2 (Magnet placement)
    [​IMG]
    The small shiny circle on the back of the Droid in the photo is a rare earth magnet in position to activate the dock mode. Depending on the polarity the Droid will switch into either Car or Multimedia dock mode.
    Figure out which way you need the magnet to face to activate the mode you want then place a piece of tape between the Droid and the magnet (sticky side facing the magnet).

    Getting the magnet in position on the carboard:
    place the taped magnet in position on the Droid and align the 'top' edge of the Droid with one of the long edges of the large cardboard rectangle from step 1.
    Carefully lower the cardboard onto the Droid so that the tape grabs onto the cardboard. This helps make sure the magnet will stay in the right place.
  3. nite 0wl
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    nite 0wl New Member

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    #3 (make it stand)
    If you notice the picture in step 1 shows a number of slots and notches cut in the pieces.
    Most of these aren't strictly necessary but make the finished dock sturdier than just joining the parts up with tape.
    Only one of the holes are really necessary, the small square cut out of the thinner rectangle. Without this you won't be able to fit the cable into the Droid while it's docked.
    [​IMG]
    If you don't mind the extra effort making the tabs is a good idea since the Droid isn't exactly feather-weight.
    If you decide to forgo cutting the tabs then you will be able to trim the two rectangular pieces by up to half an inch.
  4. nite 0wl
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    nite 0wl New Member

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    #4 (Final Assembly)
    [​IMG]
    Here you see the finished product. The two triangular pieces are on the sides with the large rectangular piece tilted back at a slight slope to keep the Droid from falling off or tipping the whole thing over.
    The small rectangle forms a shelf in the front for the Droid to rest on and the small cut of is placed against the back on the left (between the black tape and the USB cable in the photo) this should align with the USB port on the bottom side of the Droid when it is docked so that a USB cable can be plugged in without changing the alignment of the magnet.
  5. djstar2k2
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    djstar2k2 New Member

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    wow thats tight im too lazy for that lol
  6. nite 0wl
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    nite 0wl New Member

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    #5 (Enjoy your very cheap dock)

    [​IMG]
    Place the Droid in the dock and thread a USB/charger cable in through the holes in the dock.
    Now sit back and enjoy all the features of the $30 dock with something you built for less than bus fare.
  7. nite 0wl
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    nite 0wl New Member

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    I get bored, I build things.
    Thanks.
  8. ChasHutch
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    ChasHutch New Member

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    Very clever...
  9. Cloppy
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    Cloppy New Member

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    Things made out of cardboard always work better then the original. Awsome DIY man! Ill have to try and make one myself
  10. mach330
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    mach330 New Member

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    can u take a pix when you spray paint the carboard black? :)

    awesome work.
  11. nite 0wl
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    nite 0wl New Member

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    I'd like to see how yours turns out, maybe you can even figure out some improvements.

    I was considering using colored electrical tape for decoration. It would also probably help reinforce some of the weaker areas and provide a bit of extra protection against slippage and scratching.
    Rest assured though, I will be sure to post a photo of any changes/finished versions I make.
  12. Poomwah
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    Poomwah New Member

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    wow, that is totally cool, you have inpired me. I have some left over aluminum sheet metal out in the garage. I think I'm going to use your design and make it out of metal. Then I'll spray the whole thing with flexible rubberized bumper coating. Thanks for the inspiration :]
    I'm not going to use the magnet though... found an app called dockrunner that does the same thing as the magnet on the media dock
  13. nite 0wl
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    nite 0wl New Member

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    While dock runner does replicate the function of the magnetic dock, why would you opt not to use a magnet and free up some space for other apps?
  14. Poomwah
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    Poomwah New Member

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    thanks night owl

    I guess there were two reasons I wasn't going to use a magnet, laziness and ignorance. It seemed easier to use the app then to mount the magnet (like I said, LAZY), but I hadn't thought about the extra space I could free up.
    thanks for that heads up night owl
  15. olletsocmit
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    olletsocmit New Member

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    wow...............
  16. rotor george
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    rotor george New Member

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    build on! :icon_ rocker:
  17. Qreaigh
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    Qreaigh New Member

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    I heard that if you have a hard case on your droid it will not fit into any of the docks. This way you can make one that fits. Do you have patterns available? Great job
  18. HoboDroid
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    HoboDroid New Member

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    Lego beats cardboard any day

    Sure the cardboard may be fine for a mock-up, but is it really practical to use? I found my box of Legos in the back of the closet and came up with my own dock. Check out the attached images.

    The black disk is a small refrigerator magnet held in place with some plasti-tack. I found that placing it near the USB port would put the Droid into mulltimedia mode, though some tweaking was necessary and the display still goes to sleep after the timeout. Maybe I'll give dockrunner a try.
  19. Poomwah
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    Poomwah New Member

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    The more I think about the more I'm leaning back toward dockrunner. I know it takes up space but it gives me more options, for example the otion of using it strictly as a charging dock, or as a stand for apps other than those available in docking mode. Now if I could just decide on a case so I can build the dock accordingly
  20. nite 0wl
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    nite 0wl New Member

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    It is true that the official dock will not fit a case, it's a pretty tight fit. In a day or two I should be able to make a usable pattern, is there a particular format or style you would want?

    The other advantage of using the magnet method is that the Droid is actually aware of when it is and isn't in the dock. And being in dock-mode doesn't restrict what apps you can run, it just makes the dock screen your home and your home screen is accessible either by pressing BACK or the home icon on the dock screen.
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