I've been wanting a wireless charger now for a while, the problem is they all look kind of lame and cheap, so I decided I need to make my own! Here's the final project back on my desk at home. I'm thrilled with how it turned out. Way better than all of the cheap plastic wireless chargers that are out there. A walnut wireless charger on my walnut desk? Perfect.
In total this project cost me $43 CAD. Here's a quick breakdown of the costs: Wood: $10 (Didn't use close to all of it) Wireless Charger: $21 Fancy USB Cable: $12
I used a few other random things along the way like sand paper and glue but I already had those on hand.
It's a nice product for the price and chargers my phone quickly. Let's face it though, it isn't much to look at. Cheap plastic.
So before I could even start the project I had to crack this thing open and see how it worked. I specifically wanted to see if it would work without its case and if it had any sort of pressure switch.
Success! It chargers without it's case on. No pressure switch. By my estimates it looks like it will work when it's 3/8" from the phone. All very good news for this project.
Ok, so here's my piece of walnut. I bought this from a scrap pile of wood at my local mill. I plan on using the rest of it for another project. Stay tuned for that! 10 Bucks and enough wood for 2 projects? I couldn't say no to that.
It's 1" thick, 2' long and 6" wide.
I decided I wanted my finished wireless charger to be 6" wide so I measured that out onto the wood and traced a line onto the surface of the wood.
When documenting your steps its always a good idea to make sure your hands don't block the camera! Sorry guys, best shot I had!
Next I used a chop saw to cut the wood. Go slow here. Walnut is really hard and you can burn out the motor on your chop saw if you try and cut too fast too often. Also it's good for the blade if you go slow.
Time to trace an outline of the wireless chargers PCB onto the wood. I wasn't super worried about making this super accurate. I wanted to have a little bit of play in final cut out. So no need to have the neatest trace in the world.
I used a compact trim router to cut out a space for the PCB in wood slab. This was actually my first time using a trim router like this. It worked really well.
I carefully followed my trace marks with the blade of the trim router. It was a little tricky to see at times because of the amount of dust coming off the wood, but go slow and you should be ok. Definitely wear goggles. Lots of wood flying off of it.
Again I'm always worried about burning out motors so I did this in multiple passes. The first pass I set the router to 1/4" depth and then slowly increased the depth until I was at 3/4".
Here's the final cutout. Not bad for a first time. This part of the job made a huge mess, so I had to do a bit of vacuuming here.
Remember earlier how I said the piece was 1" thick? Well I removed 3/4" so the thickness inside the cutout is 1/4". When I was testing the wireless charger before I found it operated at up to 3/8" away from the phone. Theoretically I should be good, but I still hadn't tested yet.
IT WORKS! I wasn't sure how the wood would interfere with the wireless charging but it looks like 1/4" of walnut is not enough to block the wireless charging. Hurray!
Ok, so it's cut, its notched, it works, whats left to do? Well make it look better of course. This is still a rough piece of wood with a ton of splinters.
Time to breakout the belt sander with some 80 grit sand paper. Working slowly I sand off all the rough edges and smooth out the flats. Because this is 80 grit sand paper it wont get things perfect, but it'll get me close and the rest I can do by hand.
This is what it looked like after the belt sander. Pretty good. Corners are rounded, most sides are smooth, and it's much more pleasing to touch. However the top side has some small holes in it.
Enter black onyx wood filler. Time to fill those tiny little holes. I like the black onyx wood filler it's a nice contrast to the dark wood.
After letting the wood filler fully dry I sanded off the excess using a random orbital sander. I started at 80 grit and worked my way up to 220. I finished it off by using a 320 grit sanding sponge to sand every surface on it. It felt really smooth after that!
Gloves on. Time to use some wipe on poly. It's a satin polyurethane product that can be applied with a rag. This will seal the wood, give it an even smoother feeling finish and keep it safe from moisture. Plus it makes the grain pop and look totally bad ass.
3 coats of polyurethane later and this is what it looked like. Awesome!
Now I needed to secure the wireless charger inside the wood. I used a 2 part epoxy to do this. Why? Because it's what I had on hand at the time. Probably not the best choice but more on that in the next frame. I mixed the 2 part epoxy on the side and applied it with a scrap piece of wood. This stuff dries rock hard and I definitely don't have to worry about the wireless charger ever falling out.
This is actually probably my biggest regret of the whole project. The application while incredible strong was really sloppy. I should've just used a glue gun. It doesn't really matter because you wont ever really see it. None the less it bothers me. Oh well :(
Amost done! It's complete here, it works and it's time to take it home!
I was driving home from the shop and kept thinking the USB cable that came with the wireless charger looked cheap and didn't fit with the overall aesthetic very well.
So when I got home I hopped on Amazon and order this braided micro USB cable. That's so much better. Also I have a black and red thing going on with my computer so this works really nicely.
Find it here: Fancy Braided USB Cable
That's it! Go try it! Did I forget something? Ask me any questions you might have in the comments.