Like many of you, I have a couple handfuls of portable electronic devices that, at this point, I can hardly live without. My cell phone, MP3 player, portable speakers, digital camera, etc… Eventually, they all need to have their Lith Ion batteries recharged, and this is where peace and harmony between man and machine starts to dissolve. There are multiple chargers to keep track of, some work with just one device, some with two devices, some have the same adapter but a slightly different voltage so one misstep leads to a smokey disaster, and so on. So this past weekend I took it upon myself to devise a better way to charge.
I bee-lined for Instructables, where I had a look at their slew of submitted charging station designs. They range from inexpensive and unattractive utilitarian pieces made of storage Tupperware, all the way up to some quite pricey decorative center-pieces. I wanted something that didn’t cost much, but fit in with the decor of my living space. So, loosely following some general ideas set forth by the pioneers at Instructables, I headed over to Old Time Pottery to grab a box to act as the framework for the project. I found this for 10 bucks (see Fig. 1):
Not bad for price, looks interesting and has some nice furnishings that give it a touch of class. Had to go with something that had a lid, too, to make this Charging Station truly discrete. So far so good. As for the rest of the hardware, I already had it laying around (6-plug power strip, some twist-ties, screwdrivers and a dremel). Using the dremel, I cut a 3/4″ hole in the back panel of the bottom half of the box, near a corner. This allowed the plug of the power strip to fit through the box to reach the wall socket. I took the bottom half of the plastic shell off the power strip, and used the dremel to cut it down as slim as possible while still retaining structural integrity and the little holes for the bolts that held the bottom half on. Drilled matching holes through the box, positioned the power strip, then screwed the bolts back in place to securely hold the power strip to the bottom of the box. My individual electronic devices’ chargers were added, and some twist-ties were strategically placed to keep the wires manageable (see Fig. 2).
Then, all that was needed was some sort of a substrate to cover up the wires and act as a new “floor” for the electronic devices to sit on. I have plenty of scrap black illustration board sitting around, so I cut a piece of it to fit the interior dimensions of the box, and added a notch for the chargers’ adapters to fit through (see Fig. 3).
Fits right in with the box’s existing color scheme, very easy to replace, and didn’t cost me a dime. My charging station was pretty well complete at this point. The only thing left to do was plug in the power strip, hook up all my electronics, and let everything get a good charge (while remaining stylish and aesthetically low-key)! Observe (see Fig. 4).