CNC milled docking system for Droid

[Steve] wanted a dock for his Droid phone but couldn’t bear to put cheap-looking parts in his nice BMW. He decided to build his own in order to satisfy his functional and stylistic needs. His main goal was to have a dock with no wires showing, but it also needed to be removable and have the ability to work with different devices (GPS, Droid, etc.).

The hardest part of a build like this is matching the bracket system to the car’s interior. [Steve] sidestepped the problem by starting with a commercial mounting bracket made specifically for the BMW E90 series. From there he added the female half of a mounting bracket he milled himself. The male half connects to this part using an edge connector, passing signals and power between the car and whichever device is currently installed. This way he can design brackets for different devices and not change what’s in the car.

To get a closer look, check out the video after the break. The system he came up with looks wonderful and works great.

Comments

  1. Aaron says:

    Off-the-shelf parts: [damn near everything]

    Custom parts: [a couple plastic widgets]

    Cool, I guess?

  2. Sinzia says:

    but you cant adjust the angle using this method, if there’s a glare from light, good luck seeing it on that screen.
    I’d say its almost there, but not quite perfect.

  3. BoKu says:

    Don’t be a hater Aaron, while yes its not wow wow wow, he did hackAway (pun?) his trim in order to get a seamless integration, I don’t know how many people would have gone to that length, so I applaud for finishing through to the end.

  4. fartface says:

    And as soon as you get a bumper case to make the phone stay looking nice, the dock fails.

    Upgraded to Driod III fail.

    Nice try, let’s see if he can fix it next version.

  5. basugasu says:

    I was really interested in where he sourced the OEM looking leather, then realized that whole part was off the shelf :(

  6. Steve says:

    This is my project. While it is largely based on off-the-shelf parts, the idea was to solve a problem without reinventing the wheel. Sometimes the best solution is the one that just gets the job done quickly and cleanly.

    As for the angle adjustment – the initial angle was a problem. I ended up making a small plastic wedge which tilts the screen up and toward the driver seat a bit more. I’ve been using it since December with no more glare issues.

    I did some early experiments with adjustability and found two problems: One was that it made the phone stick out from the dash more than I wanted. Secondly, it made the assembly harder to dock together because of the adjustment mechanism.

  7. Pedro says:

    I don’t like the black plastic nub on the dash when the dock is removed. Some tastefully brushed black anodised aluminium would have been a much sweeter setup, in my opinion.

  8. Oneybm says:

    @fartface:

    “This way he can design brackets for different devices and not change what’s in the car.”

    Read a book… Read a book… Read a mother_______ book…

    I scanned the article and saw that part. I think that one line more than anything is the fascinating part. At will he can change/upgrade his custom piece for any and every device with a little bit of work. Sure he won’t have zero day working but, it WILL work.

  9. drew says:

    I’m really impressed with the huge quality improvement with articles at hackaday for the past few months. And I’m seeing 4-5 new ones here, all high caliber, daily! I’m having trouble keeping up!

    To steve- Agreed. Solving a problem without reinventing the wheel is a lot of what I do in my work. Everyone wants to see things full-custom, full billet aluminum chassis all the time. Sometimes, full-custom isn’t needed or practical at all. Props for figuring this one out.

  10. JC says:

    @Steve – Yeah, no need to redo everything if you don’t have to. Looks very clean. Nice hack!

  11. Jamie says:

    +1 for getting things done nice and efficiently, off the shelf parts are quite legitimate in my eyes.

    +1 for upgradeability through simple standard connector!

    +1 for cleanness of finish.

    You sir, have earned three internets. Collect them at your local internets dealer. :)

  12. Rob says:

    Nothing wrong with using off-the-shelf parts. It wouldn’t be so much of a “hack” if were designed, ground up, from scratch.

    In fact, one of the goals of engineering in general is to solve a problem using as little original work as possible. And I’d say that a hack like this is “re-purposing engineering”.

    I, too, can’t help but think that having the angle adjustable would be nice . . . but if Steve has found a fixed angle that works well in all conditions, then it’s “good enough”. Tilt still might be a useful add-on for drivers of differing heights.

  13. h_2_o says:

    I like the hack/mod however i can not blame steve for how his project is being described, personally the title here at HAD is more the problem than his project.

    nice job and end product.

  14. rickroll says:

    I like the stick on Velcro dash mount on my ’87 Caravan just fine thanks ;)

    Hate mail to engineeringchrysler.it

  15. PureSilver says:

    Mill up a piano-gloss piece to cover the dash dock port when it’s not in use, and it’s done. Brilliant use of off-the-shelf – but more importantly, kudos on a completely non-destructive and reversible hack. It’s all-too-often forgotten that the next person that buys the car is extremely unlikely to known what to do with your modification…

  16. Greg says:

    @basugasu – you can typically source any OEM vinyl at your local trim / upholstery shop. If they don’t have it on hand, most can source you some quickly. If you’re doing a small project such as what it would take to cover this if Steve wanted to re-invent the wheel, it can usually be had for $0-$5 out of a scrap bin at such shops.

    Nice implementation / use of available combined with ingenuity.

  17. Eirinn says:

    @Aaron even a hack using 100% off the shelf parts could be amazing. “Hacking” does in no regard mean you have to make anything yourself. “hacking is just elaborate ‘modding'”.

  18. kurt says:

    I see a lot of shit-tier cnc work on here and people regard them as heros. why make these out of shitty plastic?

    you hack-a-day guys should take a class in cnc or something so you can filter out the terrible shit.

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