Building A Charging Holder For The Apple Pencil

The Apple Pencil is a neat tool for digital creativity, but the user experience is a bit blah when it comes to charging. You either have to plug it into an iPhone or iPad directly, or an iPhone charger using a special adapter. It’s a bit below Apple’s usual seamless best. [Handy Bear] got around this fuss by building their own Apple Pencil dock.

The concept is simple. At its heart, it’s not dissimilar from a regular pen holder. It consists of a 3D printed round base filled with quick cement for heft. The base weighs almost a pound, and has a cork base so it sits nicely on a desk. A Lightning charge cable is fed into the base of the device, with the Apple Pencil adapter permanently fitted. All one has to do is remove the cap from the Apple Pencil, slot it into the adapter, and place the cap in the storage hole provided. The base then keeps the device charged, upright, and ready for use.

It’s not a complicated build, but it solves a fundamental problem with the Apple Pencil. It’s hard to imagine fancy-schmancy creatives are leaving these things just floating around on their desks with cables going everywhere; you’d think Apple would be selling a $99 dock for these by now. Instead, it’s up to the DIYers and the aftermarket.

You might also consider some high-end mods to your Apple Pencil for greater finesse.

24 thoughts on “Building A Charging Holder For The Apple Pencil

  1. This is the perfect tool to accidentally stab yourself or poke an eye out for everyone who has a habit of falling asleep behind a desk. Pointy things pointing upwards is asking for trouble if you ask me.

    1. Yeah, it’s happened to me. I had a clipboard on my desk in which I’d stuck a pencil, pointing up. I turned to talk to the people behind me, but when I turned back a couple minutes later, guess where my elbow went. Yup, I had a pencil stuck in the fleshy part of my elbow, and had picked up the pencil with my elbow. True story.

      Sharp things should not be exposed, and pointing up.

      That was 45 years ago (high school), and that lesson (and memory) has stuck with me since.

    1. Not at all. Very few users want a pen tablet – they’re nowhere near as easy to use as a pen on a touchscreen – and those who do mostly don’t want it on the laptop. Very few would want to pay extra to have it in the laptop.

      Wacom tablets are available in a variety of sizes and price points.

      Our designers use Wacom tablets; they would not want a pen on the laptop trackpad, as their laptops are on a stand next to a big monitor. Also, the trackpad area is small for a pen tablet.

      Or if you do want to, you can extend your laptop screen onto your iPad.

    2. When they went with the solid state trackpad I thought it would’ve been ideal to make it as a digitizer too, I worked with a cheapo Wacom Graphire that might have been smaller than the current trackpads, but it was great, from illustrator to photoshop and 3d modeling, even with its size it was great and I know it prevented me from getting hurt in long hours working, they really should do that on their laptops even the Magic Trackpad would be very handy

  2. Does he not put a male cable into the holder, and then try to charge it with a pencil that only has a male connector ? (around 2:37) And then the deburring cutting towards your finger..

  3. Good article Lewin Day!

    A question to all the tablet users. Are out there any hacks for a different haptic feeling than plastic on glass screen? It must not paper like but different maybe nylon (more friction) tips on glass.

    Back on my graphic tablet days i modded my wacom knock off with a sheet of latex rubber (these fitness thera rubber things) for the use of Z-Brush to get a more drawing on clay haptic feeling. Also tried different things like a corn starch in bag, but this didn’t worked.

    I also thought about a nail polish coat on the pen tip, for more friction. In my mind the optimal haptic feeling for pen on glass are these old rubber hulled metall balls in the old pc mouse but thats not realistic. The pen would look weard with a big ball on the tip, but the weight could be nice.

    the actual plastic on glass feels for me like chalk on blackboard.


    1. I understand that there are a variety of different screen protector type things that alter the pencil’s feel. One example is ‘paperlike’, I’ve not actually used it so definitely don’t endorse it myself, but I have seen good reviews.

        1. I can second that. Paperlikes are ridiculously priced at $45 for a pair.

          I also use the offbrands and am satisfied. It’s kind of hard to screw up a matte surface, and equally hard to justify paying $22 for the sensation alone.

    2. Ahh a fellow sufferer. The old Z-Brush days, I used to put a simple mouse pad on the graphics tablet, so I had a half hard layer and a yielding one underneath. not quite as sophisticated as a latex mat but it worked for me. Or a 1200 sandpaper with a metal tip in the pen (more for drawing).

      On my current tablet I use a 5mm thick clear PVC film (the soft one). I cut it to fit (curves) with a woodcut set (mini chisels). The material is self-adhesive and removable (for cleaning) on smooth surfaces. The pen sticks pleasantly and it gives very little after. Here in Germany, you can buy the transparent PVC film as a tablecloth in thicknesses from 0.1 mm to 5 mm almost everywhere. I bought with a meter and cut to size. I personally find the 5 mm more pleasant than the thinner films, because the thinner films always roll up and go off. And the thicker film has a more pleasant pressure feeling with the pen. It looks like I have a thick plexiglass sheet glued to my tablet.

      maybe it helps.

    3. Deppending on your stylus, roll simply a water balloon over your tip.
      Friction: Check
      Softness: ok maybe a water balloon is to thin for a spongy feeling.

      But simply buy something what is on the market than making something. Making tooks time and time is a finite ressource.

    4. I have and use religiously Mothca brand matte screen protectors just for the paper-like feel to using an apple pencil. They are cheap and work great. Glass too so you’ll wear out your pencil tip (which is also replaceable to change how it feels) before you wear out the screen protector.

    1. Ok, I hadn’t googled it yet but that’s what I had found odd when the summary was mentioning plugging it into anything. I have only had the V2 and had forgotten there was something before that. Now I’m curious if the corded pencil can still be used while charging. I have a habit of not keeping both my iPad charged or the pencil that tends to die even when not in use–or maybe it thinks it’s in use bouncing around in my bag? Given how you have to kill your magic mouse to charge it, but strangely not the keyboard, I would think not. And keeping it affixed to the iPad seems like it just drains them both. Well, back to Google.

      1. Just tried that with my V1 pencil and no, you can’t use it while it’s charging. :(

        I also have a stand for mine that I 3d printed; with the pencil plugged in, it resembles a 50’s era sci-fi space rocket with fins. I printed mine in two halves and filled the bottom with large washers and epoxy resin to give it some weight.

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