Milling a Circuit

Project by Jeremy Fryer-Biggs


making a custom dock with your microfactory!

We wanted to show off the range of the materials the microfactory is capable of milling in and thought - what better way to do it than by making an attractive walnut and aluminum phone dock. We love the way wood and metal look together and totally dig how weighting the base makes the dock feel more substantial. In this post we'll walk you through the process of making one on the microfactory.

project parts list

  • aluminum plate
  • wood(s) of your choice for the base (we picked walnut)
  • charging chord matching your device
  • Heat shrink
  • solder
  • flux
  • soldering iron
required bits

You will need a 1/8th downcutting bit for milling the walnut top and a 1/4in ball endmill for milling out the aluminum base.

Eagle Speaker Circuit Layout Image By Jeremy Fryer-Biggs

phone dock

first we CADed up the basic dock, figuring out the size of the hole for the phone and holes for the chord (to my knowledge Apple dock plugs are not commercially available independent of the cable)

CAD rendering of dock by Jeremy Fryer-Biggs

CAD rendering of dock by Jeremy Fryer-Biggs

then we imported the part files to CamBam and generated tool paths

CAM rendering of dock by Jeremy Fryer-Biggs

next we routed out the wooden top and glued the 4 layers together

wood dock by Jeremy Fryer-Biggs

(see a short video of the microfactory routing the walnut)

Followed by the aluminum bottom

milling aluminum Photo By Rachel Tine

(see a short video of the microfactory milling the aluminum)

then we hand sanded the top, cut/fed the chord through, resoldered it together

Soldering chord Photo By Rachel Tine

and heat shrinked the outside so that the cable looked clean

Shrink wrapping chord Photo By Rachel Tine

finally we hot glued the power chord into place and screwed the aluminum base on

partially assembled dock Photo By Rachel Tine

And voila a beautiful working tabletop phone dock!

Finished Speaker Photo By Rachel Tine

special thanks to

Gene Casey - for helping with the design work

Rachel Tine - for doing the cool photography

Whitson Gordon (Life Hacker) - for the dock-making inspiration