Smart DIY Charging Station with LED Notifications | How to Build

Welcome back to Fix This Build That I'm Brad and today when we making a smart charging station with LED status notifications I've been collecting a small stack of walnut boards that were too nasty or just not the right fit for a project I've also got three kids who leave their tablets charging in random outlets wherever they can find them and Tablets charging on the floor or the couch can lead to this So for this project I decided to solve two issues in one build and try some new materials and skills that really challenged me Spoiler when I say challenged.

I mean I failed I Pulled the walnut boards off the rack and I sorted through the pile looking for the pieces that could work Now all the walnut that I had was rough and it needed a lot of milling to get it into a usable shape I used my planer to get the board's flat on both sides and I started revealing that grain underneath These boards came from several different purchases that I've made over the years so the color and the matching consistency wasn't all that great But I was able to put together three different panels of boards that fit pretty well together And with a little work I could make them look decent enough and get a really unique looking piece With some lights Applewood accents on it The three panels will be connected together with a miter joint So I needed to make them the same width And getting a square edge on the jointer and then ripping each board to size Left me ready for the glue ups for all three of these panels now the biggest thing with panel glue ups is to make sure that you have them in the orientation you want before you start your Glue up earlier I mark the ends of these boards with the light SAP wood streaks in them for this exact reason Because it's never fun to realize after the glue up that you didn't match up the boards the way you really wanted to it's kind of like getting dressed for work in the dark so that you don't wake up your better half and then when you get To work you find out you've got one navy blue sock on and one black sock on But on second thought mismatched socks at work is probably way better than an angry wife at 7:00 a.

m So pay attention to your glue ups, but blindly grab your socks in the morning and sneak out of the room like a ninja Now the glued up panels were just wider than my planer so I went to the drum sander to flatten them out before moving on to the I designed a graphics layout for the top of the charging station and I imported it into the easel software that runs my Inventables x-carve I'll be using the CNC to route the charging locations and some initials for my kids So that each of them will have their own designated spot and their own USB cord for the charging station I'm using the sign-making router bit set from Freud the sponsor of today's video for the carving I started off with the quarter inch carbide spiral bit to cut the landing spot grooves now These grooves will be cut all the way through the walnut and I'm gonna fill them with epoxy and then backlight them with LEDs The spiral bit makes nice clean cuts that removes a lot of material at a time The bit set is great for making all types of signs with different features and cut types It has eight different bits including V groove down spiral up spiral tapered ball tip and up cut spiral ball nose bits You can do a variety of detailed relief carvings for pictures or logo works with these bits as well as crisp lettering now I'll have a link below in the description of the set and you can check out all the details about them and thanks to Freud for sponsoring this video After the spiral bit passes were finished.

I changed a bit over to the sixty degree V bit and I rewrote the x-carve It's really mesmerizing to watch the CNC do its thing with a good bit And this is the perfect application to use CNC as doing this cleanly by hand would be nearly impossible for me I'm gonna have LEDs running under the grooves in the top and I wanted to fill them with epoxy to diffuse the light And but instead of embedding the LEDs in the epoxy I want to make sure I could keep the electronics accessible So I only filled half of the groove with epoxy and I left room for the LEDs to be placed down in there.

I taped off the front of the grooves and then I flipped the top over and I leveled it out for an even pour Then I mixed up three cups of high performance epoxy with a slow hardener White pigment added to the mix is going to give the epoxy a nice look while it isn't backlit and then diffuse all that light Really nicely when the LEDs are going around Now each cup had just enough in it to fill one channel to the halfway point So I poured them all in and I let the epoxy cure for about six hours After that, I flipped the top over and I uncovered the initials and the initials won't be backlit But I wanted to put some fun colors in there with them for the kids I mixed up some more epoxy this time using a fast hardener and I added orange blue and purple pigments to the mix.

I Overfilled each letter and then I let everything cure overnight so I could come back the next day and work on it When I got back I peeled off the tape and I realized I probably should have used something more like a Tyvek tape or packing Tape versus this painters tape.

I think it would have come off a lot cleaner The painters tape left this little sticky residue But I went ahead and hit the epoxy with a card scraper to remove that before sanding So I wouldn't gunk up the sandpaper and while I was editing.

I went ahead and knocked down the epoxy letters a bit, too Just to keep a little wear off of the sandpaper as well But I probably didn't need to do that because my drum sander ate through the epoxy like my kids polished off that last Oreo before I can jump in there and get it They always get me on that Now the shape of the charging station is pretty basic and I wanted to give it a few embellishments I tilted my table saw to 20 degrees and I cut a chamfer on the front face of all the panels This is gonna give me a cool inset look when I put the front face on I Moved the blade over to 45 degrees and I pulled out my old table saw sled that I've dedicated to cutting miters I started by cutting the minors on the side panels the measurements here weren't important since I was gonna be cutting them to length afterwards And leaving the top panel oversized when I was doing the CNC work Let me Center the design now with the cuts made on the sled Now one big advantage of using a sled for cutting minors is you can cut to your layout lines really easily here Instead of trying to figure out where the Tilted blade is gonna hit on the top panel You can just align your layout line on the top of the panel with the curve cut on the back fence of the sled But somebody in the shop wasn't too happy despite his smile a friend The sled has seen just about enough of this old dude getting all to work So I went ahead and let him come in and finish off the 90 degree cuts on the side panels.

I Finished off the table saw work by cutting a front and a back for the charging station before moving into assembly which definitely turned out to be the hardest part and If you're a walnut loving woodworker like me Make sure you get subscribed and don't miss out on more of this Chocolaty goodness in my projects and if you don't love walnut, let me know in the comments why you're wrong I've done this full miter glue up in some previous projects like my epoxy waterfall table in the modern in table videos But this one was a little bit different because I had three pieces versus the two or the four like I had in the others I Started off by using some clear packing tape across the miters to hold that miter tight when I was doing the glue up But it just wasn't really working out.

Well, I'm not sure what was going on here But the tape was just not holding nicely like it did the last time I used it So I went ahead and switched over to the blue painters tape, which held up way better But you just couldn't see through it to see that corner I Used the dog holes in my workbench to hold down to writing or clamping squares to the top and then I hinged the sign up And I used more clamps to hold the side to those clamping squares This technique works out pretty well but you may have to adjust the clamping squares forward or backward a little bit to get them lined up just right and Definitely check the angle with your best ninety degree square before leaving it to dry Because these clamping squares do tend to flex a little bit After the first side had dried for about thirty minutes.

I repeated the process on the other side I'm using a quick set thick glue that works really well for minors I'm gonna have a link to it and all the other items that I use for the build down below in the description When the glue is dry, I took the table out of the clamps and I did some relief chiseling under the monograms this is gonna let the leds sit flush in the groove and it makes it a little place for the wires to go and not be interfered with I'm gonna have a removable bottom for the charging station so I can easily access everything if needed and I cut a rabbet groove on the front and the Back parts to fit a quarter inch plywood panel The front got attached with pocket screws on the sides in the top and I inset the front so that it was flush with that recess chamfer edge that I cut over on the table saw and this is going to give that cool detail and you really look at the piece Before moving on to the electronics.

I applied a two-part oil finish I sanded up to 150 grit and then I rubbed in the finish with a white scotch brite pad on the sides and I used a squeegee on the top to Get it distributed and then rubbed it in with the pad as well The epoxy really popped with a finish and even if you don't want to get fancy and add the LEDs This could be a great looking charging station as is right now But of course I wanted to go to the next level and here's where I got a little bit out of my league.

I Saw a video several years ago by youtuber called make JA sure.

I'm gonna link below to his video Made a light bulb turn on or off when his phone was done charging I wanted to do the same type thing except use the LEDs and have some animation with it My issue was I had no idea what I was doing because I've never done Arduino coding and this is gonna be the first time working with electronics in this nature So I'm gonna go super-high level here, so don't freak out If you're not into electronics the idea here though was to use this little microcontroller It's called the Arduino Uno and put some code on it so I could control the set of LEDs So I glued the LEDs in place in the epoxy channels, and then I started wiring I used a six port USB block to power everything next I wired in these little current and voltage sensors these were the things that I saw make Joshua use in his project and it really makes the whole thing work and This is gonna let the Arduino read the current flowing through the cable So basically, it's just gonna know if the tablet is actively charging or not Now my original plan was to just use one of these arduino uno z' I figured out how to measure all the currents at once but I couldn't figure out was how to control the multiple LEDs all at the Same time Because it's basically a looping program.

And so it had to kind of pause before it gave the instructions to each one So an easier way to do it is I dedicated a single Arduino to each of the tablet charging areas Now this is obviously a more expensive way to do it and a smarter person than me can probably figure that out.

I Wired everything in place and I secured the board's down with some screws and standoffs that I cut from little plastic straws Then I installed the back which is going to be a half inch shorter than the front this left a little space at the top of the back so I could run the cables out to the top as well as it's Gonna let out any heat that comes from the charging cables as well as the LEDs.

I Stuck the power block to the back with Velcro and I ran the charging cables out I also did a couple cable clips on the cord so that they won't pull out the wiring if they get yanked on Let me rephrase that when they get yanked on by my kids Programming these LEDs was a whole other adventure I am NOT gonna go into the details because honestly, I just did not figure it out I tried to edit the code from make Joshua and make it work for my situation I did get the LEDs to be off while it was not plugged in Pulse when it was plugged in and glow a solid green when it was fully charged sometimes Other times it would just go blank after charging or it would blink wildly when a tablet was not plugged in so I definitely failed figuring out the coding on my own but I'm just gonna consider this a Prototype as far as the coding goes and as soon as I could figure out how to make that work and get some help from somebody smarter than me then all I have to do is update the new code and we'll be in business and Most importantly my kids think it's really cool that they have their own LED charging station for each of their tablets Hey, if you wanna check out some more projects, I got a playlist queued up for you right there I think you're gonna love it until next time guys get out there and build something awesome.

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