DIY CarPlay Dock

Loose cables are annoying, let’s tidy things up!

Apple CarPlay is awesome, however my car’s radio has it’s USB port on the deck itself.

Thus, i have the following annoyances:

  1. There’s a cable untidily snaking it’s way down in front of the AC controls.
  2. The phone rattles around upside down in a cup holder.
  3. It takes two hands to connect and disconnect the phone quickly.

Pictured: My very own first world problem

Enough complaining, lets fix the problems! Cable management will fix annoyance 1 and building a dock will fix 2 and 3!

Note: This build is extremely similar to a previous post (Turn a Frayed cable into a Handy Lightning Dock). Please reference it if you need more detail.

What I used

  1. Frayed (but still completely functional) Lightning Cable
  2. Wood
  3. Drill and Wood Bits
  4. Glue
  5. Sandpaper + Spray Paint

Design, Measure, Cut and Assemble the Dock

Here’s the quick sketch I made, defining all the wooden parts I’d need to cut and the position of the Lightning port (in green):

Then, while building, I deviated a fair amount from this design 🙃.

I (thankfully) found some scrap pieces of wood the same thickness as the phone and held them together for an initial prototype:

Then on to Measure:

If you’re a mechanical pencil nerd, that’s a Uni Kuru Toga Roulette.


..and Assemble:

For the assembly step, I built the dock around the phone, using the superglue in the top left to glue the parts together. For the perfect positioning of the lightning jack, I carefully glued it into the wooden base while plugged into the phone.

After some matte black spray paint on all the wooden parts and the cable, it was ready to be mounted in the car:

And after some cable management, a black whiteboard marker and some Prestik:


Post-Build Summary

I love it! Within the constraint of not making any permanent modifications to the car, it’s about the neatest way I can see to manage the cabling and have single-handed-operation of connecting and disconnecting the phone. Since the dock was built around the phone, it doesn’t move around so there’s zero strain on the Lightning port.

The Future

Should I go the 3d printing route or just buy a car with wireless CarPlay? Decisions, decisions!

If you have any questions/would like to share your experience with building DIY CarPlay docks, leave a reply below. To get an email when I write another post, click here to subscribe. Thanks for reading!


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