Given how popular it is to have mapping and navigation on the phone, there are a lot of phone mount products on the market. Unfortunately, given the diversity of phones and of cars, it isn’t feasible for product manufacturers to custom make individual design for every car + phone combination, so every mount is a generalized trade-off of some sort.
Which is, of course, the ideal situation for a 3D printer. Making an unique product to solve an unique problem. In my specific case, I wanted to mount a Nexus 5X phone in my Mazda RX-8 vehicle. This was the result.
The base of the phone slides in to the holder, and fortunately its position and basic friction is enough to hold the phone in place. I didn’t have to add any kind of clasp or snap to hold the phone in place.
The two slots in the base are for the two cables I wish to plug into the phone. The center slot is made to precisely fit a Monoprice USB-C cable. The side slot is made to precisely fit the plug of the Kensington audio cable I am using, one with ground loop isolation.
I didn’t want to do anything permanent to the car such as drilling holes for mounting. So I shaped the base to fit in the ashtray. I originally intended to print a large block so it fills the whole ashtray cavity but changed my mind when I realized the extra space is useful for coiling up the extra length of cable and make things tidier. Using the ashtray had the bonus side effect of placing it adjacent to the cigarette lighter power socket.
The entire design is too large for my little 3D printer to print all at once, so it has been divided up into three parts that can each be printed without support.
- The ashtray insert
- The phone holder
- A cylinder to connect them, one face truncated at the appropriate angle to hold the phone for display.
I printed this design in ABS plastic because of its higher melting temperature. The interior of a car gets hot and I wasn’t sure if 3D-printed plastic would melt in the heat. Printing in ABS also had the additional benefit of letting me use acetone as glue, melting the ABS pieces together results in a very strong bond.