Project Plans: Phone/Tablet Amplifier

Build this low-tech accessory for your high-tech devices. It's easy.

This project is an amplifier for a tablet or smartphone. It’s basically a stand that elevates the device and blocks the sound from escaping through the sides or back, redirecting it out the opening in the front. I used cherry for the amplifier shown, but you can use any hardwood for any of these projects.

To build it requires a table saw, a router with a 1/4-in.-radius roundover bit, an orbital sander and a few spring clamps. A stationary belt or disc sander would speed up the work, but you can use a handheld belt sander or hard sanding blocks instead.

Cut all of the pieces to size (see the cutting list and illustration in the PDF below), but make the feet and filler (C and D) 1/2 in. longer than the dimensions in the cutting list. (The extra length allows for custom fitting.) Finish sand the inside edges of the front and back (A and B) and rout the rounded over inside edges. (It's much safer to do this now than after assembly.)

Glue and clamp the front (A) to the feet (C). Now it's time to create the slot for the device the amplifier is intended to hold. If you make it to fit a tablet, you can also use it for a smartphone. Place the tablet against the rear edge of the front (A) and add one piece of thin cardboard as a spacer so there will be a little clearance in the slot. Set the back (B) on top of the feet (C), hold it against the cardboard and tablet and mark its location. Set the tablet and cardboard aside; then align the back (B) with the marks and glue and clamp it to the feet. Trim the excess where the foot protrudes past the back.

Next, determine the length of the filler (D), which closes the back side and acts as a ledge to support the device. If the amplifier’s slot ends up being less than 9/16 in. wide, you will need to make the filler about 1/16 in. narrower than is shown in the cutting list so the device's speaker won’t be blocked. Glue and clamp the filler in place. All that’s left is to rout the other rounded over edges, finish sand and apply the finish.