Best practices: ring & circle inlay in 3/4" plywood - Woodworking Talk - Woodworkers Forum
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post #1 of 10 Old 07-02-2020, 05:14 AM Thread Starter
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Best practices: ring & circle inlay in 3/4" plywood

Building a couple desks with integrated wireless charging pads. The desktop is [probably] going to be made of sandwiched 3/4" birch or maple plywood with 3/4" MDF or particle board "filling" inside - (I am fattening up the desktop's thickness/profile.) I want to inlay a 6" ring with a 4" circle inside to mark where the charger is. The ring and circle inlay need to be as thin as possible for charging to work so I was going to shoot for at or less than 1/16" thick. I will have an epoxy bar-top finish over the desktop.



My original thought was to glue up a 1/16" thick walnut ring and maple circle, cut a 5" hole through the plywood sandwich top, then router in a 1/2 inch lip for the wood inlay to sit on - allowing some expansion and contraction - and the bar-top epoxy would help keep the inlay in its proper place. However, I worry about expansion/contraction even with the bar-top to help stabilize the wood.



Considering that I want the inlay to be so thin, am I better off gluing a veneer ring to the plywood then chiseling out the circle for the charger from the bottom - basically leaving a ply or two of the plywood intact?



Or is it better to cut a 6" hole entirely through the desktop and use the bar-top epoxy layer to "hold" a ring and circle veneer "sticker"?


Or am I better off giving up on making the ring and circle inlay out of wood entirely (due to movement) and instead craft a decorative epoxy inlay?

Last edited by Mystri; 07-02-2020 at 05:17 AM.
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post #2 of 10 Old 07-02-2020, 09:45 AM
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Photos will help get more responses.

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post #3 of 10 Old 07-04-2020, 09:48 AM Thread Starter
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hmmm it's a concept/idea so I don't really have photos or even detailed sketch-ups...


Basically I want this kind of desktop wireless charger thing (right side of that monitor riser):





Except, instead of the black plastic circle, I want to inlay something directly into the desktop, maybe something like this in wood (just 1 ring though):





I'm wondering about the stability of the inlay considering it'd be thin, maybe 1/16 inch, solid wood going into plywood, also it's very dry here in Alaska which my brain says might be a challenge for such a thin wood inlay to cope with very well.


Like am I better off leaving say 1/16" of the plywood's surface in-tact and doing a veneer sticker ring instead of a "real" inlay?


Would stringing perhaps be a better choice?


Or would it be better to skip wood entirely and fill the necessary hole with an epoxy/resin inlay?

Last edited by Mystri; 07-04-2020 at 09:52 AM.
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post #4 of 10 Old 07-04-2020, 09:57 AM
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Docking Station

I think I would go with the veneer approach.
have you tested a charging dock to see if it will send the signal
through wood or any thickness of epoxy ?
as you can see, some of us are not on the same page as you.
(just thinking out loud here).
if the "theory" does work, it will be a very interesting project.

Edit: before getting too far into your project, I would suggest practicing
with different materials to see what works and doesn't work for you.
I would think that charging docks are like any other modern electronic gadget
these days ~ some are stronger (or weaker) than other models.
so this project will depend on your electronics as well as the thickness of the wood.

Best practices: ring & circle inlay in 3/4" plywood-docking.jpg

Edit #2:
I googled: "Do all wireless chargers work the same"?
Answer:
"any Qi charger, new or old, cheap or expensive, will "more or less" do the job
when it comes to charging your phone. But not all chargers are made equal, and things
like form factor, materials, size, and of course, how fast it can actually charge your phone
are all things to consider, especially for a product that’s looking to take up permanent residence on your desk or nightstand".

so, with that little bit of research (35 seconds) you can see that you will have several
hurdles to overcome and hoops to jump through in order to bring your "concept"
into a viable, working project.

.

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Last edited by John Smith_inFL; 07-04-2020 at 11:48 AM. Reason: added sketch
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post #5 of 10 Old 07-04-2020, 11:36 AM
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Think guitar sound hole ......

If it were me, I would rout a circular recess away up fat 1/16" up from the bottom leaving the plywood veneer and maybe a layer of structural veneer. You would need to test how much thickness will still transmit the charging signal to determine that. Then if you want to "locate" the area in the top use the same technique as they use for inlaying a guitar sound hole. It may be called "stringing", I don't know. David F. may be able to help here.
https://www.google.com/search?q=guit..._AUoAHoECAEQAA

It would look very unique for certain.
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The answer to your question will only be as detailed and specific as the question is detailed and specific. Good questions also include a sketch or a photo that illustrates your issue. (:< D)

Last edited by woodnthings; 07-04-2020 at 11:48 AM.
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post #6 of 10 Old 07-05-2020, 07:42 AM Thread Starter
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Yes I have to be careful about the thickness for sure. The charger(s) I am looking at ( https://www.amazon.com/s?k=under+tab...f=nb_sb_noss_2 ) work through 30-40mm (inch or so) thick desktops. The desktop this goes into is still being determined (testing as you said) I'm looking at either sandwiched 1/2" maple/birch plywood, 3/4" particleboard/MDF, 1/2" maple/birch plywood with at least 1/8" epoxy bar-top (possibly more if I put in the LEDs I was thinking about) OR two sandwiched 3/4" maple/birch plywood with the bar-top, so I'll have to inset the charger base for sure.



My husband and I use our wireless chargers daily right now and are both very particular about where we put our phones. Not having the current chargers sitting on our desktops would both look better and be a benefit to us (just have to get the type that has foreign object detection [FOD] so metal keys and objects don't accidentally turn it on and overheat protection since the charger will likely be set into wood)



I do plan on testing a lot of things before I start actually building the desks for sure. I figure its going to be at least a year before I have them in build status. Have to test how the different ply types and solid woods take my self dyed stains/shellacs with poly wipe-on, how the ply types take a miter and dovetails, how the bar-top epoxy lays down on them and how durable it'd be, etc. Lots of playing to get the desks exactly how I want them because they will pretty much be permanent fixtures for at least another 15 years or so, and after that the kido might keep them for his use too.



I posted this picture in another thread (plans section) but this is the desk I'm planing on building for my husband's half of the room. The charger in question he wants on the left side of his monitor - can sort of see the circle I put in the plan:




And this is my desk, but I'm not done designing it quite yet. Like the risers and cubbies and all that, plus that left side, the L part, I want to be a drafting desk where I can angle the top and I'm still figuring out how to build that yet:

Best practices: ring &amp; circle inlay in 3/4&quot; plywood-deskplan-k.png
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Last edited by Mystri; 07-05-2020 at 07:55 AM.
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post #7 of 10 Old 07-05-2020, 12:15 PM
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i didn't see any long distance chargers that were rated well enough to bother with buying
one required use of their sticker, but didn't work through most cases
one worked through up to 40mm, but didn't actually work according to the reviews
it appears that long distance charging is a great concept with no supporting technology backing it
i would either route a surface hole to make a flush mount or use a standard base for cordless charging
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post #8 of 10 Old 07-06-2020, 05:58 AM Thread Starter
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@_Ogre Yeah I have to test them yet.


If the commercial ones fail though I'll just sacrifice an Ardino and make my own. Though I'd def have to do veneer wood with the coils embedded in epoxy.
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post #9 of 10 Old 07-06-2020, 10:11 AM
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Technology changes quickly. Furniture lasts for decades, sometimes centuries. My desk is still going strong at 50+ years old, but it suits my needs perfectly. They didn't have home computers or cell phones when it was made, but the basic design has withstood the test of time, and has adapted to a wide variety of technologies over time. There are many small design details that have allowed me to adapt this desk to new needs as they have arisen.

If @Mystri's desk were going to be mine, made from beautiful woods, I would try to future proof it by not incorporating specific, fleeting technology. When the phones break and are replaced, will the built-in charger still work? What new features will appear that the desk with its "old 2020 charger technology" cannot accommodate?

For example, rather than designing specific charger technology into the desk itself, perhaps it would be better to design a "module" space that could accommodate any charger technology. Build a perfectly fitting, beautiful, compatible, drop-in module for today's chargers, and be prepared to build a new module for a new device in the future. Think about how you might bring power or data to the module space. Think about functional flexibility for the future. Think about what a non-functional "filler" module might be like in case you no longer need a charger there in the future.

Someday, that module space may be used for the device that summons your flying aerocar to the front door, for example. The cell phone charger will move to your pillow, to charge the cell phone implant in your head. You get the point.

For me, a desk is a multi-functional work surface with built-in, semi-organized, compartmentalized storage. If I were designing a replacement for my current desk, I would be thinking about its functionality - how I would use it today, and how I would use it in the future?
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post #10 of 10 Old 07-06-2020, 06:00 PM Thread Starter
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Tool Agnostic View Post
Technology changes quickly. Furniture lasts for decades, sometimes centuries. My desk is still going strong at 50+ years old, but it suits my needs perfectly. They didn't have home computers or cell phones when it was made, but the basic design has withstood the test of time, and has adapted to a wide variety of technologies over time. There are many small design details that have allowed me to adapt this desk to new needs as they have arisen.

If @Mystri's desk were going to be mine, made from beautiful woods, I would try to future proof it by not incorporating specific, fleeting technology. When the phones break and are replaced, will the built-in charger still work? What new features will appear that the desk with its "old 2020 charger technology" cannot accommodate?

For example, rather than designing specific charger technology into the desk itself, perhaps it would be better to design a "module" space that could accommodate any charger technology. Build a perfectly fitting, beautiful, compatible, drop-in module for today's chargers, and be prepared to build a new module for a new device in the future. Think about how you might bring power or data to the module space. Think about functional flexibility for the future. Think about what a non-functional "filler" module might be like in case you no longer need a charger there in the future.

Someday, that module space may be used for the device that summons your flying aerocar to the front door, for example. The cell phone charger will move to your pillow, to charge the cell phone implant in your head. You get the point.

For me, a desk is a multi-functional work surface with built-in, semi-organized, compartmentalized storage. If I were designing a replacement for my current desk, I would be thinking about its functionality - how I would use it today, and how I would use it in the future?

Yeah, the charger mounts up into a hole in the desk so it's totally replaceable :) Even left some "fiddle room" -- hole is planned at 6" diam, but most chargers are maybe 4" diam.

* IF I gotta make my own charger, I'd figure out a way to make it removable. I imagine it'd have to have a major surge or something to snap the copper embedded in epoxy, but, yea, maybe instead of embedding the coils, just stick em to the bottom of the epoxy layer. Then the coil could be replaced if it ever broke. I'll jump that hurdle if it comes up, at the moment the plan is to buy one heh

It's a great point for sure though! I've only even had a wireless charger for a short while (maybe 6-7 years) and I'm needing an upgrade to the 10-15W variety. Plus electronics are a bit fidgety for sure, I'm actually really surprised my Anker charger has lasted as long as it has - I had bought a digital note pen (records everything you write into a computer document) at around the same time, paid easily 3 times as much for the pen as the charger, but the pen quit working easily within a year. Def. gotta plan for exchanging things out.

Last edited by Mystri; 07-06-2020 at 06:03 PM.
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