Introduction: Bulletproof IPhone Case

Applying for a job with the secret services or just protective of your iPhone?

Either way this is an instructable for you.This holder can not only withstand  bullets and pellets from  low caliber guns and air rifles but is stab proof, protects your smart phone from falls, from hits by a  hammer and even will survive someone jumping on it , I have tried and tested these ( yes, I have even shot at it) as you can see from the second picture .
In fact you can make a holder for just about any phone (you could even make one for an ipad) its just that the dimensions which I will give in this instructable will be for an iPhone 4/4s. If you would like me to post an instructable to bulletproof  a different device please leave a comment.

In this instructable I will teach you how to build a bullet proof iPhone case from materials which are more readily available and cheaper than pre-prepared bulletproof materials such as Kevlar.
This case will cost you approximately $25 / £15 compared with about $90 / £60 for a pre-made bullet proof plate.

-55 x 20 cm sheet of mild steel , 3 mm thick ( this is in total but you can easily get several smaller bits of steel as long as they are no shorter than 14 Cm and no less wide than 10 Cm )
-firm foam sheet A4 sized and at least 1 cm thick
-epoxy resin (I used Araldite)
-fairly tough cloth ( can use thick clothing etc)
- small neodymium magnet

- metal file
-glue gun
-black spray paint (optional)
-gun to test !

Step 1:

The first step will be to cut out to size your armor plating:
1) take your mild steel sheet 
2) draw onto it 5 rectangles each 13 x 6.0 Cm
3)using your hack saw (if you have a mechanized saw this will speed up the process) cut them each out
4) file down the edges until they are flat and smooth

These plates later on will be mounted on top of each other along side some further plating and will act as the main armor to stop the bullet. If you would like to bullet proof your phone to high caliber and velocity bullets you will need to cut out more of these plates.

Step 2:

Next stage is to make a container to house your plates.
1) draw on to your sheet of steel the net outline as shown in the photographs (the dimensions will depend on which phone you are making it for and how bullet proof you would like it to be. the dimensions from here onward will be for an iPhone)
2)cut this out along the lines 
3) place your cut out shape in a vice and bend the sides as shown in the photograph
4) when you have your sides all folded up you must then glue (using Araldite ) in place a rectangle of thick cloth 13 x 6 Cm onto the base of the shape with folded sides.
5) now on top of this cloth glue in place one of your rectangular metal plates 
6) again on top of this plate glue a rectangle of thick cloth and continue this pattern until all 5 of your plates and all 6 of your cloth pieces are sandwiched together. This constant layering of  metal will slow down the bullet while the cloth will be reducing the force of the impact on your phone.
7)when your layering is finished you should bend the protruding edges of the metal container around the layers to secure them inside ( you will need to use a hammer to bash the edges down)

Step 3:

Once you have your metal container of plates you will need to make yet another container to support this one.
1) using the images draw onto steel a net to fit around your first 'box' and cut out .
2)place glue on the cloth side of your first container and press it  against the surface of the new sheet ensuring it is directly in the center.
3) fold around the side pieces of the net when the glue has dried so that you have a box within a box

Step 4:

Now you have a bulletproof base you need to furnish the inside of the case with padding to ensure the iPhone does not get broken by the sheer force of the impact of the bullet on the case, as the actual penetration won't be a problem the bullet will now send a shock wave rippling through the case which if not tended to will destroy the phone anyway.
1) take your A4 sheet of firm foam and cut a rectangle which will fit perfectly on the inside of the case you have built
2)check it fits and then cut out inside this rectangle a space where the phone can fit snugly inside
3)using Araldite stick the foam into the case and leave to dry
4)place a thin layer of foam on the exposed piece of metal where the phone will be placed(I haven't done this in the pictures so that you can easily see what is going on because the foam, is all the same color. This stage is vital so do not leave out )
5)cut out a piece to act as a lid
6)cut out some foam hinges and stick on as shown in pics
7) Stick an Apple logo onto the top of the lid as an extra touch if you wish

Step 5:

1) check you phone fits in correctly etc
2) you now have a  bullet proof iPhone case, so use it... carelessly?

3) If you want to be able to use camera without taking out the phone you must wait for all of the individual components to dry and stick fully, then TAKE OUT THE iPHONE before you drill a hole in the place where the camera points out. This is all very well if you are just going to make this for fun but if you seriously want the case to be as bullet proof as possible I wouldn't advise it because it is possible for a bullet to enter through this hole created and this would obviously destroy the phone.

good luck agents !!


FranckyV made it!(author)2017-06-26

Do you have a video of this bulletproof case please ?

kyle+brinkerhoff made it!(author)2013-03-23

Not to be rude or anything, but if you claim something to be bullet proof , it actually should be. 7.62 round would turn that into scrap. Just consider the fact that if you can cut the metal you used to make it with scissors it's probably not bullet proof, ( or even stomp proof)

kyle+brinkerhoff made it!(author)2013-05-02

22 rifle vs road sign. which is made of thicker metal than your case. hmm, lest we throw kinetic energy out the window...

SirCooksalot made it!(author)2016-12-04

Hmmm, lest we actually READ the Instructable before flaming it with condescending, patronizing, yet ironically inarticulate comments. Only the outside, shaped case is made from thin metal, otherwise the average DIYer wouldn't be able to form a phone-shaped box from it. What you failed to notice is that the thin outer box is holding several plates of thicker steel. Sound like it might work? It should, it's exactly the way many bulletproof vests function- a thin, flexible 'carrier' stuffed with steel plate.

kyle+brinkerhoff made it!(author)2013-05-02

also, if your being shot at, chances are you made allot of bad decisions consecutively, if your not government personnel, in that case if they happen to get your phone, your employer will more than likely compensate you for damages anyways.

SirCooksalot made it!(author)2016-12-04

You'd didn't even read the instructions... The scissors were used to cut the fabric/foam materials.

bobert610 made it!(author)2013-03-23

I agree. This may be able to stop a .22, or maybe even a 9mm, but anything bigger will tear right through. Also, you've made it to be hammer proof etc. There are already cases made out there that are half as slim and can protect even more.

dave17 made it!(author)2013-03-24

Half as slim?That would be twice as thick.

bobert610 made it!(author)2013-03-27

lol oops...

paupi made it!(author)2013-03-24

I'm sure there are cases out there that do the same, but wouldn't that defeat 90% of this page? I mean, it is all about home projects. Mainly stuff you can find in stores.

Good work man. Just one thing. If you haven't shot at it, don't say it's bulletproof. False advertising and all.

CanWire made it!(author)2013-03-24

I do appreciate the time and thought that has been put into this, but I agree with the criticism over false advertising. I don't have the silly thought that bullet proof requires one to fire the largest common calibre found in war, but some evidence is required, but we have not seen the .22 test yet. The deformation, and lead splatter would be visually (and probably functionally) significant. A solid metal box would also act as a Faraday cage and significantly reduce the signal.

DisplacedMic made it!(author)2013-03-24

yeah you can buy something similar or better - but doesn't that cover about 90% of the instructables out there?

randomray made it!(author)2013-03-24

Chuckle , there's always a bigger/stronger gun , where do you stop ? After all it is just a phone . The nice thing about the case is it's a little big and heavy making you spend less time talking and giving you more time to pay attention whats going on around you . Called situational awareness .

Tinworm made it!(author)2013-03-24

Guys, I really cannot believe how pedantic you are all being. If it stops a low calibre bullet, it is bullet-proof. How many readers here are going to be facing high calibre rounds anyway? When we say something is bullet-proof it is a euphemism, usually, for "very tough"....and clearly this design is very tough.

And so what if there are other things out there that do it better? The whole point of Instructables is to do it yourself. Give credit where it is due.

shannonlove made it!(author)2013-03-24

1) You can cut kevlar with scissors. It's all about composition. Just as a glass block can support hundreds of pounds/kilos under compression but be shattered by a few pounds concentrated by a punch, Certain types and weaves of kevlar stop different types of penetrations e.g. vest that stop bullets won't stop knives. Prison guards wear different vest than do police or soldiers because the former faces knives and the latter guns.

2) Technically, no one claims to be "bullet proof." If you look at the trade materials, the legally approved speak for all types of armoring is "resistant." The reason is that if you want to, you can shoot through anything. "Proof" implies impervious and there is no such thing. In common speech, however, "bullet proof" is used.

3) A standard civilian deer rifle with a hollow point hunting round will punch through almost every body armor out there. If you use a hardened bullet, easily made, it will punch through most of a steel engine block. Yet in common speech we don't say, "whoa, you can't call that police vest 'bullet proof' because there are 3 million civilian weapons in the US alone that can shoot through it front to back."

3) Even if you restrict the issue to just a single bullet, at a single caliber fired from a single model of weapon, there will be in the real world a vast spread in the energy and thus lethality of all the bullets flying around a battle field. The penetrating power of rounds is a laboratory abstraction set under fixed ranges, temperatures, pressures, winds, DISTANCES, age of munitions and maintenance of the weapon. In the real world, you deal with spent shots over distance, ricochets, crappy ammo and guns that haven't been cleaned since Eisenhower is president.

That's why there are so many documented instances of people being saved by bibles, badges, dog tags etc. The round the caught didn't have the energy to penetrate such an object under those conditions even though in the lab, it probably would have.

4) The utility of armor is all about what it protects. Not even tanks are equally armored all around. You might reflect that armor disappeared almost entirely from 19th century battle fields because of all the high energy line of sight shots would punch through any armor a man could carry. Armor only returned in mid-WWI in the form of a helmet whose sole intent was to protect against low-mass, low-velocity shrapnel. Any military bullet of the age would go right through any helmet, yet soldiers still found the minimal, single purpose protection it provided worth the humping weight and they have ever since.

Likewise, even a small increase in protection for a vital tool like a smart phone is worth the effort. Just because it won't stop laboratory ideal common rounds make it useless.

This is a very useful field expedient.

anode505 made it!(author)2013-03-24

So a class II bulletproof vest isn't? Really? (the joys of youth and 'internet experts')
(most BP vest are NOT knife proof)

SpareiChan made it!(author)2013-03-24

If it can stop a low caliber bullet only then I would say it is more of a Flak Case. Also to those saying how many people need to worry about rifle rounds... How many people need a "bullet proof" iphone case... People being shot at that's who.

sibuadvancetech made it!(author)2014-06-20


marcos4141 made it!(author)2014-01-03

Thanks, the bulletproof iPhone case makes my life so much easier.

Lucky7x7 made it!(author)2013-11-27

The metal with the red circle does not show signs of any bullet impacts. A .22lr would tear straight through that sheet steel, padding, and your phone. sorry. good luck

firstson11 made it!(author)2013-05-11

What about the front and have you tested with rifles ?

sjroth made it!(author)2013-03-22

And it would probably hurt your hand.

kyle+brinkerhoff made it!(author)2013-05-03

and your skull. kinetic energy is a jerk :p

IR0NxLEGEND made it!(author)2013-04-15

Very cool but I wonder how a phone would withstand the G-force impact of a bullet strike. I think it would crack the phone from the impact alone. I saw that there is foam within the case, but I still am concerned that the foam would lack the dampening effect needed to save the phone. Still very cool though.

paracorded_inspirations made it!(author)2013-04-10

iPod 4g

Krinkov made it!(author)2013-04-02

To all those saying this isn't bullet proof, you don't know what you are saying. The term bullet proof doesn't mean "stop everything". It means the item is rated to stop whatever the maker claims it will stop. The term originates from testing medieval armor vs. bullets of the time. The maker would prove that his armor would stop a bullet by shooting it. The dent from the bullet would be left as the proofing mark. Even if this thing will only stop a .22 pistol, it is still bullet proof.

somebullcrap made it!(author)2013-04-04

bullet proof does in fact mean it will stop any bullet .i think bullet resistant would be a more accurate description .as that is the term used by the armor manufacturers

supreme+creator made it!(author)2013-03-27

your very very welcome and god bless america

Dickerson888 made it!(author)2013-03-27

Apparently the D3o stuff isn't sold but they might consider a collaboration I suppose. Create a ceramic plate box to cover the device and maybe they would be interested in determining if the D3o will protect the plates. Be interesting to see if the D3o stuff has any ballistic properties. Seems like a lot of motorcross gear is made from the stuff.

Random123Me made it!(author)2013-03-26

If you increased the padding inside this would work great for portable hard drives as well.

Dickerson888 made it!(author)2013-03-25

I checked Wikipedia and got this: A ceramic is a non-metallic, inorganic material, used to mould items or articles. Ceramics consist of clay soil, to help with the remoulding, and other non-metallic inorganic substances.Ceramic plates, typically composed of boron carbide or near variants, are very popular in military application. These materials offer very high ballistic value. However, they do not do very well at dispersing blunt trauma. As a result they are often backed with materials like aramid fabrics, high density plastics, and/or metals.Ceramic plates are made of clay, and some other non-metallic inorganic materials.

Ceramics can be molded and fired. They aren't very durable so I'm not sure how well it would work. Maybe a covering of the new D3o plastic to protect the ceramic plate. 

dj_nme made it!(author)2013-03-26

Aparrently at least some armour aplications use alumina (aluminium oxide) ceramic, the other aplications I know of for this is for TIG torch nozzles and I believe that some sparkplugs use it as insultaion between the threaded outside and the electrode inside.

Nachoman made it!(author)2013-03-26

Well, nice with getting the "bulletproof" to be literal, but what about your phone's reception?
I mean, it makes no sense to bother doing this, if the phone stops being a phone and becomes ballast.

antioch made it!(author)2013-03-25

Simple, cheap, more or less everyday objects or easily obtainable materials. Fun idea and well done instructable.
It is beyond me how it attracted so many dimwitted criticisms. Does maybe a faible for firearms go with a lack of wits?
Anyway, keep on bulletproofing!

Shadeyman made it!(author)2013-03-25

veeguy, perhaps you should read it again. There are FIVE layers of 3mm plate ....

Here, I'll help ..

4) when you have your sides all folded up you must then glue (using Araldite ) in place a rectangle of thick cloth 13 x 6 Cm onto the base of the shape with folded sides.
5) now on top of this cloth glue in place one of your rectangular metal plates
6) again on top of this plate glue a rectangle of thick cloth and continue this pattern until all 5 of your plates and all 6 of your cloth pieces are sandwiched together. This constant layering of metal will slow down the bullet while the cloth will be reducing the force of the impact on your phone.

Dickerson888 made it!(author)2013-03-24

I haven't read all of the comments. Have you considered ceramic plates. It only has to work once anyway. The newer materials used for vests use ceramic plates under the kevlar body armor. As to the composition of the plates I have no idea. The idea is to absorb the impact and spread out the effect and not stopping the round completely.

danthman2000 made it!(author)2013-03-24

Why would you want to protect an iPhone in the first place?

veeguy made it!(author)2013-03-24

This is a nice instructable for a heavy duty iphone case. The 3mm mild steel would work out to 10 gauge metal, quite a sturdy material. My problem comes in where the author implies this would withstand a "low caliber bullet". It will not. My Daisy 880 pellet rifle will shoot a .177 caliber hunting pellet through both sides of this case and the phone inside it. If you want to build this great ultra heavy duty phone case, go for it, but don't assume it will stop a projectile, especially one fired by a real gun. This is how people get hurt or killed.

pimpdoubt made it!(author)2013-03-24

While bullet proof has always been one of those words that gets on my nerves -- it's actually bullet resistant -- 3-4mm mild steel should stop most hand gun rounds. Not to say it wouldn't break your ribs with the case, but shouldn't penetrate. And your daisy? no... no it can not.

JTomM129 made it!(author)2013-03-24

I personally would look into carbon fiber molded directly over a semi-soft inner case as it's would be stronger and lighter. But there are SO many iPod/iPhone cases out there someone has got to have done this already. Also, if you really want to make your phone MIL-SPEC shockproof even a thin coat of Sugru or like silicone bumper around the corners and edges would also be a good thing. Your phone may very well stay intact in a steel case but even with the liner the the gravity/inertial flux from being dropped (can be in excess of 200 G's from a good height) is what's gonna scramble it's guts and make it into a useless brink (but it will still look pretty on the outside). The more strategically placed semi-soft stuff to lessen the impact flux (especially on the corners and edges) the better the chance of it's survival.

JTomM129 made it!(author)2013-03-24

I personally would look into carbon fiber molded directly over a semi-soft inner case as it's would be stronger and lighter. But there are SO many iPod/iPhone cases out there someone has got to have done this already. Also, if you really want to make your phone MIL-SPEC shockproof even a thin coat of Sugru or like silicone bumper around the corners and edges would also be a good thing. Your phone may very well stay intact in a steel case but even with the liner the the gravity/inertial flux from being dropped (can be in excess of 200 G's from a good height) is what's gonna scramble it's guts and make it into a useless brink (but it will still look pretty on the outside). The more strategically placed semi-soft stuff to lessen the impact flux (especially on the corners and edges) the better the chance of it's survival.

n5yzv made it!(author)2013-03-24

The last I knew, metal killed RF. Kind of a requirement with a phone. This is where a good plastic composite material with soft armor is handy, but as a Kyle Brinkerhoff noted, 7.62 is the gold standard. Most soft armor will not stop such a round.
If RF isn't an issue, and you want it to withstand more "damage" (ie: your hammer, your foot, not including any rifle) use stainless. Very brittle though. Best bet would to be layer the stainless. Again: 5 LB phone. No RF. No GPS.

wolfgang64 made it!(author)2013-03-24

I agree, I see several problems. 1. signal 2. Even if your mild steel (i'm assuming 10/20 carbon) stops the round it can still transfer an imence amount of force to the object.
A 45 might not penitrait but shock and force would crush your phone to pieces and possiby bracke your ribs. It might stop a .22 ,.25 or .32 but a 9mm, 40cal or anything bigger would go right through. Nevermind any real rifle caliber.
3. Try and explain this thing at airport security.
My best thought would be alternating layers of carbon fiber and kevlar backed up with thin sheets of titaniun but I still think that idea is scetchy in terms of signal and stopping power.

shannonlove made it!(author)2013-03-24

If simple metal blocked signals, going inside a metal shed or even an enclosed vehicle would kill your phone.

Metal will attenuate but not kill an RF signal. The specific amount of attenuation is dependent on frequency and composition. To block a single entirely, you need a Faraday cage which is an all encompassing metal surround with an electrical current running though it.

In fact, controlling stray radio signals is a big problem in both civilian and military applications. Your computer and it's power cables have partial and full faraday cages just to prevent ambient RF from scrambling it. Military tech goes to extraordinary lengths to both hide and find almost anything electric which emits RF.

flatboat made it!(author)2013-03-24

You don't have your facts quite right. The Faraday cage has to be able to conduct the charge from one side to the other. There is no electric current applied in a faraday cage, other than the signal that goes through the metal from one side to the other.

CanWire made it!(author)2013-03-24

Nice comment, I had always wondered about that and assumed that aluminium was fairly penetrable and composed the majority of enclosures. The current makes so much more sense, and explains the massive active electronic components enclosing my sister's labs... I wish my brain worked better sometimes.. =)

dad_a_monk made it!(author)2013-03-24

One thing that seems to not be sinking in, there is no such thing as bullet "proof". An item can only be bullet resistant. Nothing can be truly rated bullet proof, since by definition would imply the substance stopping ALL bullets.

This would only meet the a NIJ 0101.03 Standard of Level 1
This std tested early body armor that could only stop fragmentation and very low velocity pistol ammunition. Only stopping a .22 at 1,050 fps (320 mps) meets the minimum level 1.

Now with that you are trading a useless level of protection for a massive amount of weight. I have shooting glasses made of polymer that can stop a .22 at 1,050 fps. Any metal would be a poor trade off for weight v resistance. Ceramic or high density polymers would be preferred. In fact other than being a paper weight in high winds that I have almost take me off the ground in Iraq this would only be a heavy useless equipment addition. Any soldier knows weight is always an issue in combat and this is just too much.

Also I unlike many that comment AM an expert in this area. One being retired military and very combat tested. As well as a now retired cop and in both jobs tested ballistic performance and body armor ballistic resistantance. I am FBI trained on bullet ballistic performance and testing.

You have a good idea here that unfortunately has been done to death in the world of smart phone protective cases. There are more than a few that claim bullet resistance all be it like this at the minimum lvl. I think this could be taken in the right direction with more resistant and much lighter synthetic materials or ceramics .

Good luck with it.

nick.tino made it!(author)2013-03-24

3mm of steel will stop virtually nothing.

agis68 made it!(author)2013-03-24

some short range bb guns maybe....but if it been hited by steel bb you will get a nice bullet hole and a broken Iphone screen...

Steamcrunk made it!(author)2013-03-24

Serious suggestion: perhaps making something like this out of Micarta ShotBlocker (a bullet resistant fiberglass you can work with ordinary tools) or something that would stop actually stop a common caliber (9mm, .380, .45) bullet? I suppose you could also use Acrylite, if you didn't mind having a 2" thick phone case. ;)

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