Introduction: Carbonfiber IPhone Case

Picture of Carbonfiber IPhone Case

This instructable will walk you through key steps to create your own carbon fiber iPhone case! See the list of materials needed below, have fun, and be safe!

Materials:

  • iPhone Case
  • Wax Paper
  • DAP: Plaster of Paris
  • Wooden Popsicle Sticks
  • Small Measuring Cups
  • Plastic Cup
  • Fibre Glast 2000 Epoxy Resin
  • Fibre Glast 2120 2-Hour Epoxy Cure
  • Paint Brushes
  • Heavy-Duty Plastic Bag
  • Scissors
  • Vacuum Sealant Tape
  • Vacuum Apparatus, Hose, and Pump
  • Dremel

Personal Protective Equipment (PPE):

  • Nitrile Gloves
  • Vinyl Gloves
  • Goggles
  • Lab Coat

Hazards:

  • Uncured epoxy is very toxic and requires nitrile gloves when handling.
  • Use vinyl gloves when working with dried epoxy, plaster, and carbon fiber.
  • To protect body from chemical/physical harm, wear goggles and a lab coat at all times.
  • Please use the dremel with caution and unplug it from the wall whenever you change the head.

Step 1: Step 1: IPhone Case Prep

Begin by washing your iPhone case with water and soap and dry completely to remove any oil and filth. Follow by covering the inside of the case with wax paper such that it conforms to the interior of the case and you have at least half an inch from every edge left over. Be sure to emphasize any features on your case such as holes for camera and volume buttons by pushing the wax paper deep into these spots such that they bulge.

Step 2: Step 2: Plaster Mold

Picture of Step 2: Plaster Mold

Setup: Cover your work area with plaster wrap and use caution to avoid large messes.

HAZARDS: Use vinyl gloves when working with uncured plaster! Goggles and lab coat worn at all times.

Waste Disposal: All waste contaminated by uncured plaster may be disposed of in any regular garbage.

Mix roughly 40mL of dry plaster to 20mL of water and mix slowly until you achieve a uniform "cake batter" composition. Pour the plaster mix into the phone case until it completely fills the case. You may want to raise the case a couple of inches from your work area and allowing it to drop so that the top surface of the plaster levels out.

Step 3: Step 3: Finalize Plaster Mold

Picture of Step 3: Finalize Plaster Mold

After the plaster completely dries, remove the mold from the iPhone case and remove the wax paper. Finalize your mold by sanding down any rough areas with sandpaper or a wooden Popsicle stick.

Step 4: Step 4: Carbon Fiber Layup Prep

Picture of Step 4: Carbon Fiber Layup Prep

Prep your plaster mold for the carbon fiber layup by covering it with wax paper and laying out plastic wrap on your work area to avoid messes.

Step 5: Step 5: Carbon Fiber Layup (Part 1)

Picture of Step 5: Carbon Fiber Layup (Part 1)

HAZARDS: Wear nitrile gloves when working with carbon fiber and uncured epoxy (very toxic). Goggles and lab coat worn at all times.

Waste Disposal: Any materials that come into contact with uncured epoxy must be thrown out in a designated hazardous waste bin.

  1. Cut a sheet of carbon fiber such that a quarter inch overlaps the top surface of your plaster mold. Tape the edges of the carbon fiber with masking tape to protect the seems.
  2. Wrap the plaster mold with the carbon fiber sheet such that the surface with the taped edges forms the inside of your case.
  3. Use masking tape to connect the edges of the carbon fiber to the exposed face of the plaster mold.

Step 6: Step 6: Carbon Fiber Layup (Part 2)

Picture of Step 6: Carbon Fiber Layup (Part 2)

HAZARDS: Wear nitrile gloves when working with carbon fiber and uncured epoxy (very toxic). Goggles and lab coat worn at all times.

Waste Disposal: Any materials that come into contact with uncured epoxy must be thrown out in a designated hazardous waste bin.

  1. Begin by pouring 45mL of Fiber Glast 2000 Epoxy Resin into a small measuring cup.
  2. In a second small cup pour 15mL of Fiber Glast 2120 2hr Epoxy Cure.
  3. Pour all the epoxy resin into a larger plastic cup.
  4. With a wooden Popsicle stick, slowly mix the resin while gradually pouring the hardener.
  5. Continue to mix slowly for roughly 2 min until the mixture reaches a uniform consistency.

Step 7: Step 7: Carbon Fiber Layup (Part 3)

Picture of Step 7: Carbon Fiber Layup (Part 3)

HAZARDS: Wear nitrile gloves when working with carbon fiber and uncured epoxy (very toxic). Goggles and lab coat worn at all times.

Waste Disposal: Any materials that come into contact with uncured epoxy must be thrown out in a designated hazardous waste bin.

  1. Prop your carbon fiber case on a cup to maximize the exposed surface area.
  2. With a brush, evenly cover the phone case with epoxy along the back face and edges.
  3. Make all your brush strokes in one direction to keep a uniform epoxy coat with few air bubbles.

Step 8: Step 8: Vacuum Dry

Picture of Step 8: Vacuum Dry

HAZARDS: Wear nitrile gloves when working with carbon fiber and uncured epoxy (very toxic). Goggles and lab coat worn at all times.

Waste Disposal: Any materials that come into contact with uncured epoxy must be thrown out in a designated hazardous waste bin.

  1. Seal one side of a heavy-duty plastic bag with vacuum sealant tape.
  2. Poke a hole through the center of one surface of the plastic bag.
  3. Insert the small silver part of the vacuum apparatus (centered on dark orange cushion) through the hole and cap on the other side of the bag.
  4. Place the phone case along an edge of the inside of the bag and seal the free end with vacuum sealant tap. Make sure to press tape firmly and check that there are no wrinkles along which air can escape.
  5. Connect a hose to the vacuum apparatus and begin to suck out the air.
  6. Press down firmly on the case from the outside of the bag to remove any persistent wrinkles.
  7. Leave case in vacuum until all epoxy dries completely.

Step 9: Step 9: Shaping Carbon Fiber Case

Picture of Step 9: Shaping Carbon Fiber Case

HAZARDS: Wear vinyl gloves, goggles, and a lab coat when working with carbon fiber and cured epoxy.

Waste Disposal: All dried epoxy and plaster waste can be disposed off in a regular garbage can.

  1. Remove the carbon fiber case from the plaster mold using the cutting dremel tool (circular disk) as needed to cut around the edges of the tapped surface.
  2. Knock out the plaster mold from the case by shattering it with a hammer.
  3. Peel off the wax paper from the inside of the carbon fiber case.
  4. With the small cone-tip head, use the dremel to create holes around the characteristic features of the case including the back camera, charging port, and speakers.
  5. With the larger cone-tip head, use the dremel to smooth any jagged edges or uneven surfaces of the phone case until you are satisfied with the product.
  6. If needed, add a final layer of epoxy and let cure to achieve an even, glossy coat for the final product.

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