Cast Aluminum IPhone Chain





Introduction: Cast Aluminum IPhone Chain

About: Constantly improving the craftsmanship

I have always want to make a custom iPhone case, the plastic ones are too easy to break, there are other wooden, laser etched case but there were not impressive. So i decided to make an over-the-top sometimes impractical cast aluminum iphone case.

the Lion head case was inspired by door knockers that I saw in many old classic Chinese doors. I also found that it bear a resemblance to early Nike Lebron Lion logo.

the original form is created with foam sheets, then I made a one time mold with ceramic shell investment technique. aluminium is melted at furnace at 1220 F then poured at once. the result captured most of the detail and only required minor sanding/polishing.

Step 1: Design and Create the Original Form

At first I found some lion head image on the web. one strong reference is the Nike Lebron Lion logo, which i found pretty stylish and it has a simple lion mane design which makes the separation easier.

One I have a solid concept. I began to trace the out most mane contour it must be larger than the size of the iPhone. and remember to mark the camera hole. the cut out can be done at the very end to ensure a clean cut. I was aiming for a symmetric shape but not identical on both left and right.

Once i have the out most piece cut out from foam sheet ,trace a smaller one onto a different color foam sheet. when I cut it I made some adjustment so the shape of mane on the smaller piece is a bit different.

repeat this step till I reached the desire thickness and where the head is proportion to the mane. the head is stacked up the same way, though make less adjustment on each layer. I used Elmer glue for the entire head. and hot glue to secure the teeth.

Tip. I use dull e-acto blade as clamps to hold pieces while glue dries. it pierce though and leaves almost no mark. pins are just as good.

Do it with patient. make sure each layer fits good. glue together at the end. foam sheets are very easy to cut and cheap. so discard layers that isn't neat.

Step 2: Ceramic Shell Investment.

Once the head is complete and glue is dried. cut the camera slot so camera is not blocked when using with the phone.

attach a wax pour channel at the back. because the back is flat one channel is good enough. use a Styrofoam cup as the base. chill in the freezer till the wax is harden.

procedure for the Ceramic Shell investment

3 coats of slurry ( yellow tank) -- drying -- 3 coats of slurry with fine stucco( white sand) --drying --8 coats of slurry with coarse stucco -- drying -- last coat of slurry

The shell has at least 1 1/4 inch thickness. and I could barely see the shape of a lion head.

Step 3: Casting

Once Shell is dried. it has a pale yellow color. Fire the shell in an electric kiln at 1500F for 1 hour to burn off the foam sheet and wax support. Dip one last coat of slurry once dried. fire at 1500 F again slowing over night. The next morning. pour the melted aluminium while the shell is still glowing hot. I didnt have photos of this process because I was wearing protection gears and heat proof gloves. the furnace will get so hot that sneaker sole can be melted while working.

After a few hours break the shell with a hammer. grind off the pour channel, and lightly sand the surface the ceramic shell captured the texture of the foamsheet which gives it a forged like surface.. I used Mag &Aluminium Polish by Mothers to polish . attach a chain to hang, then its done!

Of course, it is not for everyday use and it certainly does not fit inside my pocket. but if one day I want to pimp out and just hang it on my neck like an OG. it sure makes a cool iphone chain.

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    plsss give me a temlet

    very well done bro. it looks super clean, I love it.

    If only I had a foundry in my backyard. ;) I made a few heads that I would love to cast in metal.

    2014-09-17 20.47.36.jpg
    1 reply

    I'm just randomly helping ya here but this video could work for you? I dob't know it might be to big, nd I have no idea since I haven't tried this yet. Just saying maybe look into this.

    this is some quality content.

    This is pretty darn cool. Hopefully it isn't super heavy when carrying your phone around. I like how the camera peeps out.

    1 reply

    yeh it has some weight, so i wouldnt hang it all day long. I wish that I could somehow make the head hollow to save some cost and weight :)

    You wouldn't happen to know the brand of investment your school uses? Or just where to buy some that's not in bulk?

    1 reply

    yeh i dont know exactly what brand. I think it is in bulk. the tank for dipping was very big.

    wowee wow wow wow. I absolutely love the design and instructable and awesome pictures. I have done a little bit of casting, but just backyard casting with aluminum from aluminum cans and sand from the sand pile to cast into. I really want to do this. Like a lot. Thanks for the inspir

    1 reply

    thank you, I am so glad. Yeh I was reading home made foundry posted by the king of random. it looks legit. I wish I could do some backyard casting. My casting was done at school. btw I love you wooden spoon post. respect.

    That's amazing! The foam lion looks cool, too. Do you have any templates you could post? Thanks!

    1 reply

    Sorry, I didn't use a template. so basically, I draw the out most shape on a paper then trace and cut it on the foam sheet. once i have that I just trace on another sheet and cut it a bit smaller with some minor adjustment. foam sheets are very easy to cut so I just trial and error until i like it then stack and glue them together.