An iPhone case says a lot about a person, that is why there are so many on sale, one to match every type of personality, but what if there isn't one that matches you, either that or you just want a challenge, or just want to show off your amazingly cool iPhone case that you designed and is 3D printed to your mates, well READ ON...
The versatility of 3d printing is incredible and this instructable is going to show you how you can design your own customised 3D printed iPhone 4/4s case step by step simply and easily in less than 20 minutes.
This was something I struggled to do when I first decided to design an iPhone case, so I am sharing this knowledge with you to spare you the trouble and without the need of vast knowledge of designing programs.
The iPhone case you design can then be 3d printed by a company such as Shapeways (a 3d printing service) for about £20/$30 including shipping to the USA (excluding taxes) however a little bit more for shipping to other countries.
I also recently discovered 123D's Fabrication service (click on the 'Fabricate' tab), I am unsure if they are cheaper than Shapeways who provide the same service and I have no past experience with them.
This instructable is suitable for all levels of experience with CAD (Computer Aided Design) programs.
So far, using the method in this Instructable, I have successfully designed and manufactured 2 iphone cases:
Here is my newest 3d printed iphone case which has an integrated 3 in 1 flip out stand which I have called the TriStand, this design really stretched the limits of 3d printing as it contained hinges with pins of only 1mm in diameter, however it worked flawlessly. For more information about this design or to get this design 3d printed from Shapeways in a choice of colours, look Here!
This is my example for this instructable which I have printed and tested which is available from Shapeways, which i will personalise with your name and choice of colour Available Here or the version with moving cogs Available Here.
Here is a High Resolution Picture of the case.
"Simplicity, is the aim of this case, the back has been ripped off revealing that the iPhone is being powered by nothing more than simple clockwork, a great match for a device which is so simple to use."
Now... to make your own:
You will need some CAD software, some are available for free such as Google Sketchup which I recommend for those of you with little or no experience with CAD.
I used Autodesk Inventor for this tutorial.
Step 1: Creating the Case
If you are using Google Sketchup and want to use the template file, go to 'File' >'Import' >'Options' >(tick) 'Merge Coplanar Faces', then import the template file, after importing the file, use the 'Pointer' tool and click on the case then go to 'Edit' >'Component' >'Explode' (do this twice, it's a weird bug), this will allow you to edit the case easily.
After you have imported this file into your CAD software you can skip to step 3.
But hey, wheres the fun in not trying?
First you will have to find all the relevant Technical Drawings for the intended iphone you want to make the case for available Here.
Now... Start up your Cad package and create a 2d sketch, on this sketch draw a simple rectangle with the exact length and width of the iphone and extrude it the exact depth of the iphone and then add fillets of radius 8.5mm round the 4 edges of the rectangular prism and fillets of radius 1.59mm around the top and bottom faces as shown in picture 2, this is essentily a basic copy of the iPhone.
Shell your solid OUTWARDS of a thickness of at least 1.5mm so it can be printed by shapeways and choose to remove the front face so the screen of your iPhone would be accessible as shown in picture 3.