Step 6: Digital fabrication.
The 3D-printed components include two "plates" for the back of the hand -these house the cell phone circuit and battery - and the finger segments - these house the buttons for dialing the phone as well as the phone's microphone and speaker. Because I do not have access to a high-resolution 3D printer, I outsourced these components. There are several different companies that offer custom one-off 3D prints, including Autodesk 123D, Shapeways, and Ponoko. Because a friend recommended it, I went with Ponoko. I opted for their "Superfine Durable Plastic" option. These were printed on an Objet Connex 3D-printer, using a proprietary ABS-like material that is cured using UV lasers. Ponoko was great to work with, and even offered me advice on improving my designs to work better with their printing processes.
Opening a package from Ponoko, by the way, is one of the best feelings.
For some other components, like the metal plates that fit over the finger buttons, I used a desktop CNC mill to machine shapes out of sheet metal. A good friend and mentor Frankie Flood - check out his amazing work here - let me use some of his equipment to fabricate these components. If you don't have access to a CNC mill, Ponoko also offers services for cutting custom designs out of stainless steel sheet metal.
I also used a laser-cutter to create the back cover which holds the circuit and wires in the upper hand plate.
For 3D prints, you need to save your CAD models as STL files (stereolithography format). This is a simplified geometric model that 3D-printing software can cut into many little slices to be printed. The 2D components can be saved in several formats depending on the technology your using to cut them out, like DXF or DWG cad files, or even adobe illustrator files.
The last component to fabricate was the backlit "hand logo" for the back of the hand plate. There were already LEDs on the phone's circuit, so I wanted to utilize them to make an illuminated Glove One logo, much like the apple logo on a macbook computer.
For this, I machined an extra hand logo out of a thicker piece of aluminum, and using a scrap of PETG plastic (leftover from another project) I created a little heat-formed embossment to place under the sheet-metal logo. It was as simple as taping the plastic over the aluminum die, softening it up with a heat gun, and using a piece of craft foam to push the softened PETG into the die. Instant fancy button-thingie!
The rest of the components are either ordered online, or come from the cell phone I hacked apart. Now that I have all the parts of the glove (the 3D prints from Ponoko, the flat metal parts cut from sheet metal, the laser-cut cover for the hand-plate, and all the extra bits of electronics and hardware) it is time to make everything look pretty before final assembly.