I have made another entry for those who are interested, the "Rubber Blaster 3D Printable iPhone 5 Case" (a Rubber Band Gun in an iPhone 5 Case!) and the "3D Printable Rubber Band Gun (With Prank Mode!)" Promoting Office Warfare!
Unfortunately I did not make the cut for this competition (must try harder) although this case has now been printed and tested and is now available to purchase from Shapeways, they will 3d the design for you in a choice of colours and post it to you: shpws.me/jy7L
Edit: It's Arrived!!! Images are now posted and YouTube video uploaded! This design has been now been fine tuned after the prototype making it much more stable in the first landscape position. The design for the QR code had been changed slightly to ensure readability.
What is the 'TriStand QR'?
This is my ultimate design for the ideal iPhone Case that I have been perfecting for the last year and the latest version (2.0) will arrive in the next week. Hopefully one day I could even get this design mass produced.
So... the TriStand QR is an innovative new iPhone case (designed for both iPhone 4 /4S and the new iPhone 5) with 3 integrated fold out stands, these stands fold out and by using them in different combinations create very geometrically strong and stable integrated stands for an iPhone. This case can be used to stand an iPhone in 1 of 3 orientations, a portrait orientation and 1 of 2 landscape orientations, one for typing and one for watching videos, while also protecting the iPhone from any knocks or bumps while looking pretty cool at the same time (in my opinion). When not in use these stands 'snap' flush to the case which prevents them from opening by themselves.
This case also has a slot for a 3d printed QR Code, this could be 3d printed as part of the case however having them separate means the QR codes are interchangeable. QR Code stands for Quick Response Code and is a type of 2d (2 dimensional) barcode that is being used a lot nowadays, this code can be used to store the iPhone owner's contact details on (or other information such as a URL Address); swapping contact details can now be as easy as scanning someone's iPhone case with a barcode scanner application on a phone. This QR code can be printed in white with the black parts of the code being embossed into the code. This can then be made readable by simply placing this code on an ink pad creating a readable black and white QR code (Unless you are one of those lucky people which own a 3d printer with dual extruder capability). I use Shapeways for my 3d prints.
This design really shows off the capabilities of 3D Printing as a manufacturing technique, not only is this design manufactured by a 3D Printer, this design allows the whole product to be 3D Printed fully assembled in one piece, this means there is no need for product assembly; reducing the cost of manufacturing products and making them easier to produce, one step from manufacturing to packaging; thus showing 3D Printing as a very viable product manufacturing technique today.
What was the design process?
This design was modelled using AutoDesk Inventor Professional 2012 and the design process for this case was particularly challenging:
First, using the technical drawings from apple, I designed a basic iPhone case, this has been modified and altered throughout the last year after several prototypes to ensure a snug fit, easy installation and removal of an iPhone and finally it's aesthetic appearance.
The second challenge was designing hinges for the case which would 3d print in one piece and allow removal of excess powder from the SLS 3D Printing Process while remaining thin enough to make a slim iPhone case; I achieved this by designing hinges with slits that allow the excess powder to be drained out while also making the overall thickness of the hinge less resulting in a thinner case overall.
Thirdly was the design of the innovative system itself that would allow the the case to be used to stand the iPhone in 3 different orientations, this was actually the quickest and easiest part of the design process, with in a day the general idea was decided. Modelling the design however took a lot longer as every dimension of the mechanism had to be exact to within 0.1mm, the design of the mechanism has also been tweaked and improved for this current version 2.0 to make it more stable and strong when being used as stands.
Lastly was the problem of these moving parts swinging open by themselves when the case was being held or was in a pocket as I discovered in my first prototype, this was fixed in the second prototype. To fix this problem I modelled 'ball and socket' like catches, the 'ball' part was modelled on the moving part and a corresponding 'socket' was modelled on the main case which allowed the moving parts to 'snap' shut into place when not being used, this fixing the aforementioned problem.
I got into 3d printing the second I first read about it and have been hooked since. It's amazing how anything you can think up can then be turned into a physical object and how anyone can be a designer as I have demonstrated here. I teach myself how to use CAD (Computer Aided Design) program's by constantly improving techniques through trial and error. Everything I design, I design with the hope of 3d printing it.
I am currently using Shapeways (a 3d printing bureau service that after uploading your design, mail you the prints within 2-3 weeks) based in the Netherlands for these prototypes and am currently using the little profit from selling this design and others on the site to create and print prototypes of new versions and designs. It takes weeks at a time for them to arrive and costs a lot more than home fabrication units (3d printers) can print due to the low cost of ABS / PLA filament, it would be so useful for me to expand my designs and hold them in my hand within hours, not weeks; also let's face it, who wouldn't want a 3D Printer, It would also be incredibally awesome to own one of these incredible machines however I don't have the spare cash (so please vote for this design to win, thanks). Check out My Shapeways Shop which contains more items I have designed (such as my latest idea which has yet to be printed: "Rubber Blaster iPhone 5 Case" a rubber band gun in an iPhone case! I have also modelled a rubber band gun with a prank mode (the shooter ends up shooting himself if a hidden switch is switched!)) Lastly, showing my passion for 3D Printing, I am a former Winner of the Gizmodo UK 3D Printing Challenge after designing a moving gymnast performing a backflip! (There is a video on the page)
In conclusion, I am sure that this MakerBot Replicator 2 won't be wasted on me and will be used a lot!
*This is a Contest Entry: Please Vote if you think this design is worthy to win a 3D Printer (Makerbot Replicator 2), I will be Truly Grateful, Thanks*