Instructables

Wooden iPhone 5 Case

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Picture of Wooden iPhone 5 Case
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The contrast with the high-tech phone and its materials (glass, aluminium, ..) and the natural look of solid wood, makes this an impressive case.

Cases like these can be bought at webshops, some examples are :
  • http://www.grovemade.com/product/iphone-5-case/#plain-bamboo-iphone-5-case (79$)
  • https://www.miniot.com/webshop/?portlet=miniot&page=iwood5&state=maximized (79$)
But of course it is much more fun and rewarding to make such a case yourself.
Just as much as the iPhone is a precision device, manufacturing this case will require precision.
Apart from that, with basic tools and very little materials, you can build a really impressive protection for your phone.
 
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Step 1: Warning

Picture of Warning
Before you go ahead, I must warn you about a few things :

an iPhone is a delicate thing, and as such does not really belong in your woodworking shop : It doesn't like dust.

Also when working with glue, make sure everything is dry and clean before touching the phone

Finally, when you make this case, be very careful towards scratching your phone's display


Having said this, you will need to measure, try, proof, etc. from time to time with the real phone. The wooden case needs to be very precise in order to function well, and this precision can only be achieved through regular testing and proofing while building it

If you feel unsure, you can make an iPhone dummy (a wooden piece with the same dimensions) and then proceed with this dummy.

Step 2: Tools & Materials

Tools :
  1. Caliper
  2. Router, with following router bits : straight 12mm router bit
  3. Sander (Belt-sander for rough work, Orbital sander for finishing)
  4. Jig saw, with precision cut saw
  5. Clamps
Materials :
  1. A piece of solid wood, preferably a nice piece of tropical wood. (as this is a very small object, that will hopefully last a couple of years, it is ok to spend some tropical hardwood for it) I used Bamboo, as I found a nice and cheap piece of wood in the outlet store nearby : 1.60 euro
  2. Some fabric, eg from an old jeans, ...
Other :
  1. Wood glue
  2. Contact glue
  3. CAD Drawing with Iphone5 dimensions
that's bamboo, not wood.
Amazingly awesome!
You use woodworking tools on the bamboo, so... Close enough?
strooom (author)  Jean-Valéry Thoraval1 year ago
Yes, technically you're right, Bamboo is a kind of grass. Still for this instructable, I treat it as if it is wood. For my iPod I've made the same case from Walnut
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indeed, Bamboo IS a grass. nice instructable anyways ;)
Nice work!
You really should be congratulated!
Beautiful design.
Would you also knew my work and maybe we can exchange some tips on software and 3D creation. My blog is: http://2dprojetos.blogspot.com

Thanks,


Daniel Domingos
strooom (author)  Daniel Domingos1 year ago
Hi Daniel, thanks for your message. I visited your blog! I use Sketchup for 3D design, because it is free SW, it allows me to quickly build a model and you can download many existing models. Before that I used TurboCAD. I have used Autodesk SW long time ago, but I find it too expensive for hobbyist projects...
I have no experience in going from a 3D model to CAM Manufacturing. Will try to do that in the future. Cheers !
Thank you for your response and for your visit in my blog.
I'm always interested in meeting and learning about new software.
The Sketchup seems an option very similar to Autocad, but even so I will find out about this software.
I will continue to monitor their projects because I really liked of them.
And who knows, we can exchange tips and experiences.

Thanks,

Daniel
chuckyd1 year ago
This is a great idea. For those who do not have access to a router, or who think routing out the divot will take too much time, there is another method.

Use three layers of wood, instead of two. The center layer should be just slightly thicker than the phone.

Measure the width the opening needs to be and mark it on the inner layer.

Cut on the waste side of the line with a bandsaw, jigsaw, saber saw, or scroll saw.

Sand the inside smooth with an oscilating sander or with sandpaper and a sanding block.

Glue the fabric to the inside of the outer two pieces.

Glue the three pieces together in the correct order and finish as outlined.

An alternative to the fabric is flocking, which is used in jewelry boxes.
strooom (author)  chuckyd1 year ago
After thinking about this, I actually think it is the better way to build this : this way it will be more easy to :
* test the dimensions are right...
* apply the fabric at the inside
* you could do without a router, just jigsaw and sander...
It will be a bit more difficult to find the wood, as you need a thin piece for top/bottom and a thicker piece for the middle.
Thanks for your helpful tip !

That looks awesome! Wonderful design :)
You should enter this into the Holiday Gifts Contest!
strooom (author)  Penolopy Bulnick1 year ago
It's already in the Pocket Contest. Is it possible to enter in multiple contests ?
Yes, yes. hertzgamma is right. You can enter as many Instructables as you want into a contest and you can enter a single Instructable in up to 3 different contests :)
I believe you'll be more than welcome to do that.
I forgot to mention that I love your idea and photos/explanations!
I wish I had the tools to make such a case.
Bill WW1 year ago
Excellent. Bamboo is such a good material; it's strength properties qualify it for high strength structural members. In addition to being a beautiful material. Note that I did not dare call it "wood".

In step 5, I assume the routing could also be done with a table mounted router by clamping the guides to the table top.
Thetis1 year ago
Cool. I would consider mounting a simple flat spring between the fabric and the wood to grip the phone back.
strooom (author)  Thetis1 year ago
Excellent tip ! Will try this next time.. (probably the iPhone10 or so...)
Johnkaye1 year ago
It's great to see instructions for crafting something out of wood using tools and not a laser cutter. Sort of becoming a lost art here on Instructables. Most now start off with "laser cut the wood", Great instructable!
strooom (author)  Johnkaye1 year ago
Well, I have no access to a Laser cutter... Too expensive, and TechShop is like 8000 km from here.. Furthermore, I think a big part of the joy of woodworking is in having the workpiece and/or tools in your hands. But to be honest, sometimes I dream about CNC :-)
racoontnn1 year ago
The original thing! I already have a few items on your description, I will add this one.
pinksloth1 year ago
Very nicely done and a great presentation. Congratulations!
Awesome!
Very nice
allesflex1 year ago
Very well done with basic tools! It shows that if you plan right that you can make anything.
Very nice.
artworker1 year ago
sleek and elegant! Will make one for my wife this valentine.
That's beautiful - great job!
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