I wanted an attractive sturdy metal case for my iPhone 4S that protects the phone from damage, especially its screen; and allows easy removal of the phone from the case. The phone should also not easily fall out of the case. This case could be made to fit many smart phone models, but I would want a cover for the phone so nothing scratches the phone's screen through direct contact.

The photo shows my finished case. It has a belt loop and the phone rests horizontally at my side. Yes, my phone would be more easily accessible if I my stomach were smaller, but I am working on that with a calorie counting app on the phone.

I made my case a few weeks ago and did not document it with photos as I made it. So, some drawings will be used to recreate steps that would normally have photos. 

Step 1: Tools and Materials

I chose to use sheet steel from the outer skin of our old washing machine. This comes with an enamel paint difficult to remove. Burning it off with a propane or MAPP gas torch requires too much heat and causes the metal to distort. It would be better to use a chemical paint remover or a paint removal wheel on a grinder or a drill. 

  • Sheet steel (about 20 gauge)
  • 1/8 inch steel rod
  • Angle head grinder with a cutting wheel, grinding disc, and a flap wheel
  • Marking pen
  • Drill or grinder and paint removal wheel
  • Vise Grip Pliers
  • Needle nose pliers (for bending the edge band to fit the side pieces)
  • Clamps to hold pieces until they can be tack welded
  • Wire feed welder
  • Dremel tool and a grinding stone
Love it... Now you could also do some electric chemical etching to put a design on it. by using a car battery charger and some salt, vinegar, q-tips And nail polish... there are a few instructables on this. but again love it...i need a welder <br>
I like mike plain because the more I scratch it, the better it looks. If I had a nice design, a scratch would bring me pain. For most of my years cash for a welder simply did not exist. But, if there is any way you can get one, you will not regret it. Perhaps in advance of Christmases and birthdays you could ask for cash toward a welder.
i understand, good reasoning on the scratches. Yeah i guess a welder should be the next tool i devote a Christmas and birthday to.
Nice work, Phil! Do you think flaring out the opening slightly would make it easier to insert the phone?
Peraps, although there will trade-offs, like the flared portion catching hands and clothing when you least expect it. I do well as is if I take time to make certain the phone is slipping into its case rather than falling onto the floor. Thank you for looking.
Nice job phil
Thanks, Jim.
Thanks for all that you do. Peace be with you.
And also with your spirit!
Phil, very cool idea. May I suggest a 1/8&quot; shaft tungsten burr for your dremel. They are more expensive than wheels but much more economical as they seem to last for ever. They come in most any shape you can think of. They are available at Amazon online and most industrial supply houses locally.
Thank you for the suggestion, and for looking.
For a different finish, you can polish with Mother's Mag Polish. You can try polishing before or after this step. <br> <br>The polish works quickly, even by hand, and I use it for a final on knives. To speed the process, I use a cheap buff wheel on my drill press.
Thank you. I love what I learn from comments like yours.
If you did this as a wallet. Would it shield credit swipe#? or would if hurt the cards?
I expect it would block radio frequency scanners because it is steel. A wallet like that would require some additional precision in the design and execution, especially in regard to the hinges and latch. You raise an interesting question. Thank you.
I do not think a wallet version of this would harm credit cards, unless the magnetic stripe were able to rub against some roughness inside the case and rub the stripe away. The inner part of the case could be lined with something soft that would not be prone to generating static electricity.
Hi Phil, Im a great fan of the web site and all of you. <br>Regarding this project, as you mention that radio frequency is blocked by the metal case, isn't it affecting the cell phone reception?
As I mentioned in one of the steps, the phone case is open on top and tower signals reach the phone's antenna just fine. A credit card protector would need to provide shielding on all sides. Thank you for looking.
Well done.
Thank you. There are blemishes and mistakes, but I tried to keep them from the camera's view.
Great case, it looks nice and sturdy.
Thank you. It is quite sturdy. I also put the phone away so the screen is toward my body. I think I could just about fall on my side and the phone would survive unharmed.
Neat case and good welding..
Thank you. It is more like good grinding to cover not so good welding.

About This Instructable




Bio: I miss the days when magazines like Popular Mechanics had all sorts of DIY projects for making and repairing just about everything. I am enjoying ... More »
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