Introduction: Red Earth Phone Stand

By Kevin Ward, Joe Lee, and Qian Zhang

The object we are creating is a red spherical phone stand that incorporates an outline of the earth’s continents. This object is supposed to raise awareness about the harmful effects of e-waste on our environment. When the object is used it will have a phone resting on top of the earth to symbolize that technology is oppressing the earth and is causing it harm. In addition to this, our object is colored red to illustrate the harmful effects of technology on the entire planet. When the earth is pictured from space it is almost entirely comprised of blue and green. This contrasts starkly with a red earth and illustrates the artificial nature of human pollution. We expect this object to be of interest to people who are focused on living in accord with the environment and people who are particularly concerned with the growing problem of e-waste. This object was designed in 123D design and the steps necessary to create it are outlined below.

Step 1: Step 1. Obtain the Dimensions of the IPhone 5S.

Before we can begin to design our object we first have to get the dimensions of the phone that we are designing the object around. We designed our phone stand around the dimensions of the IPhone 5S. We choose to specifically design our object around the IPhone because it is one of the most popular phones on the market today. Obtaining its dimensions are a crucial first step because it gives us a reference point from which to design the phone stand. If a reader would like to design this phone stand for use by a different phone then they need to obtain its dimensions before proceeding.

We obtained this data from the internet. According to Apple, the IPhone 5S is 123.8 mm long, 58.6 mm wide, and 7.6 mm deep. As a result of these dimensions we can now design a phone stand that will fit the IPhone 5S.

Step 2: Step 2. Create a Sphere Large Enough to Easily Hold an IPhone.

In 123D Design create a smooth sphere that is large enough that part of its surface can be removed and an IPhone can easily rest on top of it. The sphere should be large enough that it can hold the majority of the phone without wasting material.

a) After opening 123D design, go to the tool bar at the top of the program. Use the “Sphere” tool to create a sphere, (“Sphere” is under “Primitives” icon).

b) Input the radius of the sphere into the bottom text bar. Make sure the units are in mm. We used the radius 45 mm, which is easily large enough to hold the IPhone 5S.

Step 3: Step 3. Add a Square Base to the Sphere So That It Is Stable When It Is Placed on a Flat Surface.

The main task for this part is to design a square base and add it to the bottom of the sphere. (This square base must be aligned with the center of the sphere.) The square base ensures that the cell phone stand is able to remain stable when it is placed on a flat surface.

a) Use the “Rectangle” tool to build a 2D square (“Rectangle” is under “Primitives” tool).

b) Set the length and width of this square to be 36mm and 36 mm.

c) Use the “Extrude” tool to transform this 2D square into a 3D cube (“Extrude” is under “Construct” icon).

d) Set the height to be 5mm.

Step 4: Step 4. Round the Edges of the Square Base

Rounding the edges of the square base will make it less sharp and easier to use.

a) Round the four edges using the “Fillet” tool (“Fillet” is under “Modify” tool).

b) When using the “Fillet” tool, the first thing to do is click the edge that is going to be rounded.

c) Then input the fillet radius into the bottom text bar. The fillet radius used here is 5mm.

d) Repeat these steps for the three other corners.

Step 5: Step 5. Download an Outline of the Earth’s Continents From the 123D Design Resource Page. Use This File to Create Outlines of the Earth’s Continents on the Sphere.

This part is going to seamlessly incorporate the downloaded outline of the earth’s continents and the surface of the spherical phone stand.

a) Go to the 123D design online resource webpage. (The URL will be offered at the end of the instruction.) Set up a 123D design account and then click on the “sign in and download” push button. Download the earth’s continents file onto your computer and import it into the 123D design software.

b) Adjust the size of the rounded outlines of the continents so that it is only slightly larger than the solid sphere. Next, very carefully place the sphere inside of the inner radius of the rounded continents so that if fits perfectly. After this is achieved then merge all of it together with the sphere.

Step 6: Step 6. Inlay the Bottom of the Sphere Into the Square Base and Incorporate These Two Parts Into a Whole Piece. Make Sure That It Is Stable When Placed on a Flat Surface.

This part requires that part of the sphere’s bottom is inlayed into the square’s base. This ensures the stability and printability of the entire object.

a) When clicking on the sphere, a tool bar will show up at the bottom of the program. Click on the “Move” button.

b) Inlay the bottom of the sphere into the square base, make sure that the center of the sphere and the center of the square base are aligned vertically.

Step 7: Step 7. Create a Box Based on the Dimensions of the IPhone 5S

This step will illustrate how to design a 3-D rectangular box that has the same dimensions as the IPhone 5S

a) Use the “Box” tool to create a rectangular box.

b) Set the length, width and height of the box based on the corresponding dimensions of the IPhone 5S as illustrated in the picture below.

c) A rectangular box with the dimensions of the IPhone 5S will appear.

Step 8: Step 8. Subtract the Rectangular Box From the Surface of the Sphere at an Angle of 75 Degrees.

This part determines the success of the entire object.

It introduces the method to subtract the box from the surface of the sphere, leaving space that allows the IPhone 5S to rest on the top of the sphere.

a) Use the same procedure used when combining the sphere and the square base. Partially inlay the box into the sphere at an angle of 75 degrees. Determine the degree using eye measurement.

b) Subtract the box from the surface of the sphere using “Subtract” tool (“Subtract” is under the “Combine” icon), which is going to leave a gap on the surface of the sphere.

c) The design process is complete.

d) The final object should look like the one above.

Step 9: Step 9. Print the Object

Print the final object.

The final step of the design process is to print the object.

a) When printing the final object make sure that the file is saved as a .123D file.

b) Make sure that when you print the file that the 3-D printer has the right color of plastic available. Our object was supposed to be red to make a statement about environmental degradation. However, because the 3-D printer lab only had pink plastic it turned out like the picture above.

Step 10: Media List

The pictures that we provided above were all taken as screen shots from 123D design. The only exceptions to this are the picture of the final printed object that we took ourselves and the screen shot of the link to the 123D resource page that has the downloadable file of the outlines of the continents. We obtained this from and the full citation for that source is provided below:

Prabhu, M. (2015, January 15). Globe. Retrieved April 3, 2015, from


(n.d.). Retrieved April 3, 2015, from

Truta, F. (2012, September 17). IPhone 5S: Exact Weight and Size Dimensions. Retrieved May 1, 2015, from

Lee, J. (2015, May 1). Instructable for Merging Globe and Sphere. Retrieved May 1, 2015, from