Intro: Design Your Own 3D Printed IPad Mini Case
The iPad Mini was launched back in October 2012 and has been in huge demand. While there are some great cases out there, there is not a truly personal way to create a unique case that is just for you. With 3D Printing growing at a tremendous pace and the price coming down considerably in the past couple of years, it is not possible to produce one off products at low prices. In this Instructable I will show you how to design an iPad Mini Case that you can 3D Print.
Step 1: Downloading Template
To get started you will need to download my template case from Thingiverse which has been tested and fits perfectly when printed at Shapeways. You can download the Template from Thingiverse here. (Please note I have set the license for this design to Attribution - Non-Commercial - Share Alike which means that you can customize and share you design but you cannot sell your design)
Step 2: Customising Design
Now that you have my template from Thingiverse, you can start customizing the case to suit you.
For this Instructable I will be using Sketchup. Bring the STL file in to your chosen software. Sketchup does not allow the import of STL files so I used Netfabb to convert the STL to 3DS which Sketchup allows. Once you have the file you can start customizing the design. You can draw using the various tools on to the surface and use the Push Pull tool to add or remove part of the back to create your design. If you would like some inspiration please visit my Thingiverse Profile where I have various case designs.
You can design a case with a repeating pattern like my Honeycomb design or circles or an interlocking shape. You could also produce a case with your name or even a 3D location map. There is software available where you can get a location and it will render it in 3D. You could even produce a case with moving parts like my Abacus case which has 100 moving parts.
Step 3: Exporting Design
Now that you have the design you wish to use you will have to export your design. You will need a plugin that exports to STL (there are many free ones out there). Now export your design as a STL file and now bring it in to Netfabb and auto fix the design by right licking on the design and clicking repair part and just automatice repair. If this does not work for your design you can run each repair script separately. Once you have repaired the file rotate and move the part to suit your needs and then export as STL file again.
Step 4: Printing Design
Once you have the STL file you can print it on your own 3D Printer or if you cannot do this or you don't have a 3D Printer send it to a 3D Printing service such as Shapeways and order. By using my template with Shapeways you can guarantee it will it as I have tested the design extensively. All I ask is that once you have the STL file you upload you design as a derivative on Thingiverse and linking it back to my original design. Also please respect the license.
3D Printing is change people lives and now brings unique products to our lives and designing customized cases for you gadget is where most people will use this technology.