Sunday, August 15, 2010

Phone Case - New Project

My phone was a little bit too bland for me, so I decided it needed a cool case. I couldn't find one that I liked for it, so making one in the shop was the next best option. A few years ago I had designed a case for my IPod, but I never got around to machining it because it required me to write too much code for my CNC.
It was made from 2 pieces. The front plate was simple and could all be machined in one setup, but the back piece need to have the center machined out. Aside from the time required to write out the tool paths by hand, the machine time on my CNC would have been too unbearable for me to make the case. This did however serve as the basis for my phone case concept.

I started off designing the phone case by getting the dimensions for my phone. Thankfully it wasn't one of those "ergonomically" shaped phones, so the phone was basically a rectangle with rounded corners. After taking down the dimensions I opened up SolidWorks and started playing around with different concepts. Eventually I came to this design.
The general concept was a ring that surrounded the phone and a plate on the top and bottom that held the phone in place. The ring only requried a slot to be machined around the inside perimeter. This would leave a nice little plug of material in the center that could be used for another project. This case needed #0-80 screws. Since the sides were so thick the case needed button extenders to allow me to actually use the phone. For some reason my first thought was to machine small holes in the side of the case for the buttons to slip into.  This design quickly turned my simple ring idea into a nasty 4 sided machining job. I don't have an edge finder for my CNC, so I was not in the mood to re-zero it multiple times on a single part. With ease of machining in mind I redesigned the case again.
(This render came after making the case. I got lazy and used polycarbonate instead of an aluminum ring as I had originally Intended)

This new design gave me the option to do all of the parts with single sided machining and minimal material removal. Both are things I strongly prefer when producing any part. Hopefully the case will be a quick one day project.