How to Make Your First 3D Printed Phone Case

Phone cases are important not only because they keep phones safe, and scratch free, but also because they enable the phone owner to express themselves with their choice of color and design. As a result, having a phone case that is cool, unique and functional is important. Thanks to 3D printing and design, if you can draw it, you can create it and so it is now possible, as long as you have 3D software, to create almost anything yourself, including phone accessories such as a case. To enable you to do so, here is a simple tutorial.

So get yourself some 3D software, follow this tutorial, and create your very own, super simple, custom designed 3D phone case!

62Image by pixbay

What You Will Need

To make your own phone case you will need some CAD software, which you can get from sites such as Google Sketchup which you can find here: http://www.sketchup.com or from sites like Tinkercad which you can find here: https://www.tinkercad.com. Both of these platforms offer modeling, a web interface and have a lot of user-contributed parts and designs to make your first 3D product as easy as possible.

How to Make Your DIY 3D Printed phone Case

There are lots of sites that can run you through how to make unique 3D printed phone cases, and each site will give you new and interesting ideas. Here is a good website tutorial: http://design.tutsplus.com/tutorials/3d-print-a-custom-cut-out-case-for-your-mobile-phone–cms-24067 that takes you step by step through the design process, and by following it you will end up with a really beautiful, unique, cut out, custom designed 3D Printed phone case! The key steps are as follows:

  1. Create a tile vector
    1. Create a tile work motif
    2. Create layers
    3. Produce a color version of your unique design
  2. Prepare the model
    1. Make use of user contributed parts such as those on Sketchup and Tinkercad
    2. Ensure your case has all the necessary holes and openings to ensure your phone can function normally
    3. Pick your material (a good option is strong and flexible plastic)
  3. Customize the model
    1. Import the SVG file
    2. Scale the tile design to choose your final case design
    3. Adjust the tile to fit with your phone’s specifications (such as the camera)
    4. Export your model design to a file for 3D printing (STL. Format)
  4. Produce your 3D phone case model
    1. Ensure you select millimeters
    2. Check your phone case dimensions
    3. Sort out any issues that pop up, and remember that you can always adjust small things after the model has been printed (for example with sandpaper)
  5. Select buy now
    1. As long as you are using a website such as Shapeways you can easily print out your phone case
    2. Wait for the delivery
    3. Ta da! You will receive your custom made, 3D printed phone case!

63Photo Credit

More Design Guidelines

For more information about designing an phone case so that is well designed and thus can properly protect your phone without affecting its ability to function, check out this website:   https://developer.apple.com/cases  which has a series of design guidelines and opportunities to test your 3D design prototypes so that you can ensure that your final phone case will fit your phone perfectly!

What if You Don’t Have a 3D Printer?

Of course not everyone will have access to their own 3D printer because for one they are super expensive, and two, they need regular maintenance that involves pretty complicated mechanics and programming. But, if you are serious about making your own 3D printed phone case then look out for places that have communal 3D printers such as at libraries, and tech shops. A great additional benefit of using a communal 3D printer is that there is usually an expert there to help.

Outsourcing

Another option that you can look into is outsourcing the printing. For this option all you have to do is create your phone case design in a program such as AutoDesk 123 D which you can access here: http://www.123dapp.com, or use a premade design from a website, and then upload the design to the printing site that will then take care of the printing and send you back the final phone case product!

Other Avenues of 3D Design

If you are interested in learning more about other avenues of 3D design, such as creating 3D visuals for games, adverts and videos, that can also be printed with a 3D printer, then why not check out Daz3d.com, which is a site that enables you to create stunning visuals, and later 3D characters thanks to their amazing 3D software and expertise in the field!

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