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Wooden iPhone 4 case

All > Tech > Hacks/Mods > Gadgets > Wooden iPhone 4 case by natetrue
Having recently gotten a huge box of wood veneer, and an iPhone 4, I decided I wanted to make a wooden case for it. At first I just wanted a wooden backing to go into the official iPhone 4 bumper case, so I put some wood on some sticker paper and shined it up all pretty:

Then slipped it inside the bumper case, going under the little rubber lip that goes around the phone.
Of course, that was just the beginning. I started scheming and decided that three layers of wood veneer (I think I used walnut) glued together and bent around a form, then glued onto a backing would be perfect.

So, I designed and printed a form for the case, including both inside pieces made slightly larger than the actual iPhone, and outer pieces 1.5mm larger. The forms were printed on a Makerbot. (Download the forms at Thingiverse)

I cut the 3 strips of veneer to size (approximately 10mm wide, and lengths around 40cm) and soaked it in boiling-hot water for a couple minutes. Then I dabbed each one dry and covered it with wood glue (more is better). Each piece of veneer was offset along its length from the previous, leaving room for the layers to reach around the phone and attach to each other from the other end. (Sorry, no pics of this process. My hands were super gluey!)

Then I clamped them in the form and let them sit. I had to use some wire because I didn't think about the form warping under the wood stress; if I did it again I'd add printed joists across the middle.
Then once that was dry, I sanded the edges down because the layers of veneer weren't perfectly aligned. I cut another piece of veneer and glued it on the back.
After letting that dry for some hours, I also applied the design layer to the back, made of some very pretty wood.
And, after that had dried (I had some warping issues owing to the glue being water-based) I trimmed the back layers to the edges of the case, and sanded them down to be round.
Then I took out my Dremel tool and started milling out the holes as necessary for buttons and switches and cameras and such.
When done, I sanded the whole thing with 400-grit sandpaper and applied many coats of spray polyurethane wood finish according to the instructions on the can. The result is a beautiful and functional iPhone case!
Oh, and also I did add little pieces of wood to the front edge to grip the phone into the case.

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Posted by bre 5 years ago ( 13-Jul-2010 10:26:16 )

Looks awesome! Nice woodworking!

Posted by robthomcool 4 years ago ( 19-Mar-2011 08:08:41 )

That case looks really cool. Have you seen the new iPhone 5 yet?

This comment was edited at 2011-03-19 09:28:46

Posted by natetrue 2 years ago ( 26-Jan-2013 18:41:29 )

I made a new one for my iPhone 5!
Attached image:

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