Last week I was sitting around with a couple of my friends showing off my new iPod when one of them asked if I had a case for it yet. I responded that I didn't, but it got me thinking. I decided I would make my own case. As soon as I got home I sketched up a design and after a few days of work I had created a sheet metal iPod case!
If anyone wants me to make a template for another iPod case or an iPhone case leave a comment and I'll do my best.
Answers to the Make-to-Learn Contest:
What I Made
I made a case for my iPod 5 out of sheet aluminum, hot glue and duct tape. I used a hacksaw, coping saw, angle grinder, drill and files in making it.
How I Made It
I sketched out the layout for my case on scrap 30-gauge aluminum my shop teacher gave me and drilled holes where needed. Then I used a hacksaw to cut out the case. I cleaned up the cuts with some files and then bent the support tabs at 90 degree angles. I used two pairs of pliers to bend the top and bottom tabs again. I covered each half of the case with duct tape to protect my iPod from scratches and to keep it in the case. Then I drilled holes for the camera and flash, joined the two holes together with a coping saw and was done.
Where I Made It
I made my case at home. I worked hard to get it done quickly so I could show it off at school.
What I Learned
I learned that cutting very thin metal with a hacksaw is difficult. It tends to bend. I also learned that sometimes the simplest solutions are the best. I had initially planned to secure the two halves of the case with magnets but found that lining the case with duct tape created enough friction to hold the iPod in place.
Step 1: What You Need:
- Coping saw
- Bench grinder or angle grinder
- Sheet metal, around 30 gauge
- Duct tape
- Drill or drill press
- Bench vise
- Vise grips
Step 2: Layout
- Download my template or make your own; if you download mine keep in mind that it is a very rough template.
- Trace it onto the sheet metal.
- Drill holes as indicated in the image.
Step 3: Cutting and Filing
- Cover the teeth of a pair of vice grips with tape and use them to hold the pieces of metal to a thin piece of wood. This will prevent the metal from bending as you cut it.
- Use the coping saw to cut out wherever the hacksaw can't access (where you drilled holes).
- Round the edges of the case with a file or grinder. I didn't spend much time on this and regret it, so don't skip it!
Step 4: Bending
- Clamp the bottom half of the case in a vise between two pieces of wood and bend the tabs at the bottom of the case at a 90 degree angle. Then remove it and bend the sides 90 degrees as well.
- Slide it over your iPod to make sure it fits. If it doesn't adjust the angles of the sides.
- Repeat for the top half.
Step 5: Securing the Case
- Cover the jaws of two pairs of pliers with tape and grab the bottom of the case. Use one pair to hold the part of the tabs on the bottom of the case that are perpendicular to the case. Use the other pair of pliers to bend the rest of the tabs at a 90 degree angle (Look at the picture). Make sure the case still fits. If it doesn't, adjust the tabs.
- Repeat for the top half of the case.
- Line each half of the case with duct tape. Keep adding duct tape until the case stays on the iPod but can still be removed relatively easily.
Step 6: Camera Acess
- Measure the distance from the center of the camera to the edge of your iPod horizontally and vertically. Draw both these lines on your case and drill where they meet with a 13/32 bit. Then measure the distance from the edge of your iPod to the flash, draw that line on the case and drill a hole at the end of it with a 3/16 bit.
- Use a coping saw to cut between the two holes.
- If your camera isn't centered (or close to being centered) in the hole use a round file to shape the hole until it is close to being centered.
- You may want to use different sized drill bits if your iPod isn't and iPod 5.
Step 7: Finishing
- Put the case on the iPod and check that the sides are the same height. If not, grind down one side of the case until they are level.
- File the tabs that fold over the top of the iPod round. You don't want them to catch on your pocket.
- Round the corners of the sides of the case.
- If you wanted to spray paint it now would be the best time. Painting it would probably improve the appearance over bare metal.