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Customizable iPhone Stencil Case

by sethmoser, published

Customizable iPhone Stencil Case by sethmoser Mar 6, 2013

Description

This is a mashup of Benjamin's Stencil-o-matic thingiverse.com/thing:55821 and Makerbot's Customizable iPhone Case thingiverse.com/thing:40703 to create an iPhone case with any imagery you like.

First step is **Benjamin's Stencil Factory** chaaawa.com/stencil_factory.

Then "Open in Customizer" and paste in "input", adjust the other case settings, and you're ready to print!

Recent Comments

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Actually omitted that from the original design intentionally - both due to overhang issues and creating a bit of a challenge getting the case on the phone - but could include a variation in the next version I'm working on.For what it's worth, you may want to try tweaking the tolerances on the case slightly - if it feels very "tight" on the phone, it may actually be a bit too small and therefore pushing the corner out away from the phone.
Hi sethmoser (or anyone else who is capable of doing this), is it possible to slightly change the design of the case so that there is a slim connection rod over the left side buttons (but so that they are still accessible of course)? It would give more strength to the top left corner: it is now standing alone (and therefore flappering a bit); it would be more stiff when connected extra to the top of the left side.
I typically put text into an image and then upload that to the stencil factory tool; there's no direct text input, unfortunately.

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Instructions

**June 18 update: Finally got the fit right for iPhone 5, as well as some improvement for iPhone 4/4S. Woot! Thanks to everyone who helped figure this out.**

**June 15 update: Added a new version of the mashup that puts your image inside one of the base shapes in the geometric pattern, and fixed a few bugs in the code.**

May 29 update: New features added, notably a "mashup" that uses both stencil and geometric together for a cool new effect.

April 24 update: New version added with improved fit for the 4/4S and a taper feature to allow you to taper the walls of your case, improving grip. Also opening up all iphone size variables for tweaks. A number of smaller improvements are also included.

March 16 Update: Couple of changes in this version:
* Integrated the code from Makerbot's geometric customizable cases here, so you can choose what type of case to generate.
* Further tweaks on the phone sizing - should now fit better on iPhone 5

The first step is **Benjamin's Stencil Factory** chaaawa.com/stencil_factory - detailed instructions are below.

Once you have the output of Stencil Factory ready, **open this thing in Customizer and copy the output of Stencil Factory into the "Input" field.**

Next, **use the customizer parameters** to select the correct phone model (iPhone 4/4s vs. iPhone 5), the case thickness, and any scale / position changes you want for your image.

**Click save to STL and you're ready to print!**

**Note: The case tolerance** field should only be adjusted if you've already printed and need to make fine adjustments.

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**The following instructions are copied directly from Benjamin's Stencil-o-Matic:**

*1.* Open the Stencil Factory and select your image (gif, png, jpg).

"Convert & copy", as its name suggests, also copies the output in your clipboard, so:
*2.* "Open in Customizer" and paste in "input".
*3.* "create STL", download and print.

**Stencil Factory** also available in .zip (with sources) for offline use.
Hi sethmoser (or anyone else who is capable of doing this), is it possible to slightly change the design of the case so that there is a slim connection rod over the left side buttons (but so that they are still accessible of course)? It would give more strength to the top left corner: it is now standing alone (and therefore flappering a bit); it would be more stiff when connected extra to the top of the left side.
Actually omitted that from the original design intentionally - both due to overhang issues and creating a bit of a challenge getting the case on the phone - but could include a variation in the next version I'm working on.For what it's worth, you may want to try tweaking the tolerances on the case slightly - if it feels very "tight" on the phone, it may actually be a bit too small and therefore pushing the corner out away from the phone.
I typically put text into an image and then upload that to the stencil factory tool; there's no direct text input, unfortunately.
I there any way I can get a text in it?
I can't figure it out...I created a jpg in paint ( all i have) all it is is text. Nothing fancy. But every time I try it it's nothing but a blank. I have played with the axis and the few times that I get it to show up on screen it has disappeared while making another adjustment...so frustrated right now!
Hey James, not sure if you saw the message I sent back to you - but my guess is that the text you have in paint is creating a very complex geometry that's overwhelming openSCAD's rendering engine. Since text has so many intricate details, it can be pretty complicated and create a lot of triangles, which eventually will cause openSCAD to give up.The good news is that, if this is what's happening, the problem should only apply to the preview, not to the final output. Have you tried generating an output from customizer?If you are able to post the jpg you're using - you could upload it as a "made" thing here, or post in dropbox or something - I can see if I get a different result on my end.
how can i import my bands logo into this case?
Scotymac, looks like you figured it out - well done! Hope the cases work well - please let me know if you have any other questions.
blank. what happen actually. i already create 2 account but still happen..im also use simple images such as font but the result still same.blank.......does anyone facing same problem a? is there any solution for this technical problem??
Does anyone have the settings needed for the case to fit an iPhone 5C?
This is something I've been meaning to address for a while... the iPhone 5 dimensions work equally well for the 5s, but the 5c's rounded corners aren't really ideal for this design. Apple's specs on the shape are published online, I just haven't had time to build a model for the 5c into the code - if anyone has openSCAD code that mimics the shape of a 5c, I'd be happy to build it in here!
It would be great if you could put something together. My kids both have 5C's and there is not much here for that at the moment.
I get the same blank rectangle issue...sure it's not a browser thing? What OS and browser are you doing this on? Would love to contribute but this problem appears to be keeping at least half the community from using it.
Not sure about others - I've tested and used in IE and Chrome on windows and Chrome on osx. Most of the people who have had the blank rectangle issue in the past actually had an issue with the image they were using - if the image you have creates an island in the middle of a rectangle, openSCAD will drop that island out, thus creating a blank rectangle. Try inverting the colors in Benjamin's stencil factory interface (there's an option for this) or adding "bridges" in an image editing program.
The top right corner for the iphone 5 never seems to print out well. We use PLA with the Replicator 2 printer. What can I change on the dimensions to make the top right corner fit as perfect as the other three corners?

thanks!
Sorry to hear that - can you explain how the fit is bad (or send a picture)? Is it too small, too big? I sometimes have issues with warp in the corners, particularly with ABS, if the print isn't sticking to the build plate perfectly - are you having a similar issue?
It's too small. The top right corner prints messily, causing the warped corner instead of the perfectly rounded corner like the other 3. i can send a picture of it but not sure how to upload it to you. when the case is on the phone it fits perfectly on all other sides and the top right is too short so it only fit up to 2/3 of the side of the phone, if that makes sense.
That makes perfect sense, at least if it's the same as sometimes happens to me - in that case, what usually happens is it pulls up off of the build platform in that corner. I've had hte same with both ABS and PLA. If one of the corners pulls off the build platform, it basically shrinks towards the layer being printed, which in effect makes it too short.

Assuming that's the same as is happening to you, a couple of things to try...
1) mess with adhesion to the build platform. What I usually do is wipe down the surface with acetone that has a little bit of plastic melted into it - you can literally just wet a paper towel with acetone and then stick a piece of filament onto it before wiping the surface. This puts a very thin film of plastic "glue" on the build surface that helps adhere the model to it
2) depending whether that works, you could also try spinning the model on the z-axis by 90 or 180 degrees. You mentioned it's always the top right corner - curious if that changes if you change the orientation (i.e. it's something about your printer) or if it stays consistent (something wrong with the model).

Good luck! If you keep having trouble, you can upload a picture by clicking "I made one" above.
can you explain how you do the adhesion again? i think that is definitely the issue. what kind of filament do you put on the surface to have it stick?
Printed one, looks great, can someone make a version of this that uses the second extruder instead of making a cut out of the stencil. This would 1. make the case stronger, 2. allow more details without causing material to break, and 3. Allow shape like the letters "A, O, P, R" etc to be able to be stenciled using a second colour without the hole falling out.
could you make an iphone 3 version please
I don't have an easy iphone 3 model, unfortunately - if you have a reliable model of the iphone 3 handset, let me know, it would be relatively easy to incorporate it into the design. Same for any galaxy 3, 4, 5 users out there (or iphone 5c)...
what are the geometric inputs for the example one (middle) above?
How much does this case weigh?
Tried using the customizer, but the image just loads a blank rectangle.
Printed one of these yesterday for my 4s, fits great and looks great. My only concern is that the case sides are flush with the front of the phone, so it won't help me any if I drop the phone face down. I printed the slim case, so does the sturdy one have this feature, or is there a parameter I can change in customizer? I would like the case to stick up a couple mm past the front of the phone. Thanks!
I'd really like to try this out, but when I open the site, it's just a blank page with a file selection field. When I select a file nothing happens. No luck with explorer or firefox... Any idea why?
Someone else reported a similar problem lately - it works on my end, not sure why it might be down. You might want to try contacting the user benjamin, he runs the chaaawa.com site. Good luck!
hi, I've got some problem with your stencil link, I just cant open it...really have no idea why...
I've been having some trouble getting the iPhone 5 case to fit flush. The upper left corner seems to be short by ~.5mm. I'm guessing that's not actually the case, any advise on settings to tweak in customizer to make it fit? Printing in PLA at Makerware medium settings.
I have this issue occasionally depending on the material I'm printing with - seems like tolerances need to be adjusted for each plastic due to different flow rates at the same extruder temp, or something like that.

If you go to the dimensions tab (last tab in customizer, I believe) you should be able to increase the horizontal and vertical tolerances to take care of the issue; maybe try 0.5 or 0.6 instead of 0.3mm.
Great thanks for the help!
When i input my stencil it just shows up as an empty box any tips?
Hey Joel,

Just replied to unifrak - wondering about a similar issue here. I've had this problem when I had an image where the pattern was in white and background was in a dark color (vs. dark pattern on light background). It shows up OK in Benjamin's code, but what's actually happening is the pattern itself is an unsupported island in the middle of a box. Then, when you copy in, the unsupported island drops out and you just get an empty box.

If that's the problem, you can resolve this by clicking "invert" at the top of Benjamin's program. Hope this helps! If not shoot me a copy of the picture, I'm happy to try to help.
Great, but when i input it into the customizer, it doesn't seem to pick up the details on my stencil... help?
Wondering if you have "unsupported islands in your image" - i.e. details that would be left behind on the build plate after printing due to lack of connection to other parts. For instance, the letter "O", unedited, would turn out as a circle instead of an O, since the middle is not connected. To resolve this, you can add bridges in any imaging program, or even inside Benjamin's code (there are buttons at the bottom to draw bridges freehand).

If that's not what's going on, maybe you can pass on the image you're using - happy to look into it!
Prints great on my Replicator2 with PLA. Really like the ease of adding a stencil. Great work!

I am using Makerwares High-quality profile with speed reduced to 50mm/sec and temperature increased to 240 degrees for the red PLA from Makerbot store.
I'm glad to see someone else finally figured out that tapering the walls is really the only way to get a firm fit. From my iPhone cases I first printed months ago, I quickly figured that out. However I was doing it *manually* by getting the STL from thingiverse, opening it in Blender and editing the mesh manually to taper the walls. If you think doesn't sound pretty, in practice it was way worse. I can't wait to try out a proper tapered case. Thanks for all the hard work sethmoser.
I think maybe you're the one who gave me the idea??

Hope it works brilliantly - my 4s cases have been fitting like a glove since the most recent updates :)
Also, check out the new stencil+geometric option, I think it's kind of cool!
Super awesome combo with iphone case and stencils... However I have printed out 4 of these cases already...It always .25" too big and when I try to scale down the size it is too small and I crack the pla when putting it on...

any help guys? baby step me if you need too, I would really like to get this case to fit my iphone 5!
This is entirely my fault! I've had a tough time with 5 fit as well, and haven't had time to test it enough. My suspicion is that fiddling with the iphone5 size parameters (available in customizer) is the key. If you have a caliper, you can try measuring yours and comparing to the numbers I have in there; I've tried to "fudge" them in the past, so you'll likely get slightly different numbers.

Alternatively, if you know it's always .25" off in one dimension, you can try adding/subtracting 5-8 mm from one of the dimensions and testing the print.

I'm trying to find time to get to this testing process, but if you figure it out in the meantime, please let me know what worked!

And thanks for the compliment on the design :)
I think I do recall this conversation. My favorite case for quite a while has been this one: thingiverse.com/thing:56024
It allows me to print the back a outer bumper in two pieces. I also have printed lots of backs with text on the top, using two different colors. I also print the outer bumper as using a third color. Matter of fact, I have over 20 bumpers printed, all in different colors. I love the case but honestly the only downfall is it doesn't use a tapered design and it suffers a bit from those fit problems. I love the two piece design though (I got rid of the lego dots since I don't need them). Anyway, can't wait to try the tapered design!
Hi, I've printed some and it's great ! congratulations, would you include samsung gs 3 as a customizable model as well ?
the model is not available anymore, but the mockup could help... : thing:27428, gs4 mockup is
I'd like to - unfortunately I don't have access to a gs3, so I don't have something to go off of for fit, etc. Are there any other cases on thingiverse that have worked well in the past and could make a good base model?
Would anyone happen to know the best tolerances for an iphone 4/4s? I have been printing a couple of these with varying tolerances and they don't seem to fit very well.
You have to go into the scad file and change the dimensions of the phone.

I've been playing with it and got it to fit quite well with:

4width=57.65;
4length=114.42;
4height=9.25;
4cornerR = 8.71;
4swidth=6.17;
4sthick=.8;

my height tolerance was 0 and perimeter tolerance was 0.85
Thanks for playing around with it, guys...

I'm adding a new version momentarily that opens up those parameters so you don't have to go into the code. It also adds a "taper" variable that lets you taper the sides of the case slightly to grip the phone better.

Settings as is (in this new version) are fitting really well on a 4/4S, printed in ABS using medium defaults in makerware. With a 3 degree taper, it's really tight; I might try 2 degrees on the next print.

5 is another story entirely... still working on the fit there.
I like the 5 fit really well. So far it's the best case fit I have found for my phone. (played around with the 4 for other people). I'll try and play around with the 5 as I print as well and see if there is anything I can help with!
any luck with this? printed one and it's only 2mm out. should the tollerance be lower to reduce size?
You can remove the last sentence in "Instructions".
Bridges are supported.
One more tool and you can draw whatever you want.
awesome!!
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