iPhone 4/4s Case basis for modification

by QuentinT, published

iPhone 4/4s Case basis for modification by QuentinT Mar 26, 2013


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This is a basic iPhone 4/4s case that can be used as a basis for custom cases. This is the case that I used to make my Gear Case with Geneva Mechanism, and Card Holder Case.

This case is easy to print, strong, and a great fit. The areas beneath the buttons and sliders has been removed to make them easier to use, and a cutout has been made around the headphone port so bigger jacks will fit without having to remove the case. The edges of the case are also tall enough to prevent the screen from touching when placed face down. I added a bevel to the ledges that hold the case onto the phone that makes the case very easy to print without support.


Print the case with 0.1 mm layer heights, no support, and single perimeters. There is a slight bevel on the ledges that hold the case onto the phone that make it printable with no support. The bevel will only work if layer heights are low enough though. You may want to scale the case up by 1% to account for shrinking.

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Looks great! Think you can design a ninja flex style one with a border around the top or something? If it was printed like this, I think it would just fall off.

Eventually of course, or anyone actually... :)

Jun 11, 2016 - Modified Jun 16, 2016

this didnt fit my phone first time, i printed in abs which shrinks so at 1.01 scale it printed fine and fits well.

Jun 5, 2016 - Modified Jun 5, 2016

Worked great at 100%, thank you ! In my case, had to do some deburring in the top left corner and it clicked perfectly in place.

Jun 3, 2015 - Modified Jun 3, 2015

this part is in inches or milimiters, because im trying to open as a sldt?

This is just what i was looking for when my friend broke his old phone case, thank you!

This is really helpful. I also just printed your gear case using black and red. IT looks awesome.

I just printed this. Read the comments about it being a bit snug so I used 102%. The back and the edges did not build correct. I guess the way to say it is that they are not connected to each other. Will try to bond it together with heat. Might try and run it through a program that fixes STL files and see if it notices anything awry.

This is a brilliant case, just printed one and it works a treat!!! Thanks!

A heat gun is not enough to fix this at all. I am now attempting 103% scale + 1mm Z

This does not work at all. Scaled up 2% and it is trash junk that will not fit a 4 or 4S

Thank you for your constructive comment. My gear case was based on this case with the gears on the back being the only change, and as you can see, it has worked great for many people. http://www.thingiverse.com/thing:65810/#madehttp://www.thingiverse.com/thi...

Improved! iPhone Gear Case with Geneva Mechanism

which text type you've used for the a in your example "Salina"?

If I believe it was just Arial bold, and I added the little tabs to hold the centers of the 'a' in place.

What material should I use for this? ABS or Resin would be ok?

I've heard of some light activated resins being very strong, but I've also heard of them being pretty weak, so all I can really tell you is that it will work if printed in ABS, and usually PLA, but weaker plastics may reduce durability. If you're fine with reprinting every time it breaks then you can really use any material you want. As far as protection is concerned, I would say that the initial drop is what does most of the damage for a dropped phone, and as long as the case is intact for the initial drop it will still protect almost the same regardless of material, because it still covers the same critical surfaces.

Thank you for the STEP-file.. I wish more people would upload those :)

how do you "carve" out the letters? in maya, you would Boolean them out, but that doesn't work

I normally use autodesk inventor. With that and similar programs, all you need to do is create a sketch on the surface you wish to cut from, then use a cut extrusion to whatever depth you like. Keep in mind that these programs use the STEP file format.

Thank you for making this but i was wondering if you could at all make an Scad file to go along with this.

I actually made this in a different software, so I have no SCAD file for it. I also have no idea how to use SCAD more than the extreme basics, so I couldn't make one from scratch. I have heard of people importing STL files into SCAD though, and altering them from there, so you may want to look into that. Sorry I couldn't be more help.

You said it can be the basis for custom cases... but you posted an STL :( STLs are impossible to modify - STEP is always nice!

i use mesh lab to transfer stl files into COLLADA3d then open them in sketchup to edit. After saving them in sketchup i export them as 3d models then import the model in meshlab the export it as an stl. P.S. when trying to edit in sketchup make sure you double click then object to enable editing. Hope this helped!

It's uploaded

I always think the same thing when I see files like this on thingiverse, so I really don't know why I never thought of posting a step. Thanks for the request, tomorrow you will get your STEP! And if it doesn't show up in the next few days you can just send me a message to remind me.

printed at 10% infill, 10 shells and .15mm layer height in makerware using makerbot slicer (yes - I know - weird - but was hoping to make it fairly strong without taking forever to print). used green PLA.

I did not scale the case at all.

came out a bit too snug.

I was able to get it to fit perfectly though by pushing my phone into the case as much as possible - then heating the corners a bit with a heat gun - and adding a little pressure by hand (be careful - don't cook your phone - it just take a little heat to stretch the PLA).

this case is ---much-- better than the makerbot customizer one.

nice to hold / smoother corners. easy to reach the buttons.

nice job!

Thanks! one thing that I noticed was if my bed wasn't hot enough and the corners started to lift, it would basically compress the thickness of the corners by 0.5-1 mm and keep it from clicking in all the way. The heat gun was a great idea to perfect the fit!