Dear WHY – thank you!
Upon the launch of the last iPhone, my teenager received his device after much (including getting up at 3 a.m. for the first pre-orders) ado, and off to the retail phone store we went, downtown, to get a suitable case. There were practically none available, and he certainly wasn’t looking for a pink, bedazzled model. We kept going in circles around the store, scratching our heads, thinking surely there must be more options. The general response at the retail store was “oh yeah…well, the phone cases usually take a while to come out.” We ended up winging it with an ill-fitting case that still set my son back $30 of allowance money–with a product he did not like.
In the wake of the last iPhone 6 and 6 Plus releases which unleashed fantastic new phones but a dismal array of phone cases, European designers at WHY took action to shake up what they call the ‘current vapid state of the manufacturing industry.’ And there’s quite a ‘case’ for their argument.
In my family, we’ve had phones dropped into the white-capped waves of the Atlantic, and shattered when dropped ‘just the right way’ onto the old-style Florida tiled bathroom floors. You learn from experience. You get the phone and you get the best case that you can afford for a long-term investment.
But what exactly is causing the immediate lack of phone cases? How hard could it be to provide something so simple to eager, devoted consumers, with cash in hand? With all the secrecy that new releases of phones come shrouded in, big phone case designers do not have a failproof way to design, test, and modify a case to coincide with the release.
As the folks at WHY put it, “Big companies can afford the risk of investing large sums of money in exchange for dubious technical drawings, just to be the first on the market.”
Dubious designs, which the team at WHY think of as ‘faith-based designs,’ do not make for happy (or return) customers. As a solution to demands for both timeliness and quality, designers at WHY dove right into the 3D revolution with their first major product, the WHYcase. This product is a phone case that is sleek, transparent, and features a tough, flexible design.
The issue of the phone case may seem trivial or peripheral to some, but protection on a device that could cost you upwards of $700 if you crack or ruin it, or $200 with an insurance deductible, is certainly worth it. You need this product from the moment you receive your new phone, with point in case demonstrated by the viral video of the individual who waited all night to be the first person to pick up his iPhone in Perth, Australia. He took it out of the box and dropped it promptly onto the pavement, much to his dismay–and that of everyone watching.
At WHY, there was a fast response to the shortage of quality cases, with 3D printing of the WHYcases, which involved quite simply, getting their hands on the new phones, using 3D scanning software to design and test cases, and making them. Within seven days of the launch of the last iPhone, WHY was able to roll out mass production of the WHYcase.
- 3D scanning (Saturday, September 20th)
- Designing a digital file of the product (Saturday, September 2)
- 3D printing of inserts (from Saturday 20th to Sunday 21st)
- First iteration (Monday to Tuesday)
- Second iteration (Tuesday to Wednesday)
- Third iteration (Wednesday to Thursday)
- Final polishing (Thursday to Friday)
- Ready to go! (Friday, September 26th)
The material for the WHYcase is made from polycarbonate, an extremely durable thermoplastic polymer. The same material is also used for firefighter helmets and bulletproof windows, which require extreme scratch and crack resistance, as well as full transparency. The WHYcase features:
• Slim design
• Raised edges surrounding the screen
• Easy access to all the ports and buttons
• Unique design on the corners holding the iPhone
I can’t wait to get my hands on one of these cases soon–as well as seeing what products WHY comes out with next. As the WHY teams points out: “It’s about more than making an iPhone case—this is a manufacturing revolution.”
Have you made any smartphone cases with 3D printing? Will you be purchasing a WHY case for your new iPhone? Share your experiences and thoughts in the WHY forum thread at 3DPB.com.
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