The main reason I am personally so enamored with 3D printing is the endless possibilities it presents for creating totally custom products. If you want a toy with your kid’s name on it, you can 3D print it. If you want a bracelet with a certain design on it, you can 3D print that. If you want an iPhone case that looks like a Walkman, you can 3D print that as well. This was certainly the case for one man named John R. Hazzard, who had a tradition of possessing iPhone cases which look like traditional cassette tapes and Walkmen. You know, those portable cassette tape players made by Sony in the 1980s and early ’90s. Hazzard, however, was recently faced with a dilemma, when obtaining a new iPhone 6+.
“For several years, I have been using cases that made my phone look like an old cassette tape, but when I pre-ordered a new iPhone 6+, I knew I had to find a case-gag more suitable to its larger size. I threw around a few ideas and decided to keep going with the cassette theme and do a Walkman,” Hazzard tells 3DPrint.com. “This happened to be right when Guardians of the Galaxy was blowing up at the box office, so it was an easy call which Walkman model to use.”
Hazzard decided to take on the project of creating his very own Walkman in the style of the one that Peter Quill from Guardians of the Galaxy uses in the film. Working in his spare time, the entire design process took a little under 3 months for Hazzard. First he built a 3D iPhone placeholder, using Apple’s specs, and then he began designing the case itself using Autodesk Maya 2015.
He then sent his designs off to Shapeways to have them 3D printed. The main body was printed using strong-flexible plastic, and cost approximately $40. The “glass” of the cassette window was printed with frosted-ultra-detail material and cost Hazzard around $15. While the design turned out quite nicely, he still has plans to modify it in order to make it fit a bit better.
“The printed model had some minor issues, mostly due to my inexperience,” Hazzard tells us. “The tabs/slots that I made to connect the blue and silver pieces of the main body turned out to be overkill. The slots were far too tight, and the tabs far too big. I had to do a lot of sanding/cutting to get them down to a functional fit. The snap-in hinge I designed for the door turned out to not be quite tight enough and had to be crimped slightly to make it hold better. I also overlooked a place where the main body intersected with the door, which had to be ground down. Finally, the slots that were meant to hold the paper ‘cassette’ turned out to be too thin for paper.”
Once Hazzard received his 3D printed parts, it was on to painting them. He applied a layer of Plasti-Kote plastic primer, and then colored the white plastic with rust-oleum silver and cobalt-blue metallic paint. He then coated the case with Krylon Triple Thick Crystal Clear Glaze. “I have next to no experience with painting, so some of these may very well be ‘bad choices’ for painting, but they turned out ok,” he explained.
As for the window piece, he tried to smooth it out the best he could, and then sprayed it with the same clear glaze, hoping that it would further smooth the surface and help make it more clear. Unfortunately, it caused the window to turn a bit yellow, but nevertheless the end results are quite phenomenal.
“I definitely consider this a first draft, and will be updating my model and finishing techniques based on what I learned from this attempt,” he explained.
It will be interesting to see how Hazzard’s next iteration of this iPhone 6+ case turns out. Perhaps if it goes as well as planned, Hazzard will allow others to purchase their very own Guardians of the Galaxy iPhone 6+ case in the future. What do you think of his design? What would you do to improve upon it? Discuss in the 3D Printed Walkman iPhone Case forum thread on 3DPB.com. Check out some more photos below.