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A project log for ZeroPhone - a Raspberry Pi smartphone

Pi Zero-based open-source mobile phone (that you can assemble for 50$ in parts)

ArsenijsArsenijs 12/30/2018 at 00:107 Comments

Hi! So, about the ZeroPhone cases.

This is one of the most popular questions, on par with the "3G connectivity", "flat battery" and "touchscreen" ones. I'm not the kind of person that'd be good at 3D design, but, thankfully, plenty of people in this community are. During these 2 years, I had a task of making the 3D model of ZeroPhone PCBs - so that people could make a case around it. I kept putting it off, and when I did have time to work on it, it wasn't successful - one of the most important things delaying me was waiting for KiCad 5, with proper STEP support (since VRML support in CAD packages universally sucks, as I've come to understand).

Finally, we have a 3D model of the ZeroPhone, specifically, the Delta revision:

It's taken a lot of work - thankfully, early in the project's beginning phase, @Dillon has helped with a lot of 3D models, designing some from scratch and sourcing others from open sources, so I'm immensely thankful for that. Current 3D model also has a lot of Grabcad material - distribution rights of which is questionable, I admit, so here's a list of all the stuff we need to replace. You can download the STEP here, and the STL here.

Meanwhile. if you want some kind of reference design, here's a downloadable case design for ZeroPhone Gamma by @Ninjalicious  - albeit bulky, it's a viable way to make a case that actually works and holds up, one that's also snap-fit but provides all the vital openings for ZeroPhone hardware. Personally, I'm interested in some kind of lasercut design, but not for the practicality of it - I just like lasercut things =) Before the crowdfunding, if nobody steps up and designs an open-source case, I'll design one myself - to make sure we have something to offer during the crowdfunding.

Also, I've had multiple suggestions from people, about making a ZP version in a case for a bulky phone, like the Motorola DynaTAC or this one. I can't say I'd be interested in such a case, but if I were to add, say, a FreeCalypso modem board (a 90x50mm PCB), this is exactly what I'd be looking for! With all the ways that you can expand on your ZeroPhone, I'm sure there's a lot of interesting stuff you could ram into such a phone - i.e. an expanded battery pack or a bigger screen, or maybe a Geiger counter and a high-power WiFi antenna... Why not all of that? =D


Any information that's provided in this article may and will become outdated. Refer to the ZeroPhone Wiki page on 3D designs for the most up-to-date information.

Discussions

Arsenijs wrote 12/31/2018 at 20:27 point

@Ninjalicious actually, the pushbuttons aren't accurate - to be exact, the height of the pin isn't =D I on;y realised that now, will need to fix it.

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Ninjalicious wrote 12/31/2018 at 20:32 point

Okay good to know. Shouldn't be too much trouble.

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Dillon wrote 12/31/2018 at 12:26 point

Glad I could help. I'm an engineer and not a designer so modeling parts based on drawings was something I could do. I wouldn't be able to help design a case -- and even if I did, it wouldn't look even as nice as the existing one by @Ninjalicious. I've never experimented with laser cut materials so I wouldn't even know how to start there.

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hwrecruit55 wrote 12/31/2018 at 15:06 point

Sounds like a good reason to go shopping for that new house!

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Arsenijs wrote 12/31/2018 at 16:31 point

Yeah, it's a whole different thing - I'm forced to design cases here and there, but it's far from being my forte either. Hopefully, the model that we created will help more design-savvy people to join in and contribute!

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Dillon wrote 12/31/2018 at 16:36 point

I've made many enclosures but they've always been rectangular and utilitarian. I've never designed anything meant to be held which requires a more organic shape. 

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Ninjalicious wrote 12/31/2018 at 20:22 point

I'm definitely going to do a new design with the Delta STEP files. One of the things holding me back from a better design last year was an accurate 3D model. Now that we've got one I think a lot of cool improvements can be made. For example like actuating plastic keys to go over the pushbuttons. Also the "snapfit" was more of a "fit" design, I'd like to upgrade to a screw closure for better usability.

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