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Need advice for hardwood phone case

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Forum topic by BradN posted 07-04-2016 01:14 PM 433 views 0 times favorited 7 replies Add to Favorites Watch
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BradN

26 posts in 167 days


07-04-2016 01:14 PM

Personally, I am tired of these Otter Box cases that I have been using that look like everyone else’s.

What I plan to do is make a slightly padded shell out of Bubinga or similar hardwood with a small kerf hinge to gain access.

I have some hinges with and without a holding spring.

The hinges without the spring allows me to have a smaller case, but, I’m stuck on how to keep the hinged part closed (I assume the top being the hinged part makes more sense). I was considering some rare earth magnets, but not sure if that would interfere with the phone.

The other part of my dilemma is I was thinking of making a belt clip pocket to hold the phone and case. But, to be able to hear it ring, I figured I would have to have the phone top down. But when I pull the phone out of the pocket, I am afraid the hinged flap will drag on the pocket and out comes the phone falling to the ground.

Any ideas and suggestions are very welcome.

-- Woodworking is the best therapy


7 replies so far

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JBrow

810 posts in 379 days


#1 posted 07-10-2016 03:27 AM

BradN,

Small parts projects are in my opinion the most difficult of all projects, except maybe chairs.

I am not sure I completely understand your project very well; I am in a shrinking class of Neanderthals who do not use cell phones. From what I gather, you are puzzling through how to keep the kerf hinge securely closed when carrying the phone on your hip and when pulling it off your hip.

After thinking about this problem, I would fear a failure of even rare earth magnetic catches. They are strong, but the magnetic catch could loosen and the phone hit the floor. I would personally prefer a design that offers more peace of mind, perhaps a design that allows a small screw(s) to hold the kerf hinge in place. Of course this only makes sense if I am correct and the phone will mostly remain in your custom box.

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becikeja

643 posts in 2272 days


#2 posted 07-10-2016 11:35 AM

Wow – now that’s a project to tackle. One I have thought about a lot, but have yet to start.
I am currently at the point of thinking it has to be simply friction, there is just not enough space to drive screws and hinges. I have thought about lining the inside with some sort of foam strip like you get at craft stores. But even with that, the dilemma I have yet to solve in my head is the thickness. I don’t want it to be anymore bulky than the otter box, but it has to be rigid. I have seen some where they simply glue on a veneer, that doesn’t do it for me. And I have seen others that are just too thick to be practical.
Great project, looking forward to what others have to say on this.

-- Don't outsmart your common sense

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BradN

26 posts in 167 days


#3 posted 07-10-2016 04:07 PM

I was thinking of using these http://www.woodworkingparts.com/offset-kerf-w-spring-hidden-hinge-no-screws-needed/ to gain access. My concern is if the spring is enough to hold it closed, (thinking the bottom, will explain later) or if I should add some tiny rare earth magnets as back up.

I was thinking of having the hinge on the bottom because I will probably carry it bottom up so I can hear the ringer. And I don’t want any dragging friction of pulling it from the holders to flip it open and drop phone on ground.

My plan is to also make a small pocket out of the same wood with a belt loop.

The hinges I got are a bit bigger than I wanted. I also have some that are a fraction of the size, but no retaining spring. That is the problem I am stuck with. Magnets? a clip of some kind? or ?

-- Woodworking is the best therapy

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JBrow

810 posts in 379 days


#4 posted 07-10-2016 09:39 PM

BradN,

I personally think that since the case will be so small that a brass hinge will detract from the unique appearance you are after. I envisioned the kerf hinge would look something like this…

The style of hinge pictured inspires another idea. A shop made hinge (or flap) could be perfect, though a little time consuming and tedious to build. It could be made from the same wood as the case. The flap could be constructed like a tambour door, just a much smaller version; small narrow strips of wood glued to a piece of canvass. One end of the flap could be glued to the case. A mini tab at the opposite end could slip into a cavity incorporated into the opposite side of the case, the cavity being sort of like buckle. A small screw could then keep the tab from pulling out of the bucket. Something like this…

Perhaps with a little ingenuity the buckle and tab could be design so that the tab has a safety catch that when engage would keep the tab from slipping out of the wooden buckle. A thin wooden strip attached to the wooden tab could act as a spring that keeps the safety catch engaged. Alternative a rare earth magnet might also work to keep the catch engaged, although I would feel safer with a mechanical means of keeping the catch engaged.

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BradN

26 posts in 167 days


#5 posted 07-11-2016 12:44 AM

JBrow, I like the idea. I was wondering what kind of belt loop or whatever I would use. Thanks

-- Woodworking is the best therapy

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JBrow

810 posts in 379 days


#6 posted 07-11-2016 02:12 AM

BradN,

Offhand I can think of two basic approaches to the belt mounting problem.

The first is a two part mounting system. One part would be a wooden plate that threads onto your belt and always remains on your belt. The second part is the cell phone case. When the cell phone is needed, the phone is detached from the plate. This method could provide fairly quick and easy access to the phone. The wooden plate attached to the belt could have a dovetail shaped key mounted vertically on the belt plate. A mating stopped dovetailed groove milled into the back of the phone case face could then slip onto the dovetailed shaped key on the plate threaded on the belt. A piece of leather screwed to the back of the mounting plate could result in a pocket through which a belt could be threaded. This method would always require a belt whenever the cell phone case is carried on the hip. This method depends mostly on gravity to keep the cell phone case in place on the mounting plate, although a long dovetail keyway and a well-placed magnet or a retaining strap could perhaps be added for extra security.

The second approach, probably what you have in mind, is a belt clip that is attached to the back of the cell phone case. This would be a fairly straightforward design, shaped in the form of a U. A wooden shim glued at the upper end of the cell phone case would be the place where a thin but fairly wide piece of wood is glued. A catch could be glued on or milled into the lower end of the thin but fairly wide piece of wood. The wooden shim would act as a standoff for the thin but fairly wide piece wood allowing a space for the belt. The shim would thus be a little thicker than your thickest belt. The thin but fairly wide piece of wood would slip between the belt and your trousers. The catch would help keep the cell phone case from lifting off your belt. The thin but fairly wide piece of wood works best if thin enough to be flexible when this piece of wood is pressed toward your body and away from the cell phone case to release catch from your belt, allowing the cell phone case to be lifted from the belt.

Of the two designs, the first would be my preference. The clip with a catch described in the second approach can be difficult to release from your belt. This delay could result in a few missed calls. Adding a clip to the cell cases also makes the case a little bulkier.

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BradN

26 posts in 167 days


#7 posted 07-11-2016 12:31 PM

JBrom, I had not thought of a wooden belt clip, I like the idea. As tot he dovetail, though the idea sounds cool to show, I would think it would make the case very thick if integrated into the thickness of the case bacl, or would make the phone not sit flat. Unless I make the dovetail very shallow, then that could work cool.
Thanks

-- Woodworking is the best therapy

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