Calgary Board of Education

Designing and "Printing" an iPod Case

winter 2011 | written by Moriah R., CTC student

I have a first generation iPod Touch®, so I find it almost impossible to find cases for my iPod because all the stores only carry cases to fit the later models. The design process unit in the Pre-Engineering program offered the perfect opportunity for me to make my own case.

students learning

To manufacture the case, I used a "3D" printer. The one we have at the CTC is made by uPrint®. This type of printer creates objects from the drawings we make using an "additive sculpture" process, which basically means the printer keeps adding layers of plastic to make your piece. The design software we use for this is Autodesk® Inventor®, which allows us to create 3D designs.

The difficulties I ran into while designing the case were trying to figure out how I would fit the top and bottom pieces of the case together, having the case properly fit the curved parts of the iPod, and designing something that would work well with the plastic of the 3D printer. We always do a prototype as part of the design process, and I decided to not put a latch on my final design after the prototype latch didn't work the way I wanted it to. Designing the case took a lot of time and effort, but it was something I had a lot of fun doing. I liked the fact that by designing an iPod case I can take it home and use it in real life, not just in the classroom.