3D-printed case attempt
This is my first attempt to create a complete case using 3d printing technology without sacrificing buttons and the hole. My work is based on official Openmoko CAD files as well as on Lukas Märdian's work (http://blog.slyon.de/2012/01/02/building-a-case-for-the-goldelico-gta04/).
The first attempt was unsuccessful: the hole was too big and couldn't fit. However I'm not giving up.
- Please find the second attempt below
The part shown on photos is printed by i.materialise in polyamide. The part fells as strong as the original one (even the small details are good) but not finished very well which is not a big issue.
Second attempt: Now successful
The second attempt was much more successful, but took very long to reach me due to very bad service in Russia of one of the most popular package deliver companies in the world. They failed to deliver the package, returned it back (and didn't return the money, I believe) and after all said that they don't deliver to Russia at all any more. We ended up using normal postal service, which is more reliable but more slow. (Big thanks i.Materialise for the support! Shapeways failed at this point and refused to print my models due to the shipment problems).
Anyway, now I've got my 3D-printed case and must say that the back cover fits perfectly this time. I've also printed other parts of the case including buttons. The front cover was printed in Prime Gray material, it's easier to break than Polyamide, but looks and feels very "professional". I'm going to print the whole case in this material. Buttons are harder to press than original, but they do work! Now I can say it with full responsibility: 3D-printing of a full-featured GTA0* case is possible. The quality is very good. Especially I like the look and touch of Prime Grey material. However it is not as strong as I want and snap joints would break quite quickly. There is room to make them even thicker, but they would lose the flexibility they are supposed to have. This is not a big issue for the front panel which is not supposed to be removed very often, however the battery cover would possibly need something different to last reasonably long with daily use (even original openmoko plastic part didn't last long in my hands). Polyamide is rather more strong and flexible but doesn't have this "almost luxurious" touch and gets dirty very fast. I will possibly ask the factory to paint it next time. I had to fix the AUX button with a rasp because it was too big (it might be my model or varnish the factory used). I will fix the model to avoid this in the future. There are also some other minor issues with the model (the screen space is a little bigger than original and the space left for the Power button is also too big, but those are not big issues). I've printed the speaker top part in ABS also, but the quality was not as good as Polyamide. I have successfully installed my GTA02 board into the case (keeping original speaker parts because they are a little different to give enough room for wifi) and will use it for some time and report back. The board fits almost perfectly except for one spot that is also not critical at all and easily fixable. I don't have a GTA04 yet because it's also not being shipped to Russia. I'm now figuring out the way to by it by someone in between, but would wait for a case kit first. Now about the prices. It is expensive, especially the buttons printed in Transparent Resin which cost about 55€ each. The front cover (Prime Gray) was 22€, middle part and back cover (Polyamide) were about 36€ each. The site shows that the speaker parts are 12€ each, but I believe it was twice more expensive when I ordered.
My models have some advantages over Lukas Märdian's files such as:
- Have a bottom hole and buttons and look very much like original case
- More 3d-printer friendly (100% manifold and have correct normals)
- Better wall thickness in a number of places
- Have a nice GTA04 title on front
- Price is currently significantly bigger
- OTG port for GTA04 is not implemented yet
- OTG port
- Camera hole
- Tweaks to fix some minor issues encountered during testing
- Sources (Could anyone suggest an appropriate hosting?)