Mobidex – The 3D printable Pokédex for your mobile phone

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I was out catching Pokémans last week when it dawned on me..

Our phones have technically become functioning Pokédexes.

If childhood me could see adult me right now, they’d be in complete disbelief. At 30 y/o, I’m walking around a park with friends, catching Pokemon, on my phone (you know, that hand-held computer we all carry in our pockets), functioning as a Pokédex. Unreal~

A few nights later, as I was falling asleep, it occurred to me that I could just design and print some sort of housing for my phone to really transform it in to the Pokédex it truly is. I could then run around in all my nerd pride and live out my childhood dreams. So….. I stayed up till about 8am modeling a Pokédex case.

I saw a few other designs online in formats that were really difficult to modify, but they still had some really good ideas going for it. One in particular was the Sparkfun case. What a great idea! I really liked seeing that this had already been accomplished to a degree, and it helped me drive my design home.

v1 Mobidex model

The biggest thing I wanted for the Mobidex was for it to be a Parametric model, meaning that it could scale up or down (and fit any phone) based on the dimensions I give it. So, using Solidworks, I designed the Pokédex from the get-go with that in mind. Essentially, almost every dimension is (or is proportional to) the dimensions of your phone, camera locations, button-height, etc.

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Using “Global Variables” in Solidworks to control the dimensions of the parametric model

Next, I wanted to make sure it had proper ventilation. If there’s one complaint I have about the game, it wouldn’t be ungodly battery consumption – it’s how HOT phones get when you’re on Poké-adventures. I mean, really hot. How hot? So hot, a friend ended up tossing his Galaxy S7 in a bucket of ice so it would cool down enough to hold it again.

The case needed venting, but not so much it becomes flimsy.

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Additionally, I wanted the camera, charge/aux ports, and side buttons to still be accessible. Taking the semi-hollowed back design from Sparkfun’s Pokédex, the back gives you access to the buttons and camera, with room to have a spare battery (in case anyone wanted to use their battery circuit to build a spare battery system or power their LEDs). The single-long-hinge design that the Sparkfun case had seemed like it would be prone to breakage with casual use so the single-hinge became 3 independent 1-inch long hinges – which turned out to be a bit stronger.

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Next step was to start printing test pieces to make sure the tolerance was correct. I printed out chunks of the case a few times, using different values for the phoneTolerance variable. Within 2-3 prints, the phone was fitting snug enough to not fall out if the case was flipped upside down. The hinges were printed a few times as well.

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Testing prints at Dallas Makerspace

Last but not least – fillets and flare! Fillets were added to corners on the the x-y axis (this helps printers print cleaner and faster corners, less ripples, etc) and team logos were added/embossed in to the cover. Once that was all done, the Pokédex (for my Note 5 phablet) went to print.

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First full print (early proto)

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Instinct > ALL

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Gym logo embossed on front cover

 

Within minutes of posting about to dex online, quite a few of my friends were asking for me to print them one for their phones (which they haven’t been able to find a case for). So, I decided to make a product in my shop to start taking their orders, figure out what phone they needed it for, what colors, if they wanted emblems or anything.

If you’d like the files to print for yourself, check out the grabCAD community page (coming soon! i’m fixing minor errors with the files before i put them back online – i want to make sure you’re downloading files that will print as well as possible!).

Want a Mobidex printed for your phone? click here! I’ll be printing a limited number of these, so first-come/first-serve!

The case takes about 5-6 hours to make, but I’ve got a few printers up and running to print these things so I’m going to try and get them sent out as quickly as possible. I’ll be taking pictures of the cases before they ship, so expect those soon!

Want a spare battery or the LED’s to do awesome things? Check out Sparkfun.com for all your nerdy needs!

 

SHOUTOUTs to NPOOLE at Sparkfun (thanks for all your tutorials and awesome articles!), my friends for giving me great feedback+ideas+pointers & letting me borrow their phones to shove them in plastic orifices, everyone that’s shared this post or any of my Fb posts (social networking stuff hurts meh head, so thanks!), and the person that thought of the name (Mobidex) – sick name bruv! ;D

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