[Gta04-owner] [ANN] A new 3D-printed case design

Denis Shulyaka shulyaka at gmail.com
Wed Jun 20 16:13:42 CEST 2012


Hi all,

I have made another attempt to create a case with the original bottom
hole and the buttons. The first attempt was unsuccessful because the
hole was too big and couldn't fit.
The second attempt was much more successful, but took very long to
reach me due to horrible 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 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 (see link below).
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 later. 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 still 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 (note that even original openmoko plastic part couldn'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 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 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

And disadvantages:
- Price is currently significantly bigger
- OTG port for GTA04 is not implemented yet
- Less tested

TODO:
- OTG port
- Camera hole
- Tweaks to fix some minor issues encountered during testing

The photos and sources are here:
http://wiki.openmoko.org/wiki/User:Shulyaka


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