I re-used corrugated cardboard to make an iPod case

My roommate found a functional but locked gen4 (?) ipod touch with a cracked screen in a cab. It sat on his end-table for approximately six months before I decided to buy an ipod cable and find a youtube video on how to reset it. So we’ve been enjoying having an ipod for a while but it bothered me that the thing was so breakable. Now, I could’ve just gone down to Five Points and copped a plastic ipod case for probably a few bucks, but that would be too easy. No, spending a few weeks worth of spare time prototyping, that’s obviously the way to go.

The one constant theme to my design was that it should be made all from one piece. If you can just add pieces all willy-nilly, that’s cheating and what’s the fun in that?

prototypes. it helped that I was unemployed during the bulk of development.

I have no regrets, though; it (eventually) came out awesome.

my apartment was flooded with bits of cardboard everywhere to get this result.

the initial design was to slide the ipod into the rightmost side of case. When I developed the latching mechanism, making a “door” out of the right side, I realized there was a much simpler, more functional design possible (bottom row of prototypes): folding the sides around the ipod and latching it on the back

here’s the latching bit on the final version, the first real design breakthrough (I use the term loosely, it’s not like i’m going to the moon, here.) the cool thing about it is that you can also thread your belt through. a physical anchor is very important to all the shit I carry, so integrating that idea was always on my mind from the beginning. ancillary benefit!

getting the lengths dialed in so that the latch didn’t overshoot the docking part was another prototype exercise, but now I can slide the whole case into the dock at work no problem.

so, here we undo the latch…

to reveal the final design breakthrough, the puzzle-piece connector that holds the sides together so your hands can futz with the latch.

and here’s the exploded view.

to my mind, the air pockets created by the corrugation are superior padding than plastic or rubber. also, judged against the average person, I’m fairly anti-consummerist and committed to recycling and especially re-using, so that partially explains my reticence to consume moar plastic; though, obviously, the environmental benefit of this exercise is effectively zero. but, you know, I gotta be me.


Where is your kickstarter and choice of cardboard colors, already?

heh. my buddy works in custom engraving with all the lasercutters in his shop and he was chatting me up about it. obviously that would be awesome but could we realistically compete with avalanches of cheap chinese crap? plus, I’d have to repeat the development for all the other models and learn how to use Illustrator to make the files (not a bad skill to have, tho.) OTOH, it might totally be worth it and we’d make some actual dough off of it. I’m a notoriously bad salesman/self-promoter, though, kinda hand-in-hand with the anti-consumerist leanings.

@sam thanks for bumping the thread, devs.

Yes, but this consumerism could save the planet!

More seriously, can’t you use consumerism to do good as well as bad?

eh, i see your point, there is for sure good consumption and supply-demand that spurs innovation, which is great. but on the whole, the way it games out in free (and free-ish) markets is more wasteful and exploitative by far than is healthy, IMHO. I guess the key might involve prices reflecting the real costs of manufacture and disposal beyond the current model of made wherever people/economies are too poor to turn down the jobs and disposed of wherever people are too poor to oppose turning their land into a dump for the freemarket plastic crap that breaks, gets tossed out, and then sits forever.

If consumers were responsible for disposal of what they consume on the property that they themselves own or rent, then the market would demand that products were designed to endure rather than break and bought anew, and people would buy a lot less, impulse-buying and convenience-buying would be curbed greatly. but of course, that is anti-free market socialism.

I think “vote with your dollar” is a useful strategy, but it is a wealthy person’s game–I can’t usually afford to buy the top-tier built-to-last, repairable rather than disposable options. plus, all it takes to get someone (me included) to vote (with dollars or otherwise) against their self-interest is a slick marketing campaign.

but we were talking about iPod cases? it’s all so absurd, this reality.

EDIT: went off on a tangent there–didn’t see you’d emphasized “this” meaning “my design’s” in your post :flushed:

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That’s quite clever. I especially like the puzzle-piece element. Particularly as it’s not necessarily obvious at first glance. Makes a nice easter egg.


a little weekend thread-bump action. yes, I am a shameless self-promoter.

my friend busted the glass shade on my lamp and I made a near-perfect replica out of paper. I’ll probably make a thread for it sunday or monday, so keep your eyes peeled if you’re into that kinda thing.

Nice project.

Last night whilst checking out the building’s dumpsters (my anti-consumerist activity.) I came across a plastic iPod case in its package, a huge plastic envelope with a plastic zipper. On the package it said “Don’t throw me away!” Hm, I thought, that didn’t work. Then I looked more deeply into the bag it came out of and it was chock full of the things, maybe a hundred. Definitely did not work.

Your version will at least degrade gracefully. An alternative that might appeal to some regular consumers.

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