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Custom cell phone enclosure

Discussion in 'Electronic Basics' started by Adrian Black, Oct 27, 2003.

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  1. Adrian Black

    Adrian Black Guest

    When last I shopped for cellular phones, I couldn't help but notice
    that industrial design in the cell biz sucks pretty hard. Everything
    seems to look like the same basic design was carved from a bar of soap
    by the guy who designs contollers for Nintendo. So, I hatch a plan:

    I want to take the guts of some fairly common cell, say an Ericsson
    t300, and transplant them into a case of my own design. What to make
    the case out of? Ideally I'm thinking milled steel or brass, maybe
    anodized aluminum. Rubberize the inside to avoid shorts, and put some
    lexan over the display. Very industrial, very rugged. It would look
    cool, and you could drive nails with the back in a pinch.

    Ah, but the antenna. Here's where you guys help me out. If I used
    steel or brass, could those components be used as the antenna, or is
    the shape going to be too irregular for anything passable? If I use an
    external antenna, will having the components in what amounts to a tiny
    metal box still cause me grief? And what would happen if I used
    something really obnoxious, like copper, or some strange alloy?

    Hints and suggestions are appreciated!
  2. Neil

    Neil Guest

    Why don't you just make a outer casing that the entire unit can be placed
    into, with a hole for the antenna to come out. Just a cool looking clamshell
    design.I would be a hell of a lot easier than trying to replace the
  3. Adrian Black

    Adrian Black Guest

    Because 90% of the phones out there have internal antennas, and don't even
    have a plug for an external unit. Besides, making this harder than it needs
    to be is half the fun...
  4. See, this is why some folks bitch about top-posting; it
    interrupts the natural flow. But I'm not bitching, oh no, I
    just thought I'd MENTION it...

    Anyway, I agree with the fun part. OTOH I don't see Nokia
    or whoever picking up on the idea of Fluke-style cases for
    cellphones because they're too inexpensive to justify the
    cost. Dammit.

    Maybe you'd like to start marketing custom shells? I need
    a waterproof one.

    A nice polycarb window for a patch antenna (or a polycarb
    cylinder for a rubber ducky) should work perfectly.

    Those would sell. I know lots of folks whose phones were
    killed mechanically.

    Water-clear or colored polycarb? The stuff's literally
    bulletproof, and the LEDs some like to add on/in to their
    phones would add to the cool factor.

    You can go with bronze (with added decor) for D&D types;
    you know, Celtic knotwork, gargoyles etc, colored plastic
    jewels for buttons and so on. Big market I betcha.

    What's wrong with an insulating grommet for the antenna?

    I'm reminded of the hardware engineer at the systems
    integrator shop I used to work at who spec'd a mouse as an
    "Industrial Grade Rat" as a joke, which got into the
    published specs. We got dozens of bites, and he was
    mortified to have to tell them it didn't exist. It would
    have had a stainless case, punchout-proof buttons, knurled
    steel ball, was waterproof, and had a flex-conduit-covered
    cable. Damn but I still want one.

    Mark L. Fergerson
  5. Ian Stirling

    Ian Stirling Guest

    What about a nice hardwood case?
  6. Adrian Black

    Adrian Black Guest

    Thats actually what I'm leaning towards. Kinda a hybrid design - a hardwood
    frame and sides, with some laser cut stainless steel wrapped around the
    front and back.
  7. Ian Stirling

    Ian Stirling Guest

    This would somewhat help with the antenna problems.
    As an experiment, you can try wrapping some stainless (thick copper wire
    would have a similar effect) round the case, to check if the radiation
    pattern is unacceptable.

    Some artificial gems are relatively inexpensive, and could be made into
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