New iPhone Case, Old Problem

Well, I wanted to get more out of my iPhone, battery wise.  The obvious solution was to get a case  with a built in battery that didn’t add to the size or weight too significantly.

I settled on what’s called the iCase, which, in theory adds around 4-5 hours of regular use, or 17 hours if you’re using it as an iPod only.  I wonder how much GPS use I’ll get if the system is on standby?  It also has a built in LED flash/flashlight which is nice.  Once less thing to carry on my key chain.

The case is good, and I got it cheap through Amazon, but it did present me with an old problem.  My camera lenses are less than useless on an unmodified iPhone case due to the curve in its design.  That is, unless you LIKE having your pictures curved and blacked out heavily on one side and not at all on the other, or out of focus due to it being improperly fixed.  I noticed that happened a lot during the Vancouver riot because I didn’t have time to make sure I got it on right.  My original case was clever, but a mess of jury rigging, involving cutting, filler, glue, and even layers of copper, followed by another washer on top of that.

The result worked, but was finicky, as the riot proved.  But I had no choice.

So I went about whittling away at the case with an xacto knife, like before.  I did an okay job, I guess, but as it went on, it was clear it was getting more and more difficult to cut deep and keep it level.  What I needed was a better tool.  Something that could sand/drill this plastic case in such a way that I could not only be perfectly level with the lens, but get as close to the lens as possible.

I needed – a Dremel.

Fortunately one of my bosses at work had such a device.  She also knew what it was called, which I didn’t, which makes her twice the handy man I am, but unfortunately for her I’m twice as insane.   When I brought the tool home Gill got this worried look on her face.

“What are you going to do with that?”  She says it as if the answer might require getting a lawyer fast.

That’s not to say I wasn’t going to enjoy myself.

The problem with me is I can make something 99% perfect then completely screw it up trying to get that last 1%.  I came pretty close to doing that several times with the Dremel, but in the end I pulled it off.

If you’re thinking about doing a mod like this, keep in mind a few things.  You WILL end up opening the cavity to the main body, and perhaps even touch on the LED’s circuit board.  Fortunately, I didn’t damage anything inside, but you’ll want to use some kind of filler after you’re done (then buff/polish and paint it black).

You’ll need to shave off a bit more higher up than lower down, as the lenses get wide fairly quick.  My x2 lens was the most problematic, but it all got worked out.

Also, this case is not one you just slip into, it’s in two pieces and those pieces go right through the eye piece.  That’s a problem.  You’ll need to cut the ring in two at just the right spots.  A simple wire cutter did the trick for me.

Once in place, you’ll need to make the ring hard and fixed to the case.  The glue on the ring as it is can be pushed around, and you don’t want that.  Use it to your advantage to get the two pieces set up perfectly, then fix it with crazy glue.

But once your done, the results are great.

Now, if only I can make it look like a Hipstamatic…

Someday… someday.