3D-printing is becoming an increasingly ubiquitous tool. It’s especially useful for fabricating objects that you might uniquely need: objects that are useful to you, but almost no one else. I’ve had a few. Currently I own an Artillery Sidewinder X1, which I’ve had for a year. I use it so often that I’ve needed to rebuild the extruder assembly once, but besides that it’s been a very capable device.

I print all sorts of stuff. Little models for kids to paint, fruit juicers, musubi mashers. However, amongst all the things, I print one particular thing about 10x more. It saves me thousands of dollars a year, far more than the cost of a 3D printer. The object, is a humble phone case:


This phone case is slightly strengthened relative to an original design by Peter Holzwarth. It’s easily customizable thanks to the simple language for functional 3d geometry definition, openSCAD (which is FOSS).

Anytime I get a new phone for myself, my kids, etc. I pull out some 4$ Harbor Freight calipers. I adjust the height width and depth in the code and I print one of these cases out. If the phone is dropped, this case works like a bike-helmet. A corner pops off and the phone is fine. Then I print another. It also holds the phone a few millimeters off a surface, such that the phone is held above any spills. It holds most objects away from the screen and prevents scratches too.


I have printed about 20-25 of these, saving about 20-25 phone screens. Using this case, a 5 year old can have a phone without a broken screen. It’s pretty remarkable. The code for this thing below.