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Picture of DIY Phone Case From Soda Cans

This Instructable shows you an innovative way how to make a DIY phone case from soda cans. The method presented here can be used as a general approach how to make any kind of nice boxes from soda cans (see video: DIY phone case from soda cans).

In a previous Instructable (see Instructable: Flatten Soda Cans) I showed how to flatten soda cans with the use of an electric iron. The same principle of applying heat to soda cans can also be used when first forcing soda cans in a customized shape using spacers and then place it in an oven. After the heat treatment in the oven, the spacers can be removed and the soda can keeps the desired shape permanently.

In addition you can also remove the ink (see Instructable: Ink Removal From Soda Cans) from the soda cans in order to make it look cooler!

The project was done using a Samsung GALAXY A5 whereas the Huawei P-10 or the Samsung GALAXY S9 was working as well. In case you have a different phone you have to play around with different size soda cans and the thickness of the foam rubber.

If you like that project please vote for me in the "Trash to Treasure" contest?

Step 1: Parts List

Picture of Parts List

For that project you need the following items:

Materials:

  • Small soda can (diameter 53 mm): Is used as the bottom part of the phone case
  • Middle size soda can (diameter 58 mm): Is used as the lid for the phone case
  • Large soda can (diameter 66 mm): Is used to make the second type of spacer
  • Foam rubber (2mm thickness): Is used to make the closure in the bottom part and the lid of the phone case. Moreover it is used as the lining material inside the phone case
  • Popsicle sticks (150mm x circa 17-18mm): Around 10 pieces are needed to make the first type of spacer

Tools:

  • Utility Knife
  • Scissors
  • Stapler
  • Wooden block 1 (25mm x 13mm x 64mm)
  • Wooden block 2 (9mm x 13mm x 64mm)
  • Ruler
  • Contact adhesive
  • Oven (200°C/392°F for 30 minutes)
  • Q-tips or cotton swabs
  • Edding marker
  • Double sided adhesive tape
E3V3Ayesterday
This is a great SECURITY project!

As we all know, our phones cannot be trusted to be completely off. This is especially true for devices where the battery cannot be removed. Security research has shown how past mobile hacking tools have been used to impersonate a phone "off" state, when in fact being on and listening in.

To complete the Faraday cage, make sure to also seal the ends with aluminum and use conductive copper tape to compete the seal, as aluminum can be hard to solder without melting. Also make sure the cap has a tight fit, as a just 1-2 mm may be enough for radiation to leak. (Some of the latest 5G modems are operating ~50 GHz.)

PS. Even a completely sealed Faraday cage may not block all EM radiation because of the skin effect that depend on the frequency, material and its thickness. (I.e. If you x-ray'd the box, you'd still see the phone inside.)
Cute use of recyclable materials!
wv999998 days ago
With regards to the explanation why "baking" the can in the oven does indeed fix the shape, have a look at http://www.totalmateria.com/Article139.htm, in particular on the section about "Recovery". Once the dislocations defining a particular shape (i.e. a stress pattern) are gone, additional heat treatment does not further soften the metal. The "practical" advice you find on the internet (e.g. https://makeitfrommetal.com/how-to-anneal-aluminum-the-beginners-guide/ or https://process.arts.ac.uk/content/annealing-softening-aluminium-plate/index.html) has at its heart methods not to overheat and melt aluminium, while using a torch to do the heat treatment. Because these methods of temperature control are so poor, their proponents conflate "Recovery", "Annealing" and "Recrystallization" into a single process and then make claims that do not hold up under much better control.
Thanks for your input to the real subject - so far I just had no time to carefully check your links.... but I will go through them... maybe I have to adapt my world (smile)
digloo4 days ago
This is the most pointless phone case. You just made a faraday cage which will prevent the phone from receiving the signal and will cause its transmitter to increase power and drain your battery quicker.
JustineM326 days ago
Very cool! My dad would love this!
carolcox547 days ago
i am looking forward to making this with my teenaged grandson... as we live in Venezuela, and phone reception is intermittent at best, the lack of signal doesn't bother us. we keep our phones on airplane mode until we get to a secure location with a strong wifi signal...thus the case is for protection. very clever use of tin cans!
RumpelS7 days ago
As already written here it is a bad idea to put a phone into a metal box. The metal is a shield for the RF signal. As your phone permanently communicates with the base station it will consume more energy and your battery will become empty faster.
ak088209 days ago
Will the metal surrounding the phone shield it from receiveing a phone call and ring?
No the aluminum is not blocking the phone. I use the case myself.
You can easily made the test yourself. Put the phone in the bottom part and then close it with the lid. Take another phone and call the phone in the case. You will hear it ring immediately..... don't forget that the closure on both sides is made from foam rubber so there is no closed shield around the phone. Hope this helps!
Well .. i think, there might surely be enough leakage on the ends to be able to still get calls trough.. But it imposes another problem.

Cell phones regularly communicate with the base stations in their surroundings. Just for telling them that it is still alive and still in their coverage area (or if they're not because you're moving, they arrange handover and stuff). That's necessary for a lot of reasons like you being still able to receive calls or transfer data for push notifications and such....

The problem is; Your phone need to send stronger signals (more watt on the rf transmitter) because of the shielding the soda can still is... This _could very unlikely_ damage the RF circuits because of reflections and feedback within your soda can case.
But! Even if not damaging, it drains your battery way faster than it would do without the aluminium around it.

Overall .. a nice idea and a nice instructable ... but the usability is very limited if there is any at all... ;)

just IMHO, some 2 cents from some netizen;

hacky
The antennas at the smartphone are on the ends, if the ends of the case is dielectric then the signal will pass.
shooshx7 days ago
This is the best idea possible to kill your phone reception. Excellent for people who don't want any communication done through their phone. Seconds only the Apple iBrick.
AntonZ58 days ago
Looks pretty cool, but I afraid the RF signal will be degraded because of metal shield. However, I will use this idea for other storage. For example to store plastic and credit cards with NFC chip. or to store hdd drive. Really liked the tip to bake it in the oven!
Anyway nice enclosure!
Feeling the futuristic vibe. Cool.
Netaawy8 days ago
Great! it won't block phone signals as cans made of aluminum. Nice tuation.
Aluminum blocks electromagnetic waves. The bottom of the case is foam rubber. That's the entrance point.
Remember that it should work as a faraday cage, so you can use it to block the connectivity of your phone. If you want to receive messages and calls you should leave it open
... no no I did a test .... we called the phone that was in the case and you could here it ring.
Maybe if the closure is also covered with aluminum you have no connectivity ... would be a nice tool for meeting rooms ... I will make a test.
257F1DFE-DC12-4D07-BE31-8D0E3B761113.jpeg
Maybe just don't take your phone to the meeting, or put it in "airplane" mode...
While its unknown if you're in a "bad spot" for signal when taking that picture, but this is a very clear example of the aforementioned signal issues as the pictured phone only has 1 bar of WiFi and one or zero bars of Carrier signal.

It should be added to the instructable that this will affect your signal level for WiFi and Carrier's, as well as the length of battery life (heat & increased drain from radio signal boosting)- even a general advisement that any sort of "full covering" that surrounds the phone will yield this effect.
the problem is, if you have a connection before closing the case it is going to work because your phone automatically increases the transmitting power to reach the station, but it is going to drain your battery much faster...
Maybe it's because it has an wooden bottom so it isn't fully covered in aluminium.
Both closures are made from foam rubber - the wooden spacers are removed after the heat treatment