iPhone Gameboy Case “The ArCase”

CAD, Rapid Prototyping

This was the project that was undertaken during the summer of 2014 when my friend Carter Sharer suggested the idea of making an iPhone case that could serve the dual purpose as a simple game controller and a protective case. I worked on this periodically when I had some downtime from my summer internship and was able to complete a functioning prototype.

When this project was first started, the intention was to create a functional product that would be injection molded, mass produced, and sold to the masses. But due to a number of problems that were encountered along the way, including Nintendo sending a DMCA notice to the developer of the GBA4iOS gameboy emulator that the case was designed for, the new design of the iPhone 6, and time constraints after returning to school, it did not make business sense to actually launch this product.

When the idea was first suggested to me by Carter, I was intrigued and conducted intensive research on existing gameboy accessories designed for the iPhone currently on the market. Based on this research and some rough measurements with a pair of calipers I mocked up a first prototype in SolidWorks and printed it with my Makerbot Replicator 2. The first prototype, when printed was absolutely horrible and i quickly made changes to the design. The advantage of 3D printing each iteration allowed me to see and feel the benefits and flaws of my design.

I went through almost a dozen prototype iterations before arriving at my final design. This final design was printed with the Objet 500Connex, a multi-material 3D printer capable of printing 11 different types of materials, of which the rubber-like TangoBlack material was the critical element needed in the design. The final design was a functional case that could be clipped onto the front of the iPhone for enhanced emulator game play via the tactile and conductive buttons, and can be easily detached and clipped onto the back of the phone, serving as a protective and decorative case when not in use.

Materials Used

PLA, ABS, VeroGray, TangoBlack

Tools Used

Solidworks, Makerbot Replicator 2, Object 30Pro, Objet 500Connex

Project Duration

Periodically Over 4 Months


May - August 2014