My diy projects using old iPhones

My diy projects using old iPhones

Old iphones can be turned into really cool things other than phones. I have a 3D printer and a CNC machine so I often think of ways I design something to turn an old phone into a new gadget.

Below are some projects I've made with old iPhones. Things like nice looking digital clocks, iPhone DSLR camera, 4G back up wifi router. The basic idea of all these is to take a useful app like a digital clock and combine it with a new enclosure for the iPhone.

Digital Clock / Smart Home Hub

I designed this case to make the iPhone look more like a smart home hub. I machined the wooden case from birch plywood so it feels solid and high quality. The white parts on the back are 3D printed. One is like a photo frame stand to keep  it upright on a table. And the keyhole thing is a hook to mount it on the wall.

It's mostly used as a clock. There are loads of  clock apps you can download to get it to look like any style you want.

It could also be a useful smarthome control hub. I can control my smartplugs via the kasa app or ask siri something. But Apple announced in WWDC 2023 a new dock feature in ios 17. When docked your iPhone turns into smart hub thats fully customisable.

I'm really excited about this. I would love one something like this on my bedside table or desk. iOS 17 is compatible with the iPhone XR/iPhone XS onwards. That means the only older style iPhone to get it will be the SE 2nd gen. Either way it's good inspiration.

The buttonless modern iPhones are much sexier and have wireless charging too. When they start becoming older and cheaper some cool things will be made for them.

Make a wholesome bedtime device

I read about this idea from Tim Urban. He dug out an old iPhone and removed all the apps except ones that are not horrrible dopamine rushes. It's got no sim and isn't signed into iCloud.

You can wind down via Kindle app, crosswords, podcasts, meditation apps etc. But also can set your alarm which is really useful. I always listen to a semi boring podcast when I go to bed so I might start doing this.

Dedicated camera

This is a 3D printed project I designed last year. The design is inspired by my old Canon 30D DSLR. It adds a nice chunky grip, tripod threads, cold shoes etc to make filming video on iPhones easier.

I made another one for my iPhone 8 and used it to film lots of b-cam in videos. The  best thing is that I can airdrop the files to my mac instead of messing around with an SD card.

You can check out the 3D files here https://www.printables.com/model/244922-iphone-dslr-camera-rig. I've only uploaded one so far but you could remix it to fit your needs.


I've thought about turning some of these into real products. If your interested in potentially seeing that subscribe to my mail list. If I release a product I'll share it on this blog first, and by being subscribed you get notified of a new post.

I'm always tinkering with homemade projects. I'll continue to post what I'm making and sometimes share the 3D files on my printables too.

Leave a comment if you've got any other ideas or made something yourself!

Future ideas include:

  • permament iphone / ipad satnat and music thing for car
  • bicycle satnav thing
  • digital peephole