Agent18 Case Mod

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weatherman

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My first iPod accessory had to be a case. I thought about the iSkin but decided against the rubber-type cases because I just didn't like the idea of the feel of rubber, and how it might cling to my jeans and coat pockets. I also didn't like the screen protector which is a seperate piece on the iskin.

I looked around, and the slimmest hard case I could find that had fairly good reviews was the Agent18 case, which if you don't know already is a hard plastic shell that encloses the front of the iPod and protects the screen and back. The Agent18 case has two halves that enclose the iPod, and after I got it I realized that it would be a fairly easy thing to paint. And after being one of an average of 5 people in any given car on the NY Subway wearing white earbuds, I decided I'd do a full job, and match the earphones to the case.

So last night on a whim I stopped by the hardware store (okay, three hardware stores) looking for the supplies. Nothing major, but the essential bit was a can of Krylon Fusion paint for plastics. The first place I stopped only had red, yellow, and blue, and none of those appealed to me. I actually wanted "safety green" so that it would look a little like the Wasabi iSkin, but I couldn't find it. I finally found a color called Sun-Dried Tomato, which seemed like it could be cool.

I went home, and in a couple of hours I knocked out what I think is a pretty nice looking mod. It's not fancy, but I think I'll be doing it again soon and doing something a little more intricate. That's the advantage of doing a mod on an Agent18 case -- I didn't have to paint or damage my iPod in any way ('cept the earphones) and if I want to change the color or do something different, I just have to buy another case for $25.

Anyway, that's a long-winded way of saying that I've posted some images (and basic instructions) on Flickr.com, and you can go check them out:

http://www.flickr.com/photos/the_weatherman/sets/156253/
 
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weatherman

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I don't mind at all! :)

Thanks for the good feedback, folks.

BTW I think I'm naming this mod "Sun Dried Creamsicle"
 
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smorzander

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wow, 8 out of 10... it may have helped to do even thinner layers, they paint looks alittle thick and the frame for the logo on the back is alittle off, but good job overall. i may need to do something like this now. btw, does the paint affect how the ipod sits in it at all? is it harder to get on/off now? does any rub off on the ipod?
 

xluben

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Is it easy to take this case apart? I would like something that makes it easy to remove the iPod on a daily basis, for use with my Bose Soundock (music and charging). I also am looking for something that is compatible with the Podwave and Pocketdock, which this case is. I have the iSee right now, which is good, but I was also looking into this case. It seems hard to take apart, though.
 

weatherman

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8 out of 10? You flatterer!

You're right smorz (rick?): my tapework was subpar in certain areas. The paint could have been done better as well, but I wasn't really sure the best way to work with the paint. If I had to do it again I think I'd go for less layers of paint, or allowed more drying time between layers.

The paint is not actually that thick - and it doesn't interfere with the iPod at all. There is an almost imperceptible slightly-tighter feel to the case, but I could be wrong. It comes out of the case with no problems, and the paint leaves no residue -- well, almost none: The rubber nubs on the inside of the bottom portion of the case did absorb some paint, and left four little dots on either side of the metal part of the iPod the first time I used the case. The paint came easily, and has not reappeared.

Proper drying is essential to make sure that there is no residue on the iPod. Because the paint "bonds" to plastic, I was extra careful to let the case dry for 12 hours before using it.

As for taking the case apart, it's not the easiest thing to do. The sides are snapped together and held in place by rubber nubs. It's a very secure case, but it's also a little difficult to get off. Not a big deal mind you, but harder than just taking an iPod out of a slip case. I think it'll get easier with time -- I've only had it since Tuesday.

I don't dock my iPod every day -- more like every two or three days, so it's no big deal to me to take it off and the advantage is that the case is very protective for everyday use, without having to flip open anything to access the controls. Every case has advantages and disadvantages, but for me this seemed (and still seems) like a perfect case.
 

smorzander

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just a tip for next mod you do,
if you want a really good paint job use and airbrush and model paint, most model cars are made of plastic so there is no bonding issue and the airbrush gives you a clean professional job. btw, i like how you painted the inside of the case instead of the outside, good thinking. :D
 

weatherman

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That's a good tip. I'm not a serious modder so I didn't want to invest in an airbrush, but if I start getting into this more I might. The spray paint is definitely not the best solution -- even with lots of shaking and careful application the paint can easily glob. The earbuds came out with a smoother application, though I'm not sure why. Maybe different plastic type? Or maybe because I held them up to spray them rather than pointing the paint down? I think paint globs less when you spray horizontally and from a slightly greater distance.
 

smorzander

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weatherman said:
That's a good tip. I'm not a serious modder so I didn't want to invest in an airbrush, but if I start getting into this more I might. The spray paint is definitely not the best solution -- even with lots of shaking and careful application the paint can easily glob. The earbuds came out with a smoother application, though I'm not sure why. Maybe different plastic type? Or maybe because I held them up to spray them rather than pointing the paint down? I think paint globs less when you spray horizontally and from a slightly greater distance.
if you look around you can find a cheap airbrush... $30-$40. one tip if you want to do a different set of headsets later... tape up the parts you dont want painted, then spin them from the wire, and spray at the same time. that way they get an even coating...

the main reason i dont like spraypaint for modding is that the 'beads' of paint that come out it are all different sizes, some are microscopic, others are a 16th of an inch long. an airbrush gives an even 'small beaded' spray.
 

weatherman

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Yeah, I looked around at airbrushes to see what they'd cost, and $30-40 seems reasonable. That wire trick is pretty cool. I also read that there is better tape to be using for finer work -- specifically "airbrush tape" which cuts more cleanly. I'll look into all that when I do my next one.

jstylex0r: I appreciate your candor. I don't think it looks cheap -- actually everyone I've showed it to says that they can't believe I did it. You may be basing your opinion on the exterior of the case, which in the pictures looks beaded and rough, but that's because it's "frosted" and in person it actually looks pretty trick. But I'm not too concerned: it actually WAS cheap! :) I spent a total of $5 on the whole project, plus the cost of the case and the small brush that I had to throw away because I couldn't clean it with the supplies I had around. And for $5, I think I got a pretty cool and distinctive look.

I realize my "mod" is really just a simple paint job -- the only reason I posted it was because I thought my idea of painting the inside of the case was somewhat novel, and the results were pretty good for a $5 spray-paint job.
 
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