Cases for the Librem 5?

There’s a post in this thread suggesting Purism will rely on 3rd party/community support for cases. But given the nature of this community, I think it’s quite likely to find 3D-printable case specs pop up, and maybe more sophisticated ones too.


I will be doing my best to make a functional cover that can be 3D printed once Purism releases the final specs for the physical dimensions of the phone. I will be sharing the design as well.


This logic works if there is no capital cost to recoup from the sale of the product. Injected plastic systems can be pricey; however, 3D printing might be what saves us here. There again lies an investment; however, an enterprising person with sunk cost might be able to take up the effort.

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Ive emailed my favorite phone case manufacture introducing them to the librem5 phone in hopes they will jump aboard.


Will you be printing and shipping cases for those of us without printing apparatus?

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Maybe a case is a possible additional accessory?

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That is possible, but I may not be the best choice for that. My printer is pretty basic and tends to have a lot of down time (which entirely depends on how much time I have to fix issues that crop up and do maintenance). A more likely scenario is that, because I (and likely others) will be posting our designs and making them freely available, you will be able to simply upload the design to a site like Shapeways and have them print the item for you. But once we have the final dimensions and I can start printing some test cases, I’ll have a better idea of how fast I could print them. :slight_smile:


I might the able to help out too. But just like yours my anycubing 3D printer is a beginners class printer. I let you know as soon as I printed my first one and checked it out.

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I still hope some of the regular case manufacturers will jump in and offer Librem 5 cases as well. However, I assume the device will have to reach a certain volume for this to happen.

Anyways, is there another device with similar shapes that could fit into one case that was not designed for the Librem 5? I don’t care much about port covers etc. but also need some level of basic protection.

Close to impossible.
L5 will never hit that threshold.
Many flagships and mid range Android phones never got cases made by these major manufacturers and they sell millions of devices every year.

As I stated in another posted: I contacted WaterField Designs regarding case manufacturing for the Librem 5. I was told it would be a major undertaking to resize an existing case design to suit the Librem 5, but they would be willing to see what existing cases(if any) of theirs might fit the phone once we have the specifications.

Though judging from the size, aside from a pouch I don’t see any really fitting.

This is (close to) a deal breaker for me. I don’t think I’d spend $700 on a phone if I can’t get a case for it.

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After buying (and throwing away) a lot of different cases I found that the best is simply a thin pouch or a thin silicon back case protruding a bit on the front so you can put the phone face down on a table. A thin pouch you can sew yourself but a silicon case must fit the phone.

A thin pouch must be big enough so to get out the phone easily. It protects the front from keys and screwdrivers and whatever you keep in your pocket (hammer ?). Those elaborate cases with credit cards and whatever are just a terrible nuisance … The simpler the better.

I had some conversations with a small designer and manufacturer that was interested. I set up for them to contact Purism (or vice versa). I have not heard from them since (it’s been a few weeks now). This is too bad. I think they ran out of faith.

They had a plan to manufacture a mold (the most expensive thing, five figures easily) relatively cheap but still did not believe that the numbers were there (which I disagree but have no proof of). They even had an idea to source recycled plastics, possibly with wood fiber mix and could have made a few variants. But, I feel, they did not believe there would be enough customers. The last thing I did, was to send an email about the possibility of a Kickstarter (either by them - or by more experienced Purism) to see if the pre-orders would be there, but it’s been silence. It could be that they thought this was after all some scam and not a real opportunity.

Quick calculations: for minimum of 30000 coins (they need at least some profit for incentive - and some manufacturers are more expensive), they would need to sell at least 1200 cases at average of 25 coins (not including Purism possibly supporting this). Individual customer also would have to pay for shipping and all that on top of it. So, not a cheap thing, there is risk involved.

It may well be they came to this forum, saw it’s full of “where’s my phone dude” messages and decided it’s just one of those failed kickstarters and overoptimistic backer reaching out to them :slight_smile:

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I have some CAD experience and would be willing to generate a basic case design and post the files if/when we get the schematics for the phone, or if someone who gets an early one posts precise dimensions. Then people could get their own case made at a local makerspace, or a site like makexyz.

I signed up for a later batch, so I couldn’t really guarantee fit and function on early phones unless someone who has a phone and access to a printer steps in to help test.

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But, thanks to you and others we saw in this forum, we gonna be able to make it happen.
My brother’s friend just recently asked how he can put his 3D printer to use and I immediately suggested the case did this coming revolutionary phone … Say make a mold and pour silicone over it… :slight_smile: there were plenty of people who offered their 3D services here as well
I think, that in the worst case scenario we’ll have some basic silicone cases or TPU. Just not sure if soon enough for those in earlier batches
I’m kinda convinced by the time Evergreen is shipping, we’ll have more options. Purism will try to team up with someone for sure. Because the lack of adequate protection can indeed cut into their sales. I always a case delivered before my phones come in . Screens break to easy. And given how heavy this phone is, it’s gonna be more fragile.

I don’t need a fancy Otterbox that adds lots of bulk. A thin silicone case to absorb some force from falling on the edges is all I want.


Since the back cover is plastic and snaps in (see the video with Todd taking the L5 apart), a useful phone case would replace that back cover and snap in itself.


Some tidbits about making a case:

  • Printed case is not as durable as moulded one (TPU or mixed material). However, that can be a bit compensated by making it thicker as well as using coating (possibly several layers).
  • A clever designer might be able to make a case where silicone/TPU bumbers are attached separately to add drop shock resistance.
  • What @ktmr suggested, replacing back cover in the design may make the design slimmer, which is a bonus. It also opens possibility to screw the case on using the inside screw holes (not advising it atm though as external cases seem to gain from not being too tightly connected to chassis thus allowing a bit room to absorb forces and not deliver them forward)

Bonus features to consider (“feature cases” - how many can you fit in one?):

  • screw mounts for camera lenses,
  • USB-splitter or hub (ports for IR/remote, charging options, NFC etc.)
  • extra battery (possibly a separate slim battery that is easy to attach to the back of the case OR an 18650 because reasons),
  • support for standing phone on its side at a comfortable viewing angle,
  • screw to connect to a tripod or selfie-stick (or Go-Pro style activity rig via adaptor),
  • credit/payment/transit card pocket (can also be added to phone with adhesive as a pocket),
  • solar charger panel (or multiple, foldable) ,
  • mini stylus compartment,
  • wireless charging,
  • emergency mirror for signaling, concave for fire, convex (or camera) for hair and makeup
  • repair toolkit: a screwdriver compartment
  • boyoncy (what waterproofing?),
  • micro quad-copter “transformer”
  • Transformer (Autobot),
  • handcrank for backup power,
  • standard socket for external antenna
    … and what ever else anyone can think of.

[Edit to add: Kitchen sink mentioned, also, heat dissipation elements: pipes, external fans etc. Starts to remind me of one of these - although mostly not a joke. Mostly.]