3D-printed transparent AirPods Pro case advocates repair and sustainability

Ken Pillonel, a hardware prototyping consultant, recently shared a notable creation – a transparent AirPods Pro charging case. Using 3D printing technology and transparent SLA resin, Pillonel’s design not only offers a unique visual appeal reminiscent of gadgets from the past but also addresses the vital issues of repairability and sustainability in electronics.

AirPods Pro clear

Hardware prototyping consultant creates transparent AirPods Pro case from scratch

The process of creating a transparent AirPods Pro case began with Pillonel’s downloading 3D files and utilizing transparent SLA resin to mold the transparent case. After that, Pillonel meticulously printed the components using a Formlabs Form 3+ printer.

A series of careful steps followed suit – parts for the transparent AirPods Pro case were meticulously cleaned with IPA and diligently dried using compressed air. The parts underwent sanding, progressing through 400, 600, 800, and 1000 grit sandpaper. This step was regularly punctuated with dips in tap water to ensure cleanliness and gauge progress.

The attention to detail persisted as the parts underwent cleansing in fresh IPA and thorough drying with hot air, guarding against mineral residue deposits. The process was completed with a clear spray varnish application, transforming the parts from opaque to transparent.

Apply clear spray varnish to the parts. A single or double thin coat will miraculously transform the parts from opaque to entirely clear. This process works effectively if sanding was meticulously executed. The key is achieving a consistent surface; the spray varnish helps even it out and ensures transparency.

Beyond its appealing appearance, the transparent AirPods Pro charging case underscores Pillonel’s resolute mission to underscore repairability concerns within contemporary consumer electronics. The case’s unique construction employs screws and nuts instead of adhesive, and a thoughtfully integrated USB-C port enables hassle-free disassembly and repair.

Two goals behind this project. The first one is to do something cool and creative, for the beauty of it. To entertain. Because why not, if I can. Second goal, more serious, is to drive traffic to the aforementioned project and hopefully sensitize the viewer to those repairability issues.

transparent AirPods Pro

This innovation arrives on the heels of Apple’s introduction of a transparent variant of the Beats Studio Buds+ and Nothing’s transparent Buds (1) and (2), which have sparked a renewed fascination with transparent electronics and design. Pillonel’s project offers more than a nostalgic throwback; it encapsulates the pressing need to shift toward sustainable design practices.

If you are interested in more AirPods Pro modifications, click here to read about an AirPods Pro case modified with USB-C connectivity.

About the Author

Asma is an editor at iThinkDifferent with a strong focus on social media, Apple news, streaming services, guides, mobile gaming, app reviews, and more. When not blogging, Asma loves to play with her cat, draw, and binge on Netflix shows.