When I purchased the iPad 2, I desired a slim, folio style case that would offer protection from being tossed in the trunk of my motorbike on a daily basis. I, however, prefer to use the iPad naked which meant I wanted a full (front and back protection) case that was easy to get the iPad in and out of. I couldn’t find a case that completely met those needs. The full cases I found were bulky and completely cover the lovely iPad while requiring some type of pushing, pulling, flap removal or insertion in order to get it in and out.
I like the ease of Apple’s smart cover but it’s only a one sided solution. I found the smart cover’s magnetic system to be brilliant. I was surprised that I could not find a full case that utilized that built-in magnetic system. As a DIY’er I decided to build my own.
In April of 2011 I built my first prototype, which I covered in one of my favorite things: duct tape. I wanted the case to be strong, so I searched for a suitable material for the inner core, after all duct tape alone would be very flimsy. After a bit of research I found 1/32” birch plywood that is sold for skinning model airplanes. Although the plywood is very thin it is super light weight and strong.
I then created my own magnetic attachment system. It consists of a milled block of wood that has six neodymium magnets embedded into it. The iPad rests against the block on the left side attaching to the embedded magnets. The combination of magnets is very strong and securely holds the iPad alone. However, while testing the design I learned that the right side needed support in case the iPad was bumped and the magnets detached. Corner tabs were the solution. I originally created the tabs from scrap aluminum. The final version of the tabs are 3D printed plastic which I designed to match the curves of the iPad’s corners. (3D modeling was done by the very awesome Jake Drews.)
Once I completed the original prototype which I named The iPad 2 Duct Tape Smart Folio Case, I posted photos of it on my blog. The case received many positive response and reposts around the web. Over the past few months I’ve been refining the design and planning a production work flow in order to make the DTMJ available and affordable.