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Android is known for being highly customizable in the software department. However, the hardware can't really be tweaked. Yeah sure, you can add a skin(sticker) to your phone to customize it's look, or maybe add a case to customize it, but why not remove all the paint from the back panel to show off the internal tech instead!
This project was inspired by JerryRigEverything's youtube channel where he has made many phones transparent before. Here is a link to the video that inspired me:
- Phone with a glass panel
- Paint stripper (Optional but makes the process much easier)
- Heat gun, or hair dryer or a heat pack (I made one by microwaving a sock with rice inside)
- paper cards and thin prying tools for removing the back pannel
- Various prying tools to strip the paint
- Double sided tape (non-foam variant)
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Step 1: Prepping Your Phone
Please note, there is a good chance you can crack your back glass panel or your phone during this process. If your phone has waterproofing, this process will negate that. Knowing this, let us continue.
Firstly, you should watch a tear down for your phone to see if any ribbon cables are attached to the back panel that can be damaged when you remove the back.
Then you want to heat your phone's back with a hot air gun or a heat pack till it's slightly too hot to hold. Using your metal pry tool, start to separate your back panel from your phone. Insert a paper card once you separate a section to prevent the back re-adhering to the phone.
Step 2: Removing the Paint
Use paint stripper and your prying tools to start to remove the back panel. I removed my camera lens to remove the paint from it too before re-attaching it.
My phone didn't have wireless charging, but if your phone has wireless charging, then the coil might block your view of the electronics. If you don't use wireless charging, you can remove the coil.
The silver metal shields on your phone may have stickers. As long as they aren't thermal pads, you can remove these to expose the metal shielding. Don't attempt to remove the actual shielding as those are usually soldered on and may expose the chips to radio interference.
Step 3: Trimming Extra Plastic
I decided to take my project even further by trimming some of the extra plastic components. I took out my speaker assembly and looked at where the antenna lines were and cut away the parts that were there only for structural support. This step will vary from phone to phone depending on how confident you are with your technical skills and how much you can actually trim away.
Step 4: Finishing Up
Make sure to clean all fingerprints and dust from the phone and the glass panel before you seal your phone.
Cut double sided tape and liberally apply it around the phone. Connect any ribbon cables that you disconnected and seal the back panel back up.
Note: If you shatter your back panel, the glass will fall out because you removed the film that would have held the broken pieces. You can avoid this by using a large piece of clear tape under your glass to prevent fragments falling off if your glass breaks.