In a time when most electronics are not designed with repairability in mind, YouTuber Ken Pillonel of the channel “Exploring the Simulation” has taken the initiative to change that. In his latest video, the Swiss maker shows how he has redesigned the Apple AirPods charging case to make it serviceable.
Pillonel explains that in the past, it was common for devices to be repairable and have their innards accessible. In contrast, modern devices are often seamless blocks, with their internals hidden and repair either difficult or impossible. However, the YouTuber refuses to let this spirit of repairability die and takes the AirPods as an example for potential improvement.
He starts by modeling each part of the AirPod cases, then optimizes them and shares the results with his community. He faces some challenges, especially with more complex parts with lots of curves. To tackle these, he uses a combination of traditional metrology tools and modern technologies like 3D scanning and photogrammetry. Parts are 3D printed using a Formlabs printer.
Pillonel also shows how he solves issues with the original design, like the use of glue to attach parts. He replaces the glue with screws and nuts, which not only enhances repairability but also gives the design an industrial aesthetic.
By the end of the video, he unveils his redesigned AirPods which are now fully disassemblable and serviceable, as well as having a USB-C port. The standard Apple AirPods only have the proprietary Apple Lightning connector. He offers the files for his modified parts for free download and encourages others to use and further improve them.
The details can be viewed in the video: