Who has ever wished they could build their own mobile phone? Well David Mellis, one of Arduino’s co-founders, has released blueprints for that very dream.

Front and rearThe design is based on the Aduino GSM shield, but has been slightly modified to include a screen, buttons, microphone and other hardware you would find in some of the high street phones out there.

Despite the fact it is fairly primitive, it can still carry out most of the functions that you would expect a mobile phone to be capable of, making phone calls, sending and receiving SMS, etc… It even has a phonebook and a clock.

It has been described as “a difficult but potentially do-able project” by the creator himself, and to produce it would cost somewhere in the region of £120 ($200), which when compared to phones of yesteryear and the price some of them retailed for, is a bargain for a completely unique phone.

Retro is all the rage now anyway! Binatone recently released a retro-styled mobile phone, imaginatively known as ‘The Brick’.

LCDvsLEDTwo versions of the DIY phone can be made. One features a black and white screen, that older mobile phones made use of in the past, and despite being capable of displaying more information than the other version, which makes use of an eight-character matrix of red LEDs, costs less at around £6 ($10).

The flipside to this though is reliability, with the screen reportedly failing sooner than the more expensive LED screen. Thankfully the screens are fairly easy to replace though.

The circuit board used is relatively inexpensive and David has uploaded the circuit board plans to OSH Park, who are a custom printer. They can produce 3 copies of the board for around £36 ($60).

However, should you decide make your own phone, you should be aware that the soldering aspect of the project is very involved and definitely requires a very steady hand.

There are about 60 different components, all surfaced mounted, that require the attention of a good quality soldering iron and a lot of spare time. Don’t expect to have this aspect completed quickly unless you’re an experienced hand. There are no kits for the phone readily available either, so no cheating!

sidebysideAlso, due to the lack of a ready-made kit, you will need to source most of the hardware yourself. Don’t worry though, it’s all readily available from SparkFun and Digi-Key. The required M10 GSM Module can be bought from the Arduino store.

Now that you have the hardware to make the phone operate, it’s time to turn to the casing. There are many routes that can be taken with the easiest being plywood, the detailed plans for that are easily accessible.

Some members of the MIT Media Lab have even gone as far as to produce cases using 3D printers, so the options for customisation are endless.

Take a look at the cases created by other members of the MIT Media Lab.

The plans can be obtained by visiting GitHub for the hardware and software , and comprehensive information on the project can be found by visiting David Mellis’ webpage for the project.

It’s been tested and works with numerous full size sim cards over in the USA and it should work with other cards in other regions. The big question is though, can you play Snake on it?

Source: David Mellis' DIY Phone