Which bit to drill into smartphone screen?

SigBoi
Posts: 3
Joined: Mon Jul 27, 2015 6:55 pm

Which bit to drill into smartphone screen?

Post by SigBoi » Mon Jul 27, 2015 7:37 pm

Hi everyone, I found your forum by searching for dremel bits.

My wife just started a new job for the DoD, and a requirement is no cameras allowed, especially those on phones. So the only option besides getting a basic "dumb" phone is to physically remove or permanently disable the cameras on a smart phone, which my wife wants to have available to check email, etc. NAVSEA says as long as it shows a black screen or "camera not connected" message we're good. Not wanting to drill out the cameras on her iPhone 6, I purchased a Sharp Aquos smartphone to modify for her.

The rear camera is pretty easy to work with, I can either take it apart and remove it, or drill through the lens and epoxy it. The front camera is what's tricky as I'm not confident to take it all the way apart to get to that front camera, and drilling it seems to be the better option.

What bit would you recommend using to drill through the screen on a smartphone without cracking it? I plan on drilling with a bit just a little wider than the camera, and not deep enough to reach it, but enough so that I could fill the hold with black epoxy, effectively showing only a black screen if you were to turn it on.

I also just found out that on this Sharp Aquos the screen is made of "acrylic glass", which means it's basically plastic? Would there be a trick to drilling this without it melting and smearing?

From SharpUSA's website:

Image

Thank you for any input you can provide!

CastIrony
Posts: 650
Joined: Mon Jul 21, 2014 10:21 pm
Location: Portland, OR

Re: Which bit to drill into smartphone screen?

Post by CastIrony » Mon Jul 27, 2015 7:57 pm

This is a weird requirement, as iOS MDM policies can easily disable the cameras, and I assume Android MDM can too.

Anyway, before drilling into the phone, might not be a bad idea to get a broken screen for cheap to practice on.
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TomO
Posts: 171
Joined: Mon Dec 29, 2014 1:19 am

Re: Which bit to drill into smartphone screen?

Post by TomO » Mon Jul 27, 2015 8:03 pm

Can you epoxy a piece of black film over the lens?


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SigBoi
Posts: 3
Joined: Mon Jul 27, 2015 6:55 pm

Re: Which bit to drill into smartphone screen?

Post by SigBoi » Mon Jul 27, 2015 9:28 pm

Thanks for the quick reply guys, I'm not too sure why the requirements are so strict, all I know is that my wife is going to working in a sensitive area of the shipyard and they require the camera to be physically disabled.

Most of her coworkers have either drilled or removed the cameras but I'll try to find out if epoxying black film over the rear lens would work.

Good idea CastIrony, I'm bidding on an inoperative one on eBay now so I can test drill it.

TomO, I really want to make the front camera a flush deal instead of having a layor of film over it, as it might peel off, and not look as nice. I was hoping to drill into the acrylic and fill it flush with black epoxy so that the final product will have a smooth surface.

Here's a photo of the phone for reference:

Image

Back cover and rear plate out:
Image

TomO
Posts: 171
Joined: Mon Dec 29, 2014 1:19 am

Re: Which bit to drill into smartphone screen?

Post by TomO » Mon Jul 27, 2015 11:23 pm

Got it. I was looking at my iPhone with my life proof case and thought that might be a possibility - if it was going to have a similar case on it. Best of luck with this project.


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SigBoi
Posts: 3
Joined: Mon Jul 27, 2015 6:55 pm

Re: Which bit to drill into smartphone screen?

Post by SigBoi » Mon Jul 27, 2015 11:56 pm

Thanks, so which dremel bit would you recommend to drill into the acrylic? I only found articles about cutting wheels for cutting acrylic sheets but that doesn't necessarily apply to drilling through it. And would using water or cutting fluid help keep the edges of the hole from melting out?

TomO
Posts: 171
Joined: Mon Dec 29, 2014 1:19 am

Which bit to drill into smartphone screen?

Post by TomO » Tue Jul 28, 2015 12:10 am

I have yet to cut acrylic but if I was going to try this (phone drilling) I would go with a 1/16" or 1/32" end mill in a drill press. To me the smaller the better. Maybe something like this: http://pages.ebay.com/link/?nav=item.vi ... ID=EBAY-US

It is designed for milling plastic, aluminum, copper & steel. Pros - use it for this project and you will have a new end mill.


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megeshg
Posts: 91
Joined: Sat Mar 22, 2014 6:08 pm

Re: Which bit to drill into smartphone screen?

Post by megeshg » Tue Jul 28, 2015 7:11 am

epoxy tinted black will be your best and easiest option in my opinion...

Hans
Posts: 290
Joined: Tue Dec 25, 2012 5:19 am
Location: Connecticut, USA

Re: Which bit to drill into smartphone screen?

Post by Hans » Tue Jul 28, 2015 7:17 pm

I don't think that cracking or melting will be a problem for a single hole in cast acrylic. Use a sharp tool, just use enough force to make the cut, avoid high spindle rpm if you can, and a drill press will make it go smoothly.
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madhatter
Posts: 164
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Location: WA, USA

Re: Which bit to drill into smartphone screen?

Post by madhatter » Wed Jul 29, 2015 12:49 am

I purchased some downcut drill bits for drilling through some flex-circuits (4 layers of copper and 5 layers of Kapton) from Drillbitcity and they worked great - PROVIDED:

You place a sacrificial piece of material approximately the same hardness on top and drill through it and into your phone. That way, you will not have any tear-out at the phone surface.

Code: Select all

        |/ /| Downcut
        | / | Drill
        |/ /| Bit
        | / |
         \  /
          \/
---------------------------
|   Sacrificial Material  |
---------------------------
    |-------------------------
    |  Phone Surface
    |
    |--------------------------------

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