How To: Heroically Salvage a Scratched-Up iPhone

One drop. Five minutes in a pocket with your keys. Three months of regular use. This is all it takes for an iPhone's backplate to go from a mirror-like shine to a scratched-to-hell eyesore. Here's how to fix it.

MacRumors forum member Shenaniganz08 salvaged an iPhone 3G from eBay, sanding, buffing and polishing it back from the brink of a life in a case, which would be dumb, because cases are dumb. (I mean, not really, but that's kind of the premise of this whole process, right? Anyway.) Here's what you need:

• Sandpaper 320(or 500),800,1000,1500,2000,2500,3000 grit
• 3M Rubbing compound
• Machine Polisher ( Power Drill or small buffer)
• Microfibers
• Sticky tack and or tape

What's great about this is that you don't need to buy almost anything. Half the stuff you need—the microfibers, the polishing disc and the rubbing compound—is included in a $15 3M headlight restoration kit , and you can use just about any crappy household drill for the buffing stage.

In any case, the results are stunning, and the documentation meticulous, so if you've got a few hours, a few bucks and an iPhone that looks like a piece of shitty sea glass, why not? [Macrumors via Gadget Lab]