“You know the thrill of walking down a back alley in hopes you might find something amazing? I fucking live for that.”

This is how US traveler Scott Allen opens up the About page on his website devoted entirely to hardware hacking and documenting his strange-but-true stories straight out of the world of technology and manufacturing.

“Shenzhen, China is my new obsession,” he explains. “I’ve been spending a ton of time here in the past year and a half. I feel like I’m just starting to scratch the surface. It’s been called the workshop and factory of the world. There is so much to discover tucked away in corners of industrial markets and down back alleys.”

More recently, Allen built a like-new (and working!) iPhone 6S entirely from parts he bought in the public cell phone parts markets of Huaqiangbei. While assembling an iPhone from scratch with instructions and all parts included is enough to give even an advanced engineer the willies, Allen impressively undertook the task of discovering all these components in an open Chinese marketplace and built his own working iPhone for just $300.

“I’ve been fascinated by the cell phone parts markets in Shenzhen, China for a while,” he explains. “I’d walked through them a bunch of times, but I still didn’t understand basic things, like how they were organized or who was buying all these parts and what they were doing with them.”

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Read Allens full breakdown of the build over at his website, Strange Parts.


Simon is a Brooklyn-based industrial designer and Managing Editor of EVD Media. When he finds the time to design, his focus is on helping startups develop branding and design solutions to realize their product design vision. In addition to his work at Nike and various other clients, he is the main reason anything gets done at EvD Media. He once wrestled an Alaskan alligator buzzard to the ground with his bare hands… to rescue Josh.