Nokia Releases 3D Print Files For Lumia Smartphone Cases
January 18, 2013

Nokia Releases 3D Print Files For Lumia Smartphone Cases

Michael Harper for — Your Universe Online

Arguably, the coolest booth at this year´s CES in Las Vegas belonged to MakerBot, makers of those futuristic 3D printers. The company has come a long way since 2010 when their booth consisted of one printer, a few samples of what had been printed, and almost no lines to check out their wares. This year, MakerBot had grids of printers working in unison to print off 3D models and thick crowds of people to push through in order to catch a glimpse.

3D printing is the wave of the future, and companies like MakerBot are at the forefront. And now Nokia can now be counted as one of these companies buying into 3D technology.

Today, the Finnish company has released 3D print files of cases for their Lumia 820 smartphones. This means anyone who finds themselves in possession of both a Lumia 820 and a 3D printer will be able to download the file for the shell and print off their own case, all for free, minus the cost of plastic used to build the case.

In a blog post, John Kneeland, a Nokia Community & Developer Marketing Manager, explains the new program. The company already sells their own multi-colored, ruggedized shells for the Lumia line, as well as shells which add wireless charging.

“Those are fantastic cases, and a great option for the vast majority of Nokia´s Lumia 820 customers,” explains Kneeland.

“But in addition to that, we are going to release 3D templates, case specs, recommended materials and best practices–everything someone versed in 3D printing needs to print their own custom Lumia 820 case. We refer to these files and documents collectively as a 3D-printing Development Kit, or 3DK for short,” he adds.

Kneeland brags that this new program makes Nokia the first “major phone company” to utilize 3D printing and support the 3D printing community.

“I view this as the spiritual successor to the great granddaddy of customizable phones, the Nokia 5110 and its rainbow collection of removable faceplates,” he says.

Users can download these 3D models here and begin building and customizing their own shells for their Lumia Windows phones. By making these plans wide open to users, Nokia is essentially allowing them permission to build what they will and use their phones in a myriad of ways.

“You want a waterproof, glow-in-the-dark phone with a bottle-opener and a solar charger?” says Kneeland. “Someone can build it for you–or you can print it yourself!” Such is the way of 3D printing, giving near absolute control to the end user, allowing them to print what they will from the privacy of their homes.

According to Kneeland, Nokia uses these 3D printers internally to build and test prototypes quickly and efficiently. Part of his job, he explains, is to encourage the independent developers and hobbyists to work with Nokia and use it as a platform.

Elsewhere at this year´s CES, company Sculpteo was showing off a new line of products, called 3DPCase. Users can create their own iPhone case in the iOS app, then submit it to Sculpteo.