Two 3D printed cases. (via Makerbot)
Nokia has recently become the first major phone company to embrace the oncoming age of 3D printing. Through an online blog, John Kneeland, a Nokia Community & Developer Marketing Manager, has stated that in addition to the extra shells available for purchase, customers may now download the case specs for free and print them. Of course, anyone trying to do this will need their own 3D printer, or at least access to one, but this is a great step forward in the 3D printing community.
Nokia already has many shells available to customize your phone. Those include different color shells, shells created to absorb shock better and provide better protection from dust, and shells that can add wireless charging capabilities. However, with access to 3D printing templates anyone who is well educated in the printing community can easily creates their own designs for their personal taste or need. Although this is something, someone could have measured out and printed, having the exact dimensions will make the process quicker and more precise. In addition to the 3D templates, Nokia also lists the recommended materials and best practices for obtaining the greatest results. Kneeland commented in the blog, “We refer to these files and documents collectively as a 3d-printing Development Kit, or 3DK for short.” Possibly this 3DK is something we may start seeing more of from different companies.
3D render of the case (via Thingiverse)
Unfortunately, 3D printers are still a bit pricey for the average person to get their hands on. However, many new emerging technologies once found themselves in this same situation. The more support and interest people put into 3D printing, results in a greater possibility that these machines may become more accessible sooner. Last year's 3D Print Show in London was a huge success. The show completely sold out and welcomed technologists, artists, industry leaders, and even families into to seeing the world's largest exhibition of 3D printed objects. This year the show promises to be even bigger and better. It is taking place in London this year from November 7th-9th, and then in Paris from November 15th-16th. Furthermore, New York is scheduled to host the show in 2014. Until then let’s see what crazy designs hobbyist can think for their custom phone cases.