Nokia intros 3D printer kit, create custom shell for Lumia 820

By on January 18, 2013, 5:30 PM

It looks as though Nokia hopes to take the idea of customer personalization to an entirely new level. Today the phone-maker published what is being called a 3D-Printing Development Kit, empowering anyone with access to right kind of 3D printer to produce a customized, replacement shell for their Lumia 820 smartphone.

3D printing, if you've somehow missed it, allows for the creation of three-dimensional objects through a device that often times most closely resembles an inkjet printer. By punching 3D instructions into a computer, a such a device can be told how to construct an object and then meticulously "print" it out, layer by layer. Instead of ink though, these printers often use materials like resins, glues and cellulose which give these objects their rigid structure.

The 3DK, Nokia says, will not only provide schematics but also includes other useful information for those reasonably-versed in 3D printing, such as recommendations for materials, case specifications, best practices and tips for customization.

So far, these few 3D printer schematics are available on Nokia's website:

  • The mechanical drawings of Nokia Lumia 820 back panel for 3D printing (all parts)
  • Mechanical drawings of the Nokia Lumia 820 back shell for 3D printing (STP)
  • Mechanical drawings of the Nokia Lumia 820 back shell for 3D printing (shell separated)

Nokia is the first smartphone manufacturer to pitch such an idea, but it may be ahead of its time -- 3D printers aren't exactly commonplace yet as they remain fairly price prohibitive.

However, maybe -- just maybe -- the idea isn't too far ahead though. Staples recently announced it would gradually roll out its own 3D printing services across Europe. Before consumers run to their local office supply store though to stamp out new shells and cases for their smartphones, those printers will need to be able to produce a highly durable, "plasticky" product -- I don't believe the Mcor IRIS printers Staples plans on using will fit that bill, exactly.




User Comments: 6

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Win7Dev said:

Not many of you would likely know this, but a professional 3d printer takes roughly 8 hours to make a small model. It adds plastic in increments of 1/10,000 of an inch, so it takes a really really long time to make things. Besides that, it's about $40k for a nice professional grade 3d printer that is capable of using plastic that is fairly durable. Making one phone case would likely take around 10-12 hours using high quality plastic.

spectrenad said:

Not many of you would likely know this, but a professional 3d printer takes roughly 8 hours to make a small model. It adds plastic in increments of 1/10,000 of an inch, so it takes a really really long time to make things. Besides that, it's about $40k for a nice professional grade 3d printer that is capable of using plastic that is fairly durable. Making one phone case would likely take around 10-12 hours using high quality plastic.

True. Still, I like the idea. It's innovative, and you can't dream of a better way to personalize your phone.

Win7Dev said:

True. Still, I like the idea. It's innovative, and you can't dream of a better way to personalize your phone.

Fair point, but I don't see why I couldn't just pay $10 and get a custom case already. There are plenty of companies willing to put whatever design you want on a case, and they can have the case shipped to you in a day, which is pretty much just as fast as printing the case yourself.

Tygerstrike said:

The idea in and of itself is very inticing. To be able to print out anything you can get a design for. Maybe in 30years everyone will have a 3D printer. At that point if you broke a spatula you wouldnt need to run to the store, just print one out. A nice idea but I fear the human creature will find ways to use this technology to make more then your average soup ladel.

dms96960 said:

How long will it take me to print out a neutron bomb?

captainawesome captainawesome said:

How long will it take me to print out a neutron bomb?

You have just become a person of interest

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