One of the selling points for Nokia's Lumia 820 smartphones is that their shells are available in a wide range of colors. The company is now expanding the customization potential of these phones by making 3D printing instructions available.
3D printing seems ideal for customizing gear, but companies haven't exactly raced to embrace the option, perhaps believing that their brand recognition will suffer if customer-designed accouterments become common. As a result, the dimensions and design of even a case back are usually treated as confidential and proprietary.
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In counterpoint to this attitude, Nokia has just released a 3D-printing Development Kit (3DK) that provides users with the files and information they need to print a custom Lumia 820 back cover. The 3DK can be found on the Nokia developers site.
Possible modifications suggested include incorporating belt clips, bicycle clips or winding posts for headphones into the design.
As 3D printing becomes more affordable, self-customization of all varieties of user gear will accelerate rapidly. Nokia has made a modest start, but has announced its intent to support more use of 3D printing technologies.
“In the future, I envision wildly more modular and customizable phones,” Nokia Community & Developer Marketing Manager John Kneeland wrote in a blog post. “Perhaps in addition to our own beautifully-designed phones, we could sell some kind of phone template, and entrepreneurs the world over could build a local business on building phones precisely tailored to the needs of his or her local community. You want a waterproof, glow-in-the-dark phone with a bottle-opener and a solar charger? Someone can build it for you—or you can print it yourself! "