Nokia has become the first major manufacturer to release 3D files so anyone can download and 3D print parts for their own phone.
Nokia have made the rear shell for the Nokia Lumia 820 available to download from their developer site as an STL that can be uploaded and 3D printed by Shapeways or a STEP file that can be opened and parametrically modified by a variety of CAD software such as Solidworks and Inventor.
The Nokia Lumia 820 has a simple clip-on interchangeable back which makes it possible for people to change the color of their phone. By releasing the CAD file, people can now download and modify the basic design to add any feature they like, be it a functional like a folding stand, bike mount, cable wrap, or something cosmetic like branding, images or patterns.
What makes this really important is that a major manufacturer is making it possible for their customers to add value to their products without any cost to the manufacturer.
We have seen the seeds of this when Teenage Engineering made accessories for their synthesizer available for download and 3D print, but this is the first time one of the big guys has come to the world of 3D printing.
One thing to note is that the 3D file is quite fine, and will not suit all forms of 3D printing. We have uploaded the part to Shapeways and made it available for download. We are also doing some test prints at Shapeways this weekend to ensure printability in Nylon (WSF), but we do not recommend 3D printing components such as this in Acrylic as it may be too brittle and Nokia recommend no steel, ceramic or sandstone parts.
The file may also be challenging for Desktop FDM machines as the wall thickness and direction of the stresses may make this a fragile part.
This is a fantastic first move by Nokia, we asked who would be the first manufacturer to make the move to 3D printing in a previous blog post. Nokia get the prize for being the innovator, now let’s see who follows in their path and if they can raise the bar.