Jan.23, 2013

Since Nokia released its 3D printing file for the Lumia 820 covers, the forks at Makerbot have created their first Nokia Lumia 820 shell using a 3D printer. "It's an awesome shell that fits great!" noted Makerbot team.

But not everyone is impressed by the quality of released file. Engineers at Materialise printed a few of the shells, see the photo below:

(Image: Materialise)

They say 3D printing a Nokia Lumia 820 cover is a piece of cake, but the outcome was, the shells didn't fit well. In one test they used ABS plastic but it broke when removing the shell, because the wall thickness is not correct. And when they use other materials such as Resin and Polyamide, they had problems with buttons - it doesn't fit in the shell.

Materialise states there are two problems:

One: The shell consists of two materials: hard plastic for the shell and a rubber-like material for the buttons. If you print the shell all in one piece, you're not able to push the buttons any more. And if you print it separatly, the buttons won't fit in the shell any more.


Two: Wireless charging isn't possible any longer since the wireless charging component is embedded in the shell. But that doesn't need to stop you from printing it of course!

Here are the tests they have done:

1. This was printed on the UP!, a personal portable printer. The material that's been used is ABS; you clearly see the support structure that needs to be removed. And that can give a little problem: you need to be really careful when removing it otherwise your shell will break.


2. ABS: This material is not appropriate to use with this wall thickness. It fitted perfectly on the phone, but it broke (see te marked spot on the picture) when removing the shell.

3. Resin: This is one of the best materials to use since the wall thickness is only 0.9 to 1 mm. But the problem with the buttons remains.

4. Polyamide: The material is a little less flexible than resin, but ok to use. Same problem here unfortunately: you can't use the buttons.

Watch the video below:

Materialise says they will come up with perfectly printable files later.

Many smart phone manufacturers are trying to enhance brand loyalty. Nokia is the first major phone company to begin embracing the 3D printing community hoping to get support from the community and continue to be the leading phone company in this field.

Nokia is very proud of their step. But does 3D printing community appreciate this step? At least not all of them. David Lee, the founder of XinChenJian, Hackerspace in Shanghai is not optimistic about the Nokia 3D printing project.

"Too late, Nokia should have done it five years ago." says Lee. In his opinion, Nokia has lost his aura. "Makers won't purchase a Nokia Windows Phone only for 3D printing an open source shell. It is not a good idea to focus only on the shell design." He mentions that nowadays it is not difficult to obtain drawings for mobile phone shell, and people prefer iPhone or Android system, not Windows Phone. But if Nokia could have done that five years ago, maybe they could have a bigger market share than now.

Netherthless, this is still an impressive step from Nokia. Nokia's next plan is to release the stl files for 920. Meanwhile Nokia is currently hosting is 3D printing challenge on IdeasProject, a design contest for cool design of a Nokia Lumia 820 mobile phone case, where top 5 winning ideators could win an all paid trip to Mobile World Congress 2013 in Barcelona, Spain.




Posted in 3D Printing Applications


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doom wrote at 1/25/2013 8:57:04 AM:

what the hell is David Lee saying? you ask him about this particular thing and he goes on a rant about platforms and state of nokia. what a twat

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