Print your own phone case… Wait, WHAT?!

Seriously, welcome to the future…

The Lumia 820: coming soon to a 3D printer near you

Yesterday, news landed in my inbox that Nokia were going to not only announce the availability of 3D-printed cases for the Lumia 820 but also – and here’s the killer – release the printing files for said cases too.

That’s. Just. Awesome.


Let’s review.

The Lumia 820 is Nokia’s next best flagship Windows Phone 8 device after the Lumia 920. One key point of difference between the two is that the former has, like old-skool Nokias of the past, a hot-swappable back cover; allowing 820-owners to personalise their devices to the colour of their choosing. Well, from the available range (above) at least anyway…

That last part – the limited choice – all changed yesterday.

With the introduction of (and then the public releasing of the files for), 3D printed covers anyone with a 3D printer can create their own Lumia 820 back cover.

Yesterday was stacked and I’ve only now got the time to write this up. Since the announcement, the news has appeared everywhere; from Wired through to the BBC. However – leading Indian mobile tech blog, Unleash the Phones, managed to get the scoop on them all by laying their hands on the first images of what these 3D printed covers look like –

Lumia 820 3D-printed cover

Snug fit!

These were made, in about an hour, with Makerbot. Amazing.

Yes, the technology is expensive. But so were 2D printers when they first launched. With today’s yesterday’s announcement Nokia have given us a glimpse of the future and, dare I say it, earned [back] a whole lot of geek/cool points in doing so.

Good job.


Here’s the news from Nokia’s blog,
(including said files!)

Releasing the 3D printing files for Lumia 920:

Nokia’s 3D printing community project is a simple concept with exciting potential. Our Lumia 820 has a removable shell that users can replace with Nokia-made shells in different colors, special ruggedized shells with extra shock and dust protection, and shells that add wireless charging capabilities found in the high-end Lumia 920 to the mid-range 820. Those are fantastic cases, and a great option for the vast majority of Nokia’s Lumia 820 customers. But in addition to that, we are going to release 3D templates, case specs, recommended materials and best practices—everything someone versed in 3D printing needs to print their own custom Lumia 820 case. We refer to these files and documents collectively as a 3D-printing Development Kit, or 3DK for short.

The links to the files needed are here, here and here.

In doing this, Nokia has become the first major phone company to begin embracing the 3D printing community and its incredible potential, and continue to be the leading phone company in this exciting field.

[We] view this as the spiritual successor to the great granddaddy of customizable phones, the Nokia 5110 and its rainbow collection of removable faceplates. To think, it’s been 15 years since the 5110 launched! 


At this point, one would normally write something like: ‘So, what do you think? Do you have a 3D printer? Will you be trying this out? Have Nokia done the right thing?’ – to help stimulate conversation in the comments etc..

But no. Not today. Instead I’m going to say this:


Thanks, you’re awesome.


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Author: James Whatley

Chief Strategy Officer in adland. I got ❤️ for writing, gaming, and figuring stuff out. I'm @whatleydude pretty much everywhere that matters. Nice to meet you x

2 thoughts on “Print your own phone case… Wait, WHAT?!”

  1. Not too far away from Nike (etc) having to do the same for their trainers. Can’t wait for 3D printers to become textile friendly so manufacturers have to adapt or get torrented etc.

    The high st will be no more though. Wonder what if anything will replace that space.

  2. This is a major game changer. It was going to happen sooner or later, and I’m so pleased Nokia took this bold step before others. Thanks to John Kneeland for his persistence in making this happen.

    I’ll be exploring what can be done with the shell models and supporting the Maker community with some seeded devices soon. Can’t wait!

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