The Future Is Now (& Free!), Thanks To Some 3-D Printing Magic

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In case you were feeling disappointed by the offerings in the smartphone-accessories department, Nokia has some exciting news. The communication mogul has partnered with MakerBot to develop the first ever downloadable file for 3D printing enthusiasts, allowing them to customize a phone case for their Nokia Lumina 820 or 520. This marks the first time a phone company has released 3D templates to the public for printing, letting DIY-fiends go nuts, basically.
For anyone who isn't familiar, the 3D printing world is reshaping the way inventors create and model. It can literally print whatever crazy design is floating around in your head— just look at these insanely cool printed objects, if you need proof.
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But what's great about this collaboration is that Nokia is streamlining the process, making it easy for those of us who don't work with more complicated rendering software. The project is kind of like the NIKEiD of phone accessories. Like Nike, the MakerBot x Nokia partnership provides users with a selection of colors and patterns from which to choose. The turnaround time is minimal — about an hour if you have your own MakerBot Replicator 2 Desktop 3D printer. But, if you don't want to shell out a cool $2,199 for the device, you can also bring your file to any 3D-printing service provider and have it done there.
Way back in the early stages of NIKEiD, Shox were the only available show model that you could personalize. Today, you can customize almost any of the brand's models from cleats to fashion wedges to skateboard shoes. Here's hoping this partnership leads to more techy collaborations (are you listening, Apple?). We love the (almost) infinite number of case choices we have for our iPhones, but we'd jump on the opportunity to design our own, especially if we could do it in less than the time it takes for our battery lives to deplete.
Photo: Courtesy of Nokia
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