Please note that as of October 24, 2014, the Nokia Developer Wiki will no longer be accepting user contributions, including new entries, edits and comments, as we begin transitioning to our new home, in the Windows Phone Development Wiki. We plan to move over the majority of the existing entries. Thanks for all your past and future contributions.

Revision as of 16:34, 24 January 2013 by fpatton (Talk | contribs)

3D print a shell for your Nokia Phone

From Wiki
Jump to: navigation, search
Article Metadata
Created: fpatton (18 Jan 2013)
Last edited: fpatton (24 Jan 2013)



Here at Nokia, we like to be on the leading edge, and we have for you what we believe is a phone manufacturer first – providing the mechanical drawings for a phone's back shell so you can make modifications or accessories to print out on your 3D printer.


While the outside of the phone case can take almost any shape, limited only by your imagination, the inside is a bit trickier. You have to make sure there’s room for the battery, antennae, and other protuberances, as well as openings for buttons, speaker, microphone, etc. Not fun to figure out on your own, so we’ve taken the guesswork out of the equation for you.

Since the back for the Nokia Lumia 820 is user-removable, that's our baseline. We’re providing models in STL and STEP format, both the complete backshell/button assembly and the individual models for the shell and each of the buttons.

You’ll find the files here:

  1. Lumia 820 shell, separated, STL format
  2. Lumia 820 shell with all parts, STL format
  3. Lumia 820 shell, STP format

Which files to choose? If you just want to start experimenting, use the first set, the STL files with components separated. STL files are the ones you can slice directly and print. You can also use them as a starting point for modifications with some 3D design programs. We've provided STP files because they're a very common interchange format for 3D models in mechanical engineering. If you're really in to 3D mechanical design, you'll probably want to use that set.

Note that you will have to have a Nokia ID and be registered with Nokia Developer to download these files. You will also need to agree to the terms and conditions, which are based on Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-ShareAlike.

Explore this article for more information and inspiration, and be sure to contribute your ideas and experience as well. Have questions? Check out our Discussion Board topic. 3D printing is a relatively new technology, and there’s a lot of learning to be done.

Design ideas

In this section, we’d like you to share ideas about designs you’ve done or would like to see. Even if you don’t have any interest in the design aspect, perhaps you have an idea you’d like to see somebody pick up and run with. We’ll start:

  1. Backs
    • Built-in belt clip or loop
    • Attachment point for camera accessories
    • Raised texture for non-slip grip
    • Winding post for headphone cable
    • Accommodation for larger batteries
  2. Mounts/holders
    • Car mount
    • Bicycle mount
    • Backpack hanger
  3. Accessories
    • Camera accessories
    • Extra SIM or MicroSD holder


The proper toolchain is critical to getting the results you want out of Computer Aided Design (CAD), in this case, of the 3D variety. Share your experiences with the various tools you’ve worked with, whether commercial, FOSS, or something else.

Typically, you will start with a 3D design program, then use a program like Slic3r to section the resulting model up for printing. For best results, consider a parametric solid modeling program. Finally, a driver program is used to do the printing or to write the files to an SD card that the printer can read.

  1. Design (TinkerCad, Sketchup, FreeCAD, OpenSCAD, Alibre Design…)
    • Phone-specific suggestions/best practices
  2. Printing Stuff
    • Slicing (Slic3r, Skeinforge)
    • Driving (Pronterface, ReplicatorG, Repetier-Host). Note that many driving programs integrate one of the available slicing programs.
    • 3rd-party services (Shapeways, Ponoko, i.materialise)


The bottom line with all this of course is to get your idea realized in glorious plastic. For this, you will either need access to a 3D printer or be willing to use a 3rd party service [link] to print your object for you.

Do you have experience with a printer, scanner, print material, or service? Add it here so we can all benefit from your insight.

We'd like to include printers that community members have experience with. If you'd like to add your experiences, please include the following information:

  • The brand/design
  • Whether the platform is Open source/DIY or proprietary
  • A brief summary of your experiences.


The good folks over at Thingiverse were quick to crank out a Lumia 820 cover using a Makerbot. The results can be found here.

Here are their recommendations:

For best results* print with the following settings in MakerBot MakerWare:
Layer Height = .2 mm
Infill = 10%
Shells = 1 total
*Files optimized for PLA.


First Finnish proprietary 3D printer manufacturer shows their 3D printed Lumia 820 cover. You can find the blog post here (written in Finnish).

Material used 1.75mm PLA translucent green. Print took 2h 20min with quite low speed settings and with 0.08mm layer height. The cover was real nut to crack for low cost 3D printers. The tricky part was to 3D print high radius shape without the support materials, but miniFactory was able to print it out with quite good results.


Typically, the current range of affordable 3D printers gives you the option of printing with either ABS or PLA, supplied as filament on spools, with a working diameter of either 3mm or 1.75mm. In this section, share your experience with these materials, or others if you printer works with them.

If you’re using your home 3D printer, PLA and ABS are acceptable materials. If you decide to outsource printing, do not be tempted by non-plastic materials! Metals are definitely off-limits, and ceramics and stone type materials won’t have the flexibility needed to survive being a phone case.

  1. PLA - This is what we’ve used here at Nokia to print the backs. It’s more brittle than ABS, but it’s cornstarch based and biodegradable. It’s harder than ABS, and more difficult to extrude, but it works at a lower temperature and doesn’t require a heated bed.
  2. ABS - Another popular choice. ABS is tough (hey, they make Lego out of it!), but requires higher temperatures from your extruder and printer bed for fabrication, and does smell a bit when printing.


If you don’t have the necessary printing or scanning hardware, there are services out there who will take your 3D models, print them on your choice of material, and ship them to you. Often, the range of materials is greater than you would have available to you with the current crop of affordable printers.(By the way, you never know where you may find a printer service – we spotted a Makerbot Replicator at Oddyssea in Half Moon Bay, California, that offered to print an object you brought in on an SD card, charging you by the gram for the plastic used. How fun is that?)

  1. Printing - An advantage of 3D printing services is the range of materials they have available to print in. Where a home printer will likely be limited to ABS, PLA, and similar materials, with printing services, you can print in ceramics, resins, ceramics, and even metals. Example suppliers include Shapeways, Ponoko, i.materialize, and Sculpteo. Again, however, we must emphasize: plastics only for phone shells!
1475 page views in the last 30 days.