Nokia are possibly the first mobile phone company to release designs for a 3D printing the shell for a mobile phone. In this case it's the Nokia Lumina 820 which has a user removable back. Hopefully other models might follow, and other manufacturers might follow suit!
This is a first step forwards by Nokia, it's long been possible to 3D print covers for phones and indeed there are many designs for a whole range of phones available on sharing sites such as Thingiverse. But this is the first time I have come across actually printing the back case/shell of the phone. And to be fully supported by Nokia themselves is really forward looking. We keep hearing how 3D printing is “the next big thing” and “on the brink of making in the consumer market” and perhaps this is an indication that at least one company is taking this seriously.
The 3D files provided are in .stl and .stp format so should be easily modified to your own custom design with a suitable CAD program. (Unfortunately you will need to have a Nokia ID and be registered with Nokia Developer to download these files). Having these files available means that a lot of guesswork, careful measuring and “reverse engineering” the original case/shell design isn't necessary and a lot of frustration from designing a case that when printed doesn't quite fit will hopefully be avoided. The files can be accessed here http://www.developer.nokia.com/Community/Wiki/3D_print_a_shell_for_your_Nokia_Phone
So if you have a Nokia Lumina here are a few suggestions from the Nokia 3D printing wiki that you could try….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, Mounts/holders, Car mount, Bicycle mount, Backpack hanger, Accessories, Camera accessories, Extra SIM or MicroSD holder.
And of course this sort of design task is one that will really catch the attention of students as well as challenge their skills!…
Just a pity I don't have a Nokia Lumina !