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Nokia Lumia 820 owners can now print their own cases

Nokia has released the design files for its Lumia 820 Windows Phone 8 smartphone casing, becoming the first manufacturer to officially support third party 3D printing of accessories and cases.

Nokia phones have often launched with user-replaceable plastic covers which clip onto the main body of the phone, allowing owners to customise their devices with a range of colours and styles. These add-ons are typically restricted to an official range from Nokia plus a selection of reverse-engineered versions available from third-party sellers - but Nokia's newest move may make them available to all.

Nokia has released 3D design files for the back cover of the Lumia 820, its mid-range Windows Phone 8 handset, free of charge for all to download and use. Coupled with a 3D printer, CNC milling machine or other production system, the files allow anyone to create their own back cover in a variety of colours - and with the cost of 3D printers dropping ever closer to that of 2D printers, and high-street stores looking to install the devices as the 21st century equivalent of photocopying shops, we really do mean anyone.

Besides customising the colour of the shell, the files can also be modified to allow new functions including the integration of a belt clip, a winding post for the headphone cable, mounts for easy attachment in a car or on a bicycle, or a way to easily attach lenses or filters to the on-board camera.

The files, available in two common 3D modelling formats compatible with 3D printing software, are licensed under the Creative Commons Share Alike licence - meaning that it's possible to modify the files and sell the resultant product, but only if you make your modifications free for others to modify as well. The only other restriction is the requirement to register as a Nokia Developer to download the files - a process which is free.

The files can be found on the Nokia website, but thus far the company is silent on whether it will be releasing similar files for its flagship Lumia 920 smartphone.

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