Smartphone Case Configurators

3D Printed Custom iPhone Case: Where To Buy?

custom iphone case

These companies offer 3D printed custom iphone cases, and also other handsets like Samsung Galaxy and Google Nexus. Design yours today!

On the open market, there are hundreds and thousands of available cases for smartphones. Some of them immediately catch your eye, others are are more inconspicuous. But what if you wanted to protect your precious handset with something special, something… unique?

There are several services that will print an image onto the phone case – a snapshot of your loved one, of a child, a pet, anything you like. But even that doesn’t go far enough.

Thanks to 3D printing technology, you can take customization even further. A name, or a motto on the case, for example. Or a custom iPhone case with a unique pattern and color. Here are three services offering exactly that.

Scope for Design

Scope for Design lets you position text as you like
Scope for Design lets you position text as you like

Scope for Design (SfD) is new on the market. This German provider has developed a 3D configurator that allows you to customize 3D printable models in real-time. SfD already has a custom iphone case configurator, together with other brands. Plans are also in the works for configurators for other accessories like rings and lamps.

The phone case configurator is straightforward to use. First, select your phone model, then decide whether to go with a basic or organic design. “Basic” means: flat surface with perforated patterns or flat organic surface; “Organic” designs have a more uneven surface. Next you select the actual design.

The organic designs
The organic designs

If you want to, you can enter text and select a font (at the moment, there are only three fonts to choose from). This makes most sense when the surface is as plain as possible – the organic surfaces are not really suited for that as the text is placed onto the surface (the other 2 providers cut out the text you enter). Then place the text on the case surface – SfD is the only provider that allows you to freely position the text and to rotate it, if needed.

Alternatively (or in addition to text), you may add a symbol (from a huge selection) or upload an image. The configurator accepts only SVG image files (vector graphics) – in our test however, the SVG files we created in Inkscape did not come out as desired.

In addition to one of the basic designs, you can also add a clip and/or a business card holder to the case. There are various stands available in see the Add-ins tab.

Finally, you select one of 8 colors, and then enter your shipping address and payment details.

What we liked: The price is calculated based on the material printed. So the SfD configurator constantly updates the price depending on your choice. Good to have when some designs require more print material than others.

Go to Scope for Design


Details

Phones supported:
Apple iPhone 4s, 5c, 5s, 6, 6 Plus
Google Nexus 5
Samsung Galaxy S5, S6, S6 edge; Note 3
Sony Xperia Z3

Designs: 40 (but no variations)

Text: 3 fonts

Colors: 8

Special: Add-ons such as a clip or a card holder

Payment: Paypal, prepayment (only useful in Germany: after placing the order, you get your bill and transfer the money to SfD before they start printing your case)

What we like:
+ up-to-date selection of mobile phones
+ clear interface
+ nice add-ons

What we didn’t like:
– sometimes sluggish, especially with the complex organic designs
– currently only 3 fonts available

Zetoff (offers only Custom iPhone Cases)

Zetoff offers pretty cutouts, in this case using a rocket symbol from the library
Zetoff offers pretty cutouts, in this case using a rocket symbol from the library

Zetoff allows you to create a custom iPhone case and have it printed and delivered; alternatively, you can simply download the model and print it on your own device. The online application requires no modelling experience. You can select a pre-made model and go with it, or tweak it before printing. And if you want, you can start from scratch.

Zetoff works similar to the Scope for Design configurator but it’s a bit snappier. In contrast to the SfD shop, Zetoff only offers cases with plain surfaces.

The 5 designs (apart from the clean one) are only available for custom iphone cases
The 5 designs (apart from the clean one) are only available for custom iphone cases

First, you select your phone – which is easy as there are only 3 iPhone models available at the moment. Then you select one of the premade designs – we recommend to start with the blank slate as it is straightforward to customize step by step.

Next, you select the color and then pick a pattern (i. e., a pattern of holes) and use the settings to tweak the pattern to your liking. If you want to, add a logo or image – there are a few shapes in the library; alternatively, you may use your own image. The image has to be in the SVG file format.

When we tested the configurator, several SVG files created in Inkscape did not work. In the next step, add text and format it. Hint: Normally, the model is constantly rotating which we found annoying because it’s hard to read the text. You can stop that by clicking on the model.

Then proceed to the checkout. Only after entering your address, the correct price is displayed. But because the price is not calculated based on the amount of print material needed, the case will always cost $20 plus shipping.

Warning: The larger the cutouts, the less stable your case will be.

However, there is one thing you should know before heading over to Zetoff. The company *always* prints its company logo on the smaller side of the case. We couldn’t find a way to remove it.

Go to Zetoff

Details

Phones supported: iPhone 5/5s, 6 and 6 Plus

Designs: Only 6 but almost infinite variations

Text: 6 fonts

Colors: 9 (only 2 for the iPhone 6 Plus)

Special: n/a

Payment: Credit card

What we like:
+ fast
+ almost infinite variations of patterns and shapes
+ every case costs $20 (plus shipping)

What we didn’t like:
– limited choice of phones supported (Apple only)
– Zetoff name on the case

3dpcase on Sculpteo

Nice idea: Have 2 profiles facing each other cut out from the case
Nice idea: Have 2 profiles facing each other cut out from the case

The 3dpcase shop on Sculpteo has a huge selection of phone cases, which can be customized by adding text or symbols/logos. To create a custom iPhone case (or other handset), select the Case builder; to select a case, go to the Gallery.

Select a plain color or a textured background for the case
Select a plain color or a textured background for the case

In the Case builder, first select your phone; there are various iPhone and Samsung Galaxy models, but no iPhone 6 or newer Samsung phones. Then pick one of 13 customizable models and follow the steps the individual designer provided for tweaking the model. Next, enter text (if possible), select the color, in some cases an image or textured background, and proceed to the checkout.

There are 3 models based on the same intriguing idea. You upload the profile photos of 2 people; these profiles will be placed face to face on the case, and the profiles will be cut out. The simple version is Shadow Profile; the other ones are Comics (you may add some text between the 2 shadow profiles) and Free-Hand (you can add hands to the profiles). Another model that uses cutouts is Curves.

Go to 3dpcase

Details

Phones supported:
Apple iPhone 3G, 4/4s, 5c, 5/5s
Samsung Galaxy SII, SIII, SIII mini, ACE, Note II

Designs: 13 customizable designs, plus a few hundred designs that allow only limited tweaking (e.g. text)

Text:
Not possible on all designs
No font choice

Colors: 10

Special: Mobile app for designing a case on an iOS device

Payment: Paypal, credit card (secure payment by Paybox), prepaid coupons

What we like:
+ some really original designs
+ huge selection of premade designs in the Gallery

What we didn’t like:
no support for the latest phone models
– not all case designs allowed customization (e. g., adding text)
– no font choice


New: Shapeways CustomMaker (but outside the competition)

Note: This is not a phone case configurator. It is a Shapeways service that allows you to customize and personalize objects printed through Shapeways. This way, you can upload a phone case model you created (or downloaded from Thingiverse or any other source) or use a phone case from the Shapeways shop and add text or an image.

Shapeways CustomMaker
Shapeways CustomMaker

The process is straightforward:

1. You start by uploading a model of your own or by choosing a model from Shapeways (this only works when the creator of the model from Shapeways allows personalizing the model through CustomMaker – right now, only very few do).

2. Next, open the Details page and select CustomMaker (Pilot) under Customization.

3. Add text and/or an image, place it and decide whether it will be embossed or engraved.

4. Click Preview Settings to apply the text/image to your model.

5. Save changes and procede with the ordering process.

There is an indepth description of the CustomMaker service on Shapeways.