Sculpteo 3D Printing Engine iPhone Case review

NFC iPhone Gear iPhone Apps iPhone

Shark Tank is my new favorite show. It continues to entertain and surprise me and last week was particularly interesting because, this time, everyone who came on the show actually seemed to WANT a deal. (Shocking but true… some don’t really seem that interested.) One “contestant” who stepped into the tank but didn’t get a deal was a young entrepreneur who is building his business of unique, customizable clothing. I have to admit I am a big fan of items you can design and personalize so I was sad to see him not get a deal. That’s why I love the Bodyguardz iPhone case we posted on last week. And it is why I love the products coming from Sculpteo. We met with Sculpteo at CES last January and were impressed.

Now they have been kind enough to let us create our own unique iPhone case. Let’s take a look at the process- and the case.

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The iOS app is a free download from the iTunes App Store. When you first fire it up you will be asked for your email address. You don’t have to put one in but be aware that, if you do not, you will not be able to place an order. On the other hand, being able to NOT put an email in means you can browse the “store” anonymously.

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The iOS app offers some rather fun items. There is, for example, this personal mug that is created from a profile snapshot of you or the person to whom you are giving the mug. (This **coughcough** is not something I would personally have any interest in.)

You can also make a vase that uses your profile. It certainly is a bit more abstract but I still don’t need to be reminded of my profile. No way. No how!

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There are a growing number of items you can customize and order and it is worth checking out the app for that reason alone. I, of course, was drawn to the iPhone cases. They offer two different styles. This is the one I did not order.

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It has a slot for a mobile payment card. I don’t have one and don’t see NFC being a bit deal for me until the iPhone 5 comes out. I opted for the second style.

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That’s it in the upper left corner. It is made of white or black plastic and you can enter your own personal text that makes the case yours and yours alone.

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Being the amazingly creative fellow I am I put in the site’s name and URL. I know, I know… CRAZY! right!?!

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Since my iPhone 4S is black that is what I opted for. Maybe I should have gone with white but…

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Look how stealthy this black case looks in the computer rendering!

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And look how crisp and clean the Gear Diary URL looks!

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And how clean the mesh design appears in the computer rendering. Which left me wondering just how crisp and clean the actually iPhone case would be. This was particularly the case because the mesh design of the case is rather intricate.

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Well, it actually looks pretty good! No, the actual case is not quite as sharp as the computer rendering. Still, the design is rather complex and I was amazed to find that the overlapping crisscross pattern is actually two separate layers. That means the laser did some amazingly precise work when cutting this case out of a solid block of plastic.

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The case takes my favorite minimalist design to new customized heights. Yes, this design means you won’t get any “lay-on-the-table” protection but there is a simple solution for that- DON’T place your iPhone face-down on the table!

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Here’s a closer look at the crisscross pattern I mentioned previously.

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And here is a side shot.

In all this case is a great conversation starter. No, the personalized laser etching is not quite as sharp as I hoped. And the plastic of the case does have a soft, almost “dusted” feel to it. (Elana liked it, I’m rather mixed since I tend to prefer something a bit smoother and glossier.) But let there be no doubt- this is a nice case that is anything but common-place and the customization makes it even more fun!

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And Sculpteo even threw in this cute little alien that was created using the same technology!

Sculpteo is really a full-service 3D Printing service and it is worth checking out their entire website. (You can find it here.) You can find the iOS app here in the iTunes App Store if you want to create your own iPhone case.

MSRP: $46.21 and up

What I Like: Unusual; Unique; Minimalist design; Gets attention

What Needs Improvement: The jury is still out for me on the soft-touch material; Minimalist design means it protest from scratches but not much else.

About the Author

Dan Cohen
Having a father who was heavily involved in early laser and fiber-optical research, Dan grew up surrounded by technology and gadgets. Dan’s father brought home one of the very first video games when he was young and Dan remembers seeing a “pre-release” touchtone phone. (When he asked his father what the “#” and “*” buttons were his dad said, “Some day, far in the future, we’ll have some use for them.”) Technology seemed to be in Dan’s blood but at some point he took a different path and ended up in the clergy. His passion for technology and gadgets never left him.

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