The same day I purchased my very first iPhone several years ago, I also bought a light purple OtterBox case for it, having been told by all of my other iPhone-toting friends that it was the best protective phone case around…and they were right. The Colorado-based company is the #1 supplier of smartphone cases in the US, and has been using 3D printing technology for over a decade; its most recent acquisition was a Stratasys J750. The company also uses the technology to make its uniVERSE Case System, which has a slim OtterBox protective case for an iPhone and and iPad with a modular rail mount on the back – this mount allows for a variety of accessories to be attached. Today, OtterBox released the CAD for the uniVERSE case accessory mount, so that makers and 3D printing enthusiasts around the world will be able to design and 3D print their own smartphone accessory attachments.

Kristen Tatti, the OtterBox Communications Manager, told 3DPrint.com, “OtterBox initially launched the uniVERSE Case System to deal with an issue we heard over and over from customers: ‘I love my OtterBox, but I have to take it off to use ‘X’ accessory.’ We wanted to create a customizable mobile experience that was seamless and truly let users unleash the power of their smartphone. Rather than trying to make accessories, we decided to partner with other best-in-class brands to create the ecosystem.”

“We soon realized that possibilities were truly endless. It was impossible for us to even imagine managing the number of amazing ideas and use cases there are for this system. We want people to make the most of uniVERSE and the only way to do that is to get the innovative design community involved. We are so excited to see what everyone comes up with.”

We’ve seen 3D printing used to make smartphone stands and attachments before, but thanks to this release, the sky is the limit for the creative community of makers. Simply choose a uniVERSE case, then download one of the many ZIP files that contain the necessary CAD design and information to design your own accessory. Design your uniVERSE accessory, then print it out and put it to good use.

“One of the core values at OtterBox is innovation, which is why we created the uniVERSE Case System. We’re inviting the community of innovators around the world to customize their mobile experience by designing their own accessories,” said Jim Parke, the CEO of OtterBox.

There are all sorts of interesting uniVERSE accessory designs available, from a bottle opener and a money clip to a simple iPhone stand, a suction cup holder, and even a belt holster; check out the rest of the designs and download the accessory mount CAD here.

OtterBox has a history of partnering with some of the top accessory brands, like SanDisk, mophie, and Brydge, to create the best uniVERSE accessories. Now, the company is partnering with the global 3D Hubs network, which has access to over 6,500 3D printers worldwide and offers a quick turnaround and competitive pricing.

Bram de Zwart, CEO of 3D Hubs, said, “We’re excited to partner with a company like OtterBox that understands the potential of mass-customization and has taken full-advantage of our publicly available supply chain API – a tool which connects companies to our distributed manufacturing network and allows them to create digital supply chains of 3D printed products.”

OtterBox is also hosting designs for the uniVERSE accessory mount on YouMagine, and will be showcasing the case system at the World Maker Faire in New York next month. Event attendees will get the chance to design and print their own uniVERSE accessories onsite, using a LulzBot TAZ 6 3D printer from Aleph Objects.

“We are thrilled to be collaborating with OtterBox. OtterBox is demonstrating exemplary vision by releasing their uniVERSE accessory mount CAD under Free licensing, and we are excited to help bring their community’s ideas into reality with LulzBot 3D Printers at World Maker Faire,” said Ben Malouf, Director of Marketing for Aleph Objects.

Discuss in the OtterBox forum at 3DPB.com.

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