Photocentric 3D printing technology used by Phone Skope to produce smartphone camera adaptors

Digiscoping company Phone Skope is using Photocentric’s LC Magna 3D printing technology to produce digiscoping adaptors for smartphones.

These adaptors are engineered for use on almost any smartphone and enable their cameras to capture 'enhanced images and video' through scopes for birding, wildlife, microbiology and astrology applications.

Phone Skope has turned to 3D printing because of the frequency in which new smartphone products are launched to market. Working with Merit3D, a manufacturing service provider, eight LC Magna systems, an Air Wash L, Cure L1, Cure L2 and Daylight Magna Duramax resin have been leveraged to produce the adaptors without the cost and time implications of moulding.

“Phone Skope’s manufacturing was challenged by the fast-moving nature of the market, requiring its products to be compatible with a huge number of new phone models released every year,” commented Photocentric Sales Director Sally Tipping. “In order to create a compatible digiscoping adaptor for a particular phone model, a mould would have to be created for each new case, and there was always a chance that the phone itself may not a commercial success. This meant that Phone Skope had to choose between which models to support and create moulds for in order to maintain viability. 3D printing was an excellent solution to this problem, giving Phone Skope the flexibility to bring a greater variety of adaptors to market at speed without the cost implications of creating additional moulds. Phone Skope products are renowned around the world for their precision and durability, and so it was also vital that these characteristics were retained without compromise.”

The Phone Skope design is made up of an interchangeable two-part system that works with most smartphone and optics combinations. With minimal design tweaks to the 3D model, a new adaptor case can be 3D printed at a large scale, reducing upfront costs and increasing productivity when compared with traditional techniques.

It is said that up to 52 cases can be produced on a single Magna platform and orders can be completed within one to two days. Thousands of dollars are thought to have been saved on creating a moulding and the time to create a new model design has been reduced from one to two months to two weeks. A previous minimum order quantity of 2,000 units have also now been removed.

“The speed and agility of additive manufacturing has given us the ability to expand coverage for more phones giving us a larger market to pursue,” offered Phone Skope Operations Manager Jason Bairett.


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