With all the rumors swirling around about the newest iPhones to hit store shelves, you can bet that our team has been busy planning for what’s next. In fact, like any other company in the industry, we’re always a few steps ahead of the consumer calendar. What does that mean, exactly? For our team, it means that when the newest smartphone drops, our goal is to have our phone cases in stock and ready to ship as close to the phone’s release date as possible, so your phone stays protected.
A lot has to happen behind the scenes in order to keep our product development and production process on schedule. As we rev up for the iPhone 12 lineup, we wanted to give our customers a sneak peek into our R&D process.
Have you ever thought about how some of your favorite Rokform products are made? What better way to show you than to give you access to one piece of our development process – 3D printed pieces that work with your Rokform case!
3D print a kickstand for your Rokform case [Free File!]
When it comes to 3D printing, one of the key components is the STL file, which is the most common file format for 3D printing. We’re giving away the STL files for a phone stand that you can 3D-print and use with any Rokform twist-lock phone case. The STL files will work with any 3D printer, so you can print your very own Rokform phone stand from your own home or office. If neither of those is an option, we recommend looking up your closest makerspace, which is another great option for easy printing!
File 1 is for the stand's twist-lock face. File 2 is for the arm of the stand. Once you've printed both pieces, the two parts snap together and are ready to be secured onto your Rokform case. The kickstand is designed to lock into Rokform cases that have RokLock built-in, including Rugged, Fuzion Pro, and Crystal cases. Check out the gallery below for a closer look at how the kickstand will look on your phone!Please note: this 3D kickstand is not for sale, nor will it be in the future – we’re just
offering the STL file to show a piece of our development process to our customers.
Rokform’s typical development process
In case you’re wondering how a 3D printer fits into our product development process, it’s simple: we use our 3D printer in the middle of our planning process to test out our prototypes. Before we send any components over for machine tooling, we will 3D print the parts and test them out. Production tooling happens only after our engineers and designers have had a chance to test the parts from our 3D printer.
Rokform has its own 3D printer at the office (more details on the printer in the next section). During the initial stages of product development, our team puts ideas down on paper. We use this time to talk through key product aspects like ideal functionality, features, materials, etcetera.
Once we have a better idea of the product specifications, our mechanical engineers draft the initial product design using a software program that creates a 3D render. The purpose of this initial file is to make sure it is functional. If everything looks good, our team moves to the next stage.
In this next stage, our product engineers refine the design. Which parts of the design get refined here will depend heavily on the product itself. For the kickstand that we’re sharing here, our product engineers went in and adjusted the shape of the stand and added the Rokform logo you can see in the photos.
Once the development team is happy with this 3D-printed version, we’re ready for tooling, the point in the production process where we get all the manufacturing components that we’ll need for production (think molds, patterns, etc.).
Here's what the Solidworks 3D render for the Rokform kickstand looks like before printing.
Photos from the Markforged 3D printer at Rokform headquarters.
Photos from the Markforged 3D printer we use during development process.
Images taken during 3D printing of the Rokform kickstand
Markforged: our go-to 3D printer
At Rokform HQ, we have a Markforged 3D printer on standby and ready to use. It’s super useful to have it handy whenever we’re in the prototyping and design phase. When you consider how often new smartphones are released, it’s clear we’re making good use out of it.
We recently spoke to David, a representative from Advanced World Products, who was able to explain why Markforged stands out amongst other 3D printers:
“Markforged is unlike any other 3D printer on the market as it is affordable and produces accurate, strong, beautiful matte black finished parts with no post processing. Add continuous Carbon Fiber to your print and Markforged parts are stronger than 6061-T6 Aluminum.”
- David, Advanced World Products
When it comes to 3D printers, Rokform always partners with Advanced World Products (AWP). If you’re thinking about or planning on buying a 3D printer, we can recommend them hands down. You can even get a sample of the stand using one of AWP’s 3D printers.
Visit AWP’s website to get a free part sample and see the quality of their 3D prints for yourself.
Share your 3D-printed kickstand with us
Once you’ve 3D printed your Rokform kickstand, we’d love to see it! Please share it with us here, tag us on social (@Rokform), or email us with the photo, firstname.lastname@example.org. We hope you enjoy the stand, and that this post offered an insightful glimpse into our production process.
We love seeing how your kickstand turned out! Be sure to share on social media and tag @rokform!
Thank you to Chris for sending us some of his pictures!