3D Central's Go Case (Photo courtesy 3D Central)
There’s no denying Pokémon GO fever has hit Richmond. You can’t travel to any park or green space (or just about anywhere else) without seeing someone trying to catch 'em all. Hoping to capitalize on the craze, local company 3D Central has created a Pokémon GO-friendly smartphone case utilizing 3-D printing technology. Called the Go Case, it will not only assist you in catching them all, but can be used to play all of your other smartphone games as well.
3D Central co-owner Chris Caswell came up with the idea two weeks ago while his brother was in town for a visit. The Go Case bears a resemblance to the famous Pokémon Pokédex — essentially a digital encyclopedia of Pokémon creatures used by Pokémon Trainers within the game universe — but 3D Central’s creation also adds ease and comfort to gaming. Co-owner Ian Sole says, “It’s a device that helps people play these games … it’s really quite amazing, but that’s what 3-D printing is all about. We’re excited to be able to release this to the public.”
The company posted a video on social media last weekend of the prototype version of their new case in action. Six million Facebook views later, Sole says, “We’ve had an unbelievable response … the phone is ringing off the hook.”
And the case isn't even available for purchase until later today.
3D Central will begin selling a beta version of their Go Case today at 4 p.m. It features a built-in aimer, which acts as a guide to assist in catching those Pokémon, and a magnetic closure to keep your phone safe. The cost is $45 to $55, depending on your phone model. The case can be purchased beginning at 4 p.m. at squareup.com/store/3DCentralVA or at the 3D Central store at 1308 W. Main St. Caswell says the shop can also create custom cases, especially if customers have a phone that does not fit the cases currently available. Expect to see updated versions of the case as the company works to improve on it and as they receive feedback from customers. A benefit of 3-D printing: They can easily modify the design for future versions.
In addition to offering the Go Case for sale, 3D Central also supports open-source product designs, sharing 3-D printing designs online that can be downloaded and modified. They will be releasing a version of the 3-D printed case design online for those with access to a 3-D printer to print themselves. In fact, the original blueprint design for the Go Case was based on a design from the website Thingiverse (an online community for creating and sharing 3-D printable designs) created by Chris Intravaia. 3D Central Production Manager Andrew Sink discusses the case's origin in a YouTube video, as well as how the case works and details on the version to be available for download through open-source channels.
Given the online response to the Go Case, it's clear that the Pokémon-crazed in Richmond and beyond will be excited to get their hands on one when they hit shelves this afternoon.