“The moment you pick it up, life becomes art.” With this sentence Panasonic perfectly describes the concept of its Lumix GM1: extremely compact, amazing performance, wonderful style. Add some 3D printing, and it gets even better.

Like any other art form, photography is a way to express yourself. Imagine not only doing so through the pictures you take, but also through the device you take them with. This idea triggered Panasonic to explore 3D printing as a way to personalize its products. The result is the first range of custom covers for the LUMIX GM1 compact camera.

“The idea of using 3D Printing in customization of Lumix digital still cameras is something we’ve been watching closely,” says Sebastian Drawert, Marketing Manager at Panasonic. “It takes know-how and expertise to make it work, but the series we presented at Photokina really evoked the craving we had in mind.”

Materialise cooperated with design studio WertelOberfell, who already worked with Materialise for the .MGX collection and have a special interest in design for 3D Printing. Together with Panasonic they looked for a theme that could inspire the designs and arrived at "design epochs".


Jan Wertel explains:
“We looked at Art Nouveau, Modernism and Digitalism and we wanted to push the technological boundaries of 3D Printing in terms of intricate details and material thicknesses — or rather thinness. Together with the engineers from Materialise, we realized very fine yet strong structures with different kinds of finishes.”


High-resolution stereolithography

To build the covers with the highest levels of details and accuracy, Materialise made use of its dedicated high-resolution stereolithography machines. Thanks to beam diameters being adjustable during the build process – switching between standard and high-resolution printing – a perfect speed-quality balance can be reached.


A perfect finish

After printing, one design was painted in a fine-texture paint with satin finish, the other two were metal plated in glossy copper and technical nickel.

Jurgen Laudus, director of The Factory for 3D Printing at Materialise: “3D Printing has introduced a new way of thinking about design and manufacturing. It’s been exciting to work with Panasonic and WertelOberfell to fully explore the freedom of design and the benefit of cost-effective small series production. It clearly turned out to be the ideal technology for the custom LUMIX parts we’ve created.”