Whether you think of them as dolls or action figures, the figurine business is worth billions of dollars. Now with the advent of 3D printing, that business is about to get personal.
3D Systems has formally released 3DMe on Cubify.com, customizable full color 3D printed figurines featuring a photo-realistic head that can be applied to the ceramic-like body of a costumed superhero, an athlete, bride, groom or just the honoree of a particular event. The figurine's faces are derived from two photos of a real person.
Each figurine is printed on a 3D Systems ZPrinter® 650, for $64.99. Once printed, 3D Systems will mail the personalized figurine to the customer.
Personalized figurines will most likely be used to commemorate a specific event, ranging from championship Little League games to retirement parties. The degree to which people will treasure these mementoes will, of course, vary widely. But in an age where every little milestone is celebrated with glee, chances are good that a lot of people will see these figurines as an opportunity to make a personal statement.
Figurines may not be the most advanced use of a 3D printer to come down the block, but it is a great way to introduce the general public to the potential of 3D printers. It probably won’t be long before children are printing entire armies of toy soldiers that have been customized to their exact specifications.