Karly Gaffney is a Manager on the Content and Community team at Social Media Group. Follow @_topshelf
I hadn’t paid much attention to 3D printing until the productions started applying to me and I could see the uses making sense in real-world situations. With each new article I read, my reactions have gone from “that’s neat” to “holy crap, they can do that?” Today, I’d love to get my hands on one.
For the benefit of any readers who aren’t entirely familiar with 3D printing, here’s a quick overview: A 3D printer produces three dimensional solid objects from a digital model through what’s called ‘additive processes’ which essentially means the printer is laying down successive layers of material to create the final product.
As I dug deeper, I was surprised to learn that 3D printing has been around since the 1980s, but early examples were large, expensive and had many limitations. Fast forward thirty years, today we’re seeing 3D printed guitars, ultrasounds and the ability to turn yourself into an action figure via 3D printing. The projects I love the most are the ones that both provide a service while making the technology relatable and accessible.
Companies like the two I’ve highlighted below have taken 3D printing from an obscure technology and turned it into an affordable offering that consumers can relate to (and want to have in their home.)
3D Printing Photo Booth
The 3D Photo Booth was produced by the team at PARTY (Tokyo) and essentially it was this very cool pop-up store that allows people to be mapped in HD 3D and then printed out as little mini-me versions (between 10cm and 20cm tall) in full colour creating a semi-realistic 3D printed version of yourself to take home.
The great thing about this concept is that the consumer only pays $250 for the service, which is really reasonable considering what you’re getting. If I had access to something like this I’d want to use a memorable travel photo like standing on top of Machu Picchu or summiting Kilimanjaro (neither of which I’ve done, but they’re on the list)
Now this beats the heck out of hanging a drawing on the fridge for a few weeks until it loses its luster. The brains behind Crayon Creatures is Spanish designer Bernat Cuni, who is offering a service that takes your child’s drawings and transforms them into a digital model that can be 3D printed in full colour sandstone material. Below is an example of one of his prints (I’m already plotting the theft of my nephew’s drawings the next time we visit.)
Would you get a family photo 3D-printed for your home or invest in a 3D-print of your child’s drawing? Have you seen any other cool 3D-printing concepts that made you stop and consider trying it out yourself?