EINDHOVEN, The Netherlands — Shapeways, a company from the Netherlands, found a way to marry cutting edge 3D printing with a service that appeals to your ego. You can visit one of their locations in the country and pose for your own “3D selfie.”
Strike a pose and hold it for 2 minutes. The scanner will move around you, capturing your image as a 3D digital file. The file will be automatically uploaded to Shapeways, and you’ll get an email with a link to purchase. You can select from a variety of materials, including Full Color Sandstone, which captures color and details really well. You can also get a 3D Selfie in Steel, Brass, or even Silver and Gold!
We admit that the concept is a little hammy, but it’s fun! We’re just a little let down that this is currently only a pilot project in the Netherlands. The company may expand soon, but for now they’re limited to just 12 locations.
We’re particularly interested in the scale of the process. When we started writing about 3D printers a few years ago they weren’t scanning anything larger than an object that could fit inside a microwave. Here, we have a company who feels comfortable enough to attempt large scale scanning as a business for the public at large.
Shapeways also offers another service that isn’t as techy, while still serving your ego. They’ll shape a photograph into celadon, creating everything from relief tiles to coffee mugs. The reliefs may be a little too exact. Too much of the picture translates into the material, making the finished product feel uncanny rather than artful. This is strange because Shapeways’ 3D miniatures succeed in the same way that the reliefs fail. Some abstraction would have been a good idea, but the company mentions that users can change the image with a customization tool, so maybe someone with an eye for design would find ways to make it work.
Do you love or loathe this use of contemporary ceramics technology? Let us know in the comments.