There is awesome artistic potential in the future of 3D printing digital models, but with the price points of 3D printers where they are at the moment, you may not have the money in your budget to bring the needed hardware into your home as a hobbyist. Luckily, some small businesses are rising to the occasion, offering custom 3D printing services for those who want unique sculptures today.
Zero Point 3D is one such business carving out a niche at geeky conventions. They offer to scan cosplayers (here are 8 awesome Tumblr blogs you should follow if you are a cosplayer) into their system as digital models that they can then print in a variety of sizes. Their booth at Wizard World Comic Con in St. Louis, Missouri played host to a parade of anime, comic, and video game characters at every hour of the day, all waiting for the opportunity to have their hard work preserved in sculpture form.
Zero Point’s Justin Cooper took a little extra time out from the constant march of heroes and villains to fill me in on how their system works. Read on to learn more about how you could be immortalized as a statue at your next convention!
Zero Point 3D ships the figures from their home state of Florida 3-4 weeks after they collect your data, so there’s no way to get your figure the same day as you’re scanned. They did, however, have a variety of finished figures on site so potential buyers could get an idea of the look, feel, and quality. The final product is lightweight, and has a somewhat fine, sandy feel to the touch. A base is affixed to the figure’s feet, so it will stand unassisted wherever you place it. The colors are vivid, and the level of detail, particularly on the larger figures, is impressive. Though the figures were sturdy enough to be handled throughout the day by passersby, Zero Point 3D does advise that you treat yours as art for display. Place it in the hands of children (or even some adults) at your own risk.
The actual body scan only takes about sixty seconds. You’ll stand as still as you can on a rotating platform as the 3D camera slowly climbs, taking measurements of depth and color from toe to head. Mind your level of comfort and flexibility when you choose a pose. Your best bet is probably something that keeps your stance wide for extra stability on the rotating surface.
You’ll be able to see the textured sculpt right at the booth on their monitor, but you’ll also receive a link by email later to view it again from home, right in your browser. Check out the stills of my 3D model above. If you get your own scan done, you’ll be able to zoom in and out as it slowly rotates on your screen.
The Price Point
Zero Point’s prices are well in line with what you likely expect if you’ve ever bought custom made collectibles before. The 2.5-inch micro-sized model is just a little taller than a standard 30 millimeter scale gaming miniature, and starts at $50. Every inch you add – up to the $200 action-figure-sized 5.5-inch statue – is $50 more, so you’ll have a fair amount of flexibility in finding a model priced to fit your budget. Note that that price point does include shipping throughout the United States, so you won’t be paying an extra hidden fee later.
Capturing your favorite cosplay outfit is just one way you could take advantage of the body scan and 3D printing combo. Imagine getting 3D models of your kids to put on a grandparent’s fireplace mantle or your own desk. A game of chess could get a bit more personal if you and your opponent replace the king piece with tiny versions of yourselves. You could even have wedding cake toppers that look exactly like you and your partner. As scanning and 3D printing technology continues to get more affordable, you can look forward to even more experiments with it as an emerging artistic frontier
Think you’re ready to get your own 3D printer after all? We can point you toward some affordable options.
Have you already tried something artistic with 3D printing? Let our community know how you’re using it in the comments!