The 3D figurine market has grown rapidly over the last year and is expected to continue as full body 3D scanners become more portable, 3D printed figurines become cheaper and end consumers become more familiar with the technology. There has never been a better time to start a 3D figurine business. In this post we are going to go over the 3 major parts of every 3D printed figurine business. They are the:
- Full body 3D scanner
- 3D digital retouching
- Full color 3D printer
Full Body 3D Scanner
The full body 3D scanner is what captures the photo data of your customer before it is turned into a 3D model. There are many types of 3D scanners on the market, but not all of them are well suited for 3D portrait businesses. When you're looking for suitable full body 3D scanners for your 3D portrait business you want to target ones that are: instaneous, consistent and portable. Hybrid full body 3D scanners (combination of photogrammetry and structured light) are usually the best options. DSLR photogrammetry systems usually require too much calibration to get consistent results and handheld 3D scanners require too much time spent digitally post processing the files.
3D Digital Retouching
Once a 3D scan is taken on a full body 3D scanner the data needs to be sent to a 3D artist to be retouched. Unlike taking a picture on a regular digital camera and printing it out a 2D photo printer, all 3D scans require manual 3D digital modeling work before they can printed on a full color 3D printer. 3D scanning is still an imperfect technology and isn't capable of capturing the contours all 3D surfaces with 100% accuracy. For example, shiny objects are very difficult to 3D scan since they look different from different perspectives. To fix problems created from the 3D scanning process, 3D artists will use programs like Zbrush, Autodesk Maya, and 3DS Max to correct geometry and fill in missing texture. The amount of digital retouching needed for a 3D scan can vary widely, but you should expect to spend a minimum of 30 minutes and in some cases up to 8 hours depening on the quality of the scan data and the level of accuarcy needed for the final 3D print. If your using Twindom for fulfillment this is automatically done for you on every single 3D print.
Full Color 3D Printer
Once the 3D model has been fixed by a 3D artist it is ready to be 3D printed on a full color 3D printer. While there are multiple full color 3D printers on the market, there is only 1 type of full color 3D printer available that is suitable for printing 3D printed figurines: Projet 660 manufactured by 3D Systems. You can read more about the process for making the figurines on the Projet 660 here. Due to the time and capital investments involved in becomming proficient with the Projet 660, most 3D printed figurine companies outsource this part of the business and have the prints shipped back to them in bulk or white label shipped to the end customer. For all Twinstant customers we offer direct shipping of 3D printed figurines to customers at prices that are up to 75% cheaper than other 3D printing companies.
As you can see there are a lot of moving parts to operating a 3D printed figurine business. At Twindom we try to make starting and operating a 3D printed figurine business as easy as possible for our customers. With the Twinstant Mobile full body 3D scanner and Twindom Cloud Platform, our goal is to make it so customers spend none of there time digitally processing 3D models or worrying about how they are going to 3D print customer orders. Instead they get to spend more time figuring out how they are going to grow their business.