The 3D selfie craze died down ad clients grew bored of the limited possibilities in terms of durability and resolution of gypsum 3D printed characters. Now that Stratasys’ full-color 3D printing technology is becoming more affordable, with the new J55 range of systems, a new phase may be starting. That’s the case for Selfi3D, a 3D print and 3D selfie shop from Spain.
“This 3D printer gives us a level of reliability and repeatability throughout the printing process, with color and detail as accurate and consistent as the original 3D CAD model,” said Jorge Martín García, from Selfi3D.
The Spanish photo-sculpture producer and service bureau, Selfi3D, purchased Stratasys’ new J55 3D Printer in order to take the realism of its personalized figurines to the next level. The company provides lifelike 3D printed models of customers using original 2D photos, with full-color, ultra-realistic 3D printing critical to its service-offering and overall growth as a business.
Selfi3D has tried several full-color additive manufacturing technologies in the past to drive its ‘photo-to-3D-print’ business model, always through service bureaus. However, according to Selfi3D Director, Jorge Martín García, model realism and material stability have always come up short – a key factor that drove the investment in the J55 from Stratasys’ local partner, Pixel Sistemas.
“We decided that the time was right for us to produce our models in-house – García said. Previously, we were using powder-based SLS color 3D printing, but the fragility of the material made it very difficult to produce and shape each piece. We would also often have to repaint elements of the figurines by hand, otherwise, some of the most intricate details would be lost. We also tried binder jetting technology, but the colors are not vivid enough, and the powder-based materials give the final model a certain porosity that makes it almost impossible to get very small details, such as the eyes, accurately defined.
“Having tested the J55, it was a clear upgrade in terms of the level of detail, color and material realism,” he continues. “The 3D printer also gives us a level of reliability and repeatability throughout the printing process, with color and detail as accurate and consistent as the original 3D CAD model. This is something we consider essential if we’re to have a longstanding successful business and the reason why it was an easy decision to invest.”
The J55 will play a pivotal role in its new business offering, BeHero. For a while, the company had seen a weak spot in photo-sculpture businesses – the surprise factor. When someone goes to a store to be 3D scanned, it is quite clear that someone is making them a gift. As a result, Selfi3D and its partner developed a proprietary software enabling the team to create a 3D head from a single photograph.
“To be able to 3D print a model of someone’s head – the most identifying feature of a person – without them knowing was a giant step forward for our business in getting back the surprise factor,” explains Mr Martín. “At that stage, we then needed to find a way to 3D print the body, so we came up with a new idea. What if instead of your body, we put the body of your favourite fictional character? Or profession? Or hobby? Or partner? Despite being a completely new offering in our line of work, it also enables us to re-use each body that we design. We were taken aback by the interest and have since shifted our core product from Selfi3D to BeHero.”
With the J55 spearheading its new business offering, Selfi3D is excited about what the future holds. “We firmly believe that having this technology at our disposal, with the increased quality of our models, will enable us to further develop our BeHero product and reach new customers all over the world – both public and corporate,” concludes Mr Martín.
Launched in April, the J55 3D Printer is an office-friendly full color, multi-material 3D printer enabling the rapid production of ultra-realistic prototypes. Featuring a first-of-its-kind rotational printing technique, the system combines high productivity with extreme accuracy. The J55 can print up to five materials simultaneously in nearly 500,000 colors with PANTONE Validation, realistic textures, and transparency. Stratasys is also adding support for 3MF color workflow with KeyShot 3D rendering software from Luxion Inc., a capability available soon.