May 07, 2007

3D printing goes to our heads

Russell Brown has a certain Jobsian knack for not only seeing interesting possibilities, but for getting folks to jump in on his crazy little journeys.  A few months back, Photoshop 3D engineer Pete Falco and I accompanied Russell on a field trip to Monterey, CA-based Cyberware.  There Steve Addleman was most hospitable as he scanned our domes (pix here), turning them into digital files compatible with Photoshop CS3 Extended (quick clip of Russell’s gourd spinning in PS).

Ah, but why stop there when you can look fantastic in plastic, thanks to a 3D printing machine?  Russell persuaded Steve Chapman of Gentle Giant Studios to then render our busts, leading to quite possibly the vainest objects in my entire life.  I kept trotting out the damn things at our recent housewarming ("Honey, they’re conversation pieces; they need a spotlight"), only to get them firmly shooed back into an obscure bookcase.

And yet that’s not the half of it: Russell re-teamed with these guys at last month’s ADIM conference, scanning the attendees and turning them into action figures–some 130 full color, custom made heads in all.  Right on!  The only question: How can they top it for next year?

Tangentially related at best:

  • Materialise MGX produces consumer goods through what looks like an amazingly high-fidelity 3D printing process.
  • Evil Mad Scientist wants to make 3D printing cheap and sweet–by printing on sugar.  [Via]
  • The NYT has an interesting article about rapid prototyping, but I waited too long to post it and now it’s behind a subscriber login.  I’m providing the link in case you have access.
  • Speaking of 3D heads, Hoss Gifford’s got a whole chorus of ’em fashioned into a synthesizer.
  • And speaking of unusual heads, here’s Oliver Laric’s rendered in IMG tags. (Try resizing your browser window and watching the effect.)
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