Maker Tales: Reimagining the family portrait in the age of 3D printing | 3D Hubs Blog

Posted: 4March2014 in 3d Printer
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Maker Tales: Reimagining the family portrait in the age of 3D printing


Most families feel compelled to commemorate their existence in one way or another throughout their lives. In the ancient world, affluent citizens would commission busts or statues of themselves and their kin. Centuries later, wealthy families chose to adorn their houses with painted portraits. Then photography took over to bring family snapshots to the masses. Today, we can embrace a whole new level in family portraiture: 3D printed figurines. We spoke with Manuel and Sabina Groeneweg, an entrepreneurial couple that is looking to tap into this market.

From body casts to detailed statuettes

Sabina has been making body casts of pregnant women for eight years. When her husband Manuel noticed that 3D printing was becoming better and more accessible, he decided to help her take her business to another level. “I figured that plaster casts will soon be a thing of the past,” says Manuel. “When I learned about the possibilities for making scans and printing just about anyone (not only pregnant women), I realized that she needed to step in because she could broaden her target group and move faster than her competitors.” Sabina was really enthusiastic about the idea, so they decided to delve into it further.

Manuel found out that several people in the US had made full-body 3d scanners with low-cost hardware like the XBox Kinect. He decided to try and make one too. “With some help from other people and Instructables, we finally got a decent scanner up and running. The setup consists of an XBox Kinect and a turning platform. We use ReConstructMe as the scanning software and free tools like MeshMixer to clean up the model.”

With ReConstructMe, Manuel and Sabina are able to make quick, high resolution scans. The trickiest part is the actual printing. “We managed to scan a few friends and neighbors and made some prints on our newly acquired printer ourselves,” says Sabina. “Then we got some unexpected print fails because our printer wasn’t properly calibrated, so we decided to get an extra hand. I wanted to continue printing throughout the holidays since the figurines make great gifts.”


Working with Kay’s Hub in The Hague and Bouke’s Hub in Rotterdam, Manuel and Sabina were able to produce superb quality prints. “We made fantastic prints for friends and family and even produced some for new clients,” says Sabina. “Now I’m ready to launch my new service: DoubleMe3d.”

Sabina is currently offering figurines in different colors printed with PLA. For makers that want to try this at home themselves, our hubs recommend that you avoid setting your printing temperature to very high settings. To make the model sturdier, you can use two shells, sliced in 0.09mm layers with a 20% infill.

Sabina also recommends that you pay attention to your support settings as it can be tedious to remove the material residue from the prints. “The quality of your supports will depend on having the right software with the right specifications,” says Sabina. “I couldn’t get the optimal settings with Slic3r so I’m using Simplify3D, which gives us better results.” The printing process is also long, taking up to 30 hours in certain cases. But the wait is certainly worth it!

via Maker Tales: Reimagining the family portrait in the age of 3D printing | 3D Hubs Blog.


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