3D Selfies are the New Thing: Shapies!
14 Jun 2015


Taking “selfies” to a whole other level: “shapies”. Why not 3D print yourself and have it adorned on your fireplace or give it to your granny or best friend to remind them how wonderfully well proportioned you are.

Meet Shapify; a company leading the charge in full-size 3d body scanning. Pop into Asda if you are in the UK to get your body scanned, then 3D print a 4 to 9 inch model of yourself. Why have a 2D pic of yourself or loved one when you can have a 3d version of them?!


Shapify uses a series of rotating scanners to create a 360-degree model of the person, then uses 3D printers to create, from scratch, a 4-inch to 9-inch tall model of that person.

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A little over a year ago, a German company called Twinkind opened its doors with a novel proposition: For $300 it would 3D-print you a full-color, lifelike replica of yourself. The detail the figurines could capture was uncanny—the bristles of a moustache, the wisps of thread on a faded pair of jeans. The company is part of a wave of 3D-printed-portrait businesses opening around the world, some roving and some, like Twinkind and London’s My3Dtwin, based in storefronts, but all trying to capture the public’s growing interest in a hugely hyped emerging technology.


As it happens, souvenirs manufactured on demand are not a recent invention. At the Henry Ford Museum in Dearborn, Michigan, you can buy an injection-molded plastic replica of the bus Rosa Parks rode or the Lincoln limousine in which John F. Kennedy was assassinated. Insert $2 and wait 30 seconds, and the 1960s-era Mold-A-Rama machine will heat polyethylene pellets into a plastic keepsake.

You can find Mold-A-Ramas at a handful of other places—a few US museums and fairs have kept them for nostalgia’s sake. But the company that manufactured them only services the machines now; it hasn’t produced any new ones in more than 40 years. Will 3D-printed figurines end up the same—a largely forgotten novelty? Or will they become a fixture of tourist traps the world over? Only time will tell, but until then, we’re going to try to get “Shapie” into the dictionary!

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