Donal Reddington on mass customization, crowdsourcing and digital manufacturing

EGO3D – making a 3D printed bust direct from 3 photographs

From Germany comes news of a new 3D service: EGO3D, which creates real busts from just three normal photographs.

Company principal Robert Fischer says: “With this service we are in a niche between the photographic and the 3D business.  In comparison to other 3D manufacturers, we create a 3D mesh from the customer’s photos (a 3D-scan is not necessary) and then the bust will be manufactured with a 3D printer. ”

“We started our business in July 2009.  Initially, EGO3D had offered this unique service only in Germany, but it is now available Europe-wide.”

The process begins with the customer placing the order and uploading three head and shoulders photographs – one taken from the front and one from each side.

EGO3D then optimize the photos for creating a 3D-model.  Then, a threee dimensional mesh is generated.  For this purpose, EGO3D use specialized software which is also used for special effects in the film industry.

Creating the 3d mesh

Creating the 3d mesh

However, the software, good as it is, does require some manual rework 0f the 3D mesh to complete the detail work before the next stage.

The blank of the bust is then created in a 3D printing machine layer by layer.  The 3D printing system used by EGO3D uses a mineral powder, similar to that used for prototype work in the automotive industry for a number of years.

Forming the bust in the 3D printer

Forming the bust in the 3D printer

Unlike clay or stoneware, busts created by EGO3D are not baked.  Instead, they are imbued with a hardening liquid so that they become hard as chinaware but not as fragile.

Applying the hardening agent

Applying the hardening agent

Delivery time is around a week, and the current price is €69.90.

EGO3D is an interesting, if slightly unusual use of 3D printing technologies for a consumer product.  The website is in German with a translation to English.

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