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Now businesses can easily offer customers 3D selfies

Although we've seen literally hundreds of different uses for 3D printing, the one we keep coming back to are self portraits, or, if we're trying to sound down with the kids, "selfies". There's something about using a 3D scanner to produce a miniature, printable version of ourselves that people just really love. And the Artect Group's new Shapify.Pro might mean we're going to be inundated with new services offering exactly that.
Shapify.Pro isn't a consumer product: it's aimed at business users who want to set up 3D printing booths for their customers. It uses a Microsoft Kinect as the scanner, then the 3D model produced is sent off to Shapify to be printed and sent out. So it's not quite the same as a photobooth, because most photoboothes don't make you wait five days to get your passport photos in the post, but it's still a pretty impressive turnaround.

Nancy Liang interview: Mixee, toys, and the future of 3D printing

3D printing is getting easier and more accessible to more people, but still, most people don't have a 3D printer at home. That's why services that let users order customised 3D printed objects are so useful - they let people play with 3D printing without having to make a huge investment in the technology first. One of our favourite 3D printing services is Mixee Labs, which uses a browser-based interface to let customers make their own unique jewellery and toys, and then buy physical printouts of them.
To find out a bit more about it, we got in touch with co-founder Nancy Liang for a chat...
Tell us a bit about Mixee Labs.
We’re a platform for customisable products. You can upload your 3D files to Mixee Labs and create a customisable interactive experience –everything made is one off. We work with different designers and put their designs on our site and make them customisable.
How did the company get started?
Before Mixee Labs, I used to work at Shapeways and over there I saw that there was a need for better tools for creating customisable objects. I encountered a lot of people who were interested in 3D printing and wanted to make something but they didn’t know where to start. Most CAD programs have a fairly steep learning curve, so that’s where the idea came from. Talking with those people, we really felt the need for something that makes it easy to create personalised, unique items. 

Outdoor Ukele has created a 3D printed ukele

Here's a 3D printed musical instrument we haven't seen before: a ukele!

It was created by Outdoor Ukele, a company that specialises in making instruments that can be travelled with, and played outdoors. The company was planning to make a tenor ukele, which would be made of injection moulded polycarbonate, so they got in touch with 3D printers Realize to get a prototype made up. Realize obliged, producing a 3D printed prototype that was perfectly accurate, and perfectly playable - check out the video here for proof!

Outdoor Ukele will be going back to the traditional injection moulding method to create the ukeles they'll actually be selling, which we reckon is kind of a shame when the 3D printed version works so well.

Love false nails? Check out these 3D printed ones

We've featured loads of 3D printed fashion and accessories on this blog already, but this is the first time we've written about 3D printed fake nails. We're kind of in awe.

Created by the Laser Girls, the nails in the picture are Dark Amethyst nails: printed in Shapeways's strong and flexible material, they're designed for short term wear and, well, making an impact. Look at them! The nails come in a variety of sizes and colours, and the Laser Girls also have even more elaborate designs available in their Shapeways store. 

The nails can be applied like most false nails - with nail glue - and removed with acetone.

This amazing 3D printed action figure is made of over 400 parts

We've seen plenty of 3D printed toys and action figures over the last couple of years, but none of them have been quite as impressive as this one. 

Ronin is a 10", fully articulated action figure with built-in LEDs created by Aaron Thomas. Thomas wanted to build something to test the capabilities of his Ultimaker printer, and over a six month period, developed Ronin. Each of the 400 pieces that makes up the Ronin was carefully calibrated to support the weight of the whole figure, then printed, sanded, finished, polished, assembled, and painted to create a finished model that looks - well, look at it. It's stunning.