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Post Reply 3D print your own anime figures
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39 / Inside your compu...
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Posted 5/1/16 , edited 5/1/16
I think the future of otaku technology, besides VR anime movies (those are potentially very cool, because you can watch the same movie over and over except seeing different things each time by looking to or from a different direction), VR anime games, and VR uhhh "doing something" with anime characters, is 3D printing.

The cheapest consumer-grade 3D printers are dropping into the sub US$1000 or even $500 range:

https://all3dp.com/best-cheap-budget-3d-printer-affordable-under-1000-budget/



Many fans, most notably Japanese ones, have started to produce 3D print models of anime characters. Some could be found at sites such as delmo.jp.

A search for Miku on Delmo yields models such as this one:



The print template is a 2-part download, the first containing head / torso / hair parts, and the second containing the wrist-hands / legs / lower torso-skirts and base:



Should I ever decide to drop a thousand bucks on figurines again, perhaps I should think about a 3D printer.

However, I'd imagine that at this stage, things aren't that simple. First, I'd have to research into the graininess of the output. If the low end printers are too low-res, then I'd have to spend a whole lot more on a printer that could produce figures that are smooth enough that I would be happy with the results after I paint them.

In any case, this is certainly an interesting development.
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Posted 5/1/16
would be better for a long term investment.
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Posted 5/1/16

Ryulightorb wrote:

would be better for a long term investment.


An alternative is to use a 3D printing service to have them print for you using industrial grade printers... Then you could even have a metal figurine.
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Posted 5/1/16
The technology for 3d printers really is coming along quickly.

I remember using them for prototyping in college and the quality of the plastic resin wasn't great. Good enough for things like ergonomics testing, but little else.

Heck, I remember reading that someone was able to make a wearable dress using 3d printers not all that long ago. I forget how they accomplished it precisely.. I think it was some kind of interlocking honeycomb structure or something like that.

On the one hand, 3d printing has great potential for the consumer, as figures are expensive as hell. I'm curious how copyright holders will make up for the lost revenue though - isn't a significant portion of the income for anime/manga producers gained through the sale of merchandise like figurines?
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Posted 5/1/16

nanikore2 wrote:


Ryulightorb wrote:

would be better for a long term investment.


An alternative is to use a 3D printing service to have them print for you using industrial grade printers... Then you could even have a metal figurine.


i mean if you can set it up and have the know how you could make it a moving figurine (i expect that to be to much effort though)
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Posted 5/1/16
I've got a 3D printer that I use near continuously right now - haven't really done much with figurines, I'm more of a full size prop kind of guy. The quality isn't perfect, for sure, but with a bit of cleanup, it can look quite good.

Personally, I tend to print at lower quality than the printer supports just because I enjoy working with the props by hand after the fact. Save a couple hours on the print job, spend them sanding and filing and painting... of course, no matter the quality of the printer, the finish work will probably always be there, which need tools and materials most folks tend not to stock. Folks who buy garage kits would find the transition to personal printed figurines much simpler, that's for sure.

I guess probably the biggest limiting factors right now are how expensive the printers are - most people can't just drop $1k on a lark - and actually making the source models. Especially for figurines - I might be able to do space guns and swords and such, but full on swirly figurines made to be printed are a skill I'll likely never have. I know folks will occasionally upload their own creations for free, but more often they'll post them for a fee instead, or sell the prints they make themselves. That'll probably also limit the popularity a bit.

I think the studios would be well advised to make a form of single-use downloads - purchase the print plans for, say, $5-10, and you get a high quality print ready model from the studio, ready to create your own, then it deletes after the print completes. It's not perfect, smacking of DRM and rentals and would be hacked by someone almost immediately, but it'd grant them some income where they normally would get none from the gray market. From the customer side, it's a studio accurate model, ready to go, no cleanup or model tools required.

In the end, they'll probably have to resign themselves to losing some income. People can print high quality posters locally already in many cases, negating some of their income stream, and slowly more can start printing figurines as well. On the flip side, sometimes folks are willing to shell out the extra cash for the figurine they could make themselves because it's easier and worth the other extras. They'll be able to shift how they set up those extras to keep the money coming in, I'm betting. Maybe even include those printable model files in the collector's sets instead of / in addition to the actual figurine at some point.
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Posted 5/1/16 , edited 5/1/16


The future is here!

In all seriousness, that does sound like an awesome idea. But unless studios were to somehow find a way to earn from people creating their own figures, instead of buying the officially licensed ones, I wouldn't be able to get behind the idea, regardless of convenience.
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Posted 5/1/16
Yeha, anime relies on the merchandising. While there has always been a garage kit industry, I don't think 3D printing will affect the figure industry outside those who already make their own.
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Posted 5/1/16

H_Guderian wrote:

Yeha, anime relies on the merchandising. While there has always been a garage kit industry, I don't think 3D printing will affect the figure industry outside those who already make their own.



I just wanted to remark that you got an amazing username there. ^^
Sorry for the off-topic, guys.
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Posted 5/1/16

iriomote wrote:

The technology for 3d printers really is coming along quickly.

I remember using them for prototyping in college and the quality of the plastic resin wasn't great. Good enough for things like ergonomics testing, but little else.

Heck, I remember reading that someone was able to make a wearable dress using 3d printers not all that long ago. I forget how they accomplished it precisely.. I think it was some kind of interlocking honeycomb structure or something like that.

On the one hand, 3d printing has great potential for the consumer, as figures are expensive as hell. I'm curious how copyright holders will make up for the lost revenue though - isn't a significant portion of the income for anime/manga producers gained through the sale of merchandise like figurines?


One thing I can immagine them doing to maintain profits is advertise their figures as official and sell them off like brand name goods.

Like sure you could just get that cheap jacket or you could buy that brand name one for 5 times the price. The brand name doesn't look any better but it's a brand name so some people just can't resist.

Also until 3D printers become super affordable most people will choose to just buy the figures than dumping a bunch of money on a 3D printer.

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Posted 5/1/16
If 3d printing takes off I guess the rights holders would have to license the plans, kinda like an iTunes of figure designs.

The downside of this for untalented people is that you'd have to paint and finish them yourself...
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Posted 5/1/16 , edited 5/1/16
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Posted 5/1/16
I've certainly thought about it. It makes me want to brush up on my 3D modeling skills. The potential to create custom figures, figures for things that don't have official merchandise, and original works... it's enticing.
Posted 5/1/16 , edited 5/1/16
I actually had to go to this 3D Printer thing before and it was pretty interesting about how it all works however... The prints aren't perfect however in the future I'm sure they'll improve.

A little thing I got from that event was this 3D Printed model of Bowser from Mario 64... It was just a ripped model so it printed pretty badly and it also is very small.







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Posted 5/1/16 , edited 5/1/16
Has anyone YET figured out another use for "the 3D printing revolution!" besides A) custom action figurines and B ) sending needed artificial limbs to remote third-world villages?
B is one example of how a technology needs a Killer-App to take hold, and A is one example of what happens when they don't find one.

(3D-printed action figures are sort of this technology's equivalent of trying to figure out how to get porn on Oculus Rift.)
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