You’ll be able to see your own face on Hasbro action figures based on characters from megahit movies like Star Wars, Disney and Marvel titles.
Why it matters
3D printing is adding new customization abilities to manufacturing, including products tailored for a single individual.
Toys are getting personal.
On Tuesday, famous toymaker Hasbro andcompany Formlabs unveiled the Selfie Series of action figures, which can be customized with your own face. The series includes characters from Marvel, Disney, Star Wars, Ghostbusters, Power Rangers and GI Joe flicks and toy lines.
Using the Hasbro Pulse smartphone app, customers will be able to scan their faces. The app converts the data into a 3D model and uploads it to Hasbro, which prints it out as part of a personalized action figure. Hasbro expects to begin selling the $60 figures this fall.
“Some of the biggest opportunities in 3D printing are these personalized, customized goods,” said Max Lobovsky, the chief executive and co-founder of Formlabs.
The Selfie Series is a vivid example of the customization possible with 3D printing, a form of manufacturing that lays materials down layer by layer. Such individualized details are impractical with conventional processes, such as injection-molded plastic or machined metal, where customized designs are too expensive and some shapes are simply impossible to make.
3D printing’s customizability has been used to make teeth straighteners, hearing aids, football helmets and surgical implants, each tailored for a single person.
The 3D-printing process is spreading to other domains, including aerospace and automotive, in which manufacturers are looking to build parts that are difficult or impossible to make using conventional methods. For example, a brake pedal with hollow voids or fuel nozzles with fewer parts are significantly lighter than conventionally manufactured parts they replace.
3D printers are also popular with hobbyists in the maker movement, who like to do things themselves. Because 3D models can be readily shared, you can download 3D-printer designs for toys like fidget spinners, marble tracks, octopuses, gliders, axolotls and more.
IDTechX, a research firm, forecasts 3D-printer sales will reach $10 billion later this decade, with 3D-printing materials sales reaching $30 billion by 2032.
Hasbro and Formlabs had worked together before embarking on the Selfie Series project, with the toymaker using the 3D printers to create prototypes. For the Selfie Series, Formlabs offered 3D-printing technology that builds smooth, detailed elements and a resin formula that’s durable enough to withstand the abuse plastic action figures often have to endure.
Hasbro keeps the 3D face scan data for 60 days after the product ships, in case a replacement action figure is needed. It doesn’t use the data for any other purpose and deletes it after the 60-day period ends, the company said.