mini ME

SINGAPORE - Imagine immortalising your loved ones as miniature figurines - clothes, hairstyles, tattoos and all.

Welcome to the world of three-dimensional scanning and printing.

In Singapore for a limited period, 3-D studio Uu is a collaborative project by home-grown creative agency Kinetic Singapore, Japanese 3-D imaging studio Mikanbako and venue sponsor Scotts Square.

The project's list of clients include celebrity hairstylist David Gan and fashion director Daniel Boey.

The 3-D printing phenomenon has spread across Japan and Europe, said Kinetic co-founder Carolyn Teo, who had a figurine of her daughter done while in Japan on a holiday.

She was so impressed with the results that she decided to bring the service here and allow others to "discover the lifelike figurines and experience the amazing technology".

State of the art

Mr Wataru Hida, chief executive officer of Mikanbako, said: "3D scanners and printers have been used in professional fields such as architecture, movies and medicine. We saw that the technology has advanced to a point where we can provide it to normal consumers."

In under 30 minutes, customers will be scanned with state-of-the-art equipment by professionals from Mikanbako. The collated data is sent back to their labs in Japan to be processed and printed. Customers will get their figurines in about three months.

Customers can choose from three sizes - small (15cm), medium (20cm) or large (25cm), which costs $850, $1,000 and $1,500 respectively.

The Uu studio, which opened here on Saturday, will be available till Oct 6.

Designed like a gallery, it allows visitors to experience the world of 3-D printing through a series of displays. Every figurine exhibited there has a story.

The scanning rooms have windows so others can see how it's done.

An interactive wall even allows you to see how a miniaturised version of yourself will look like.

The figurines come in three sizes: Small (15cm), Medium (20cm), Large (25cm)

1. The process starts with a technician taking a 3-D scan with a special hand-held scanner. Six scans are needed, each taking only five minutes.

2. Next, the highly-detailed scan is cleaned up and the data is fed into an exclusive programme. The programme combines the information to form a complete digital version of the subject.

3. The data is sent to Japan, where it is analysed and calibrated to be as accurate as possible to the customer's likeness, colour and clothes. Details include tattoos and even fabric patterns and textures.

4. This info is fed into a 3-D printer. The model is printed using plaster and resin. The finished model is brittle, like a cookie, so a bonding substance is coated on the figurine by hand to make it harder.

5. After a stringent cleaning, the custom figurine is ready.

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