‘Mini Me’ Brings Shudder Factor to 3D Printing

By combining high-resolution 3D capture with 3D printing, some enterprising companies in Japan, Europe and the US have facilitated production of miniature replicas of real people.

The Clone Factory in Akhibara, Japan, uses an array of DSLR cameras to capture and reconstruct (by photogrammetry) detailed geometric and colour data to produce dolls with unnervingly life-like heads. The print processes they use combine inks with either gypsum powder (plaster) or wax to realistically replicate colour in three dimensions.





The clone dolls are becoming become increasingly popular amongst Japanese women as an alternative to conventional photographic portraits.

Deep End Productions in Dusseldorf, my3Dtwin in the UK and Captured Dimensions, based in Texas, USA, extend the method by capturing whole-body data to create 'mini me' statuettes between 10cm and 30cm high. Printing of each statuette typically takes several hours.


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It remains to be seen whether clone doll/ statuette production can develop into a popular and expressive new genre of portraiture; but even at this stage in the evolution of the technology, the results are spookily impressive.


Culture Japan, "Human Cloning in Japan".
The Mail, "The ultimate selfie: 3d printing service creates photo real replicas".
The Guardian, "Could the mini-me make 3D-printing mainstream?"