There are some amazing things you can create with 3D printing (take a look at these 20 great examples). And now you don't even need to be able to use 3D software to get involved.
London-based 3D printing lab Makielab has developed a system of creating objects using game technologies, including 3D Studio Max and Unity, and transmogrifying them into 3D-printable toys complete with internal working joints. It's using this to offer a service that enables you to create 3D printed customizable dolls, known as 'Makies'. Inspired? See how to make 3D prints using your own photos for free with Memento.
Each Makie doll is printed in nylon and there are enough customization options to make them unique - not unlike what can be done with gaming avatars such as Nintendo's Miis.
The dolls can only be printed in a rather ghoulish porcelain white at the moment, though there are plans to include more realistic skin colours in future versions.
What's most interesting about Makies is the ability to customize them beyond what you get from Makielab. That's because each doll has been designed to be able to fit an Arduino LilyPad - a microcontroller board designed for wearables and e-textiles - inside them.
This opens up a wide range of things you can do to customise them even further - from using LEDs to add light behind their eyes, to using them as a Bluetooth controller for video games and apps.
The service is currently in 'open alpha' and the company says, "it’s only at 20% of what we want it to be". We can't wait to see how it develops.
Words: Christian Harries
Christian Harries is a final year product design student at Ravensbourne College of Design and Communication.