While 2013 doesn’t seem like a terribly long time ago, when it comes to the 3D printing industry it might as well be decades. 3D printing and 3D scanning technology has evolved dramatically in just a few years, but even more of a dramatic evolution is the general public’s understanding of 3D printing technology. Back when William Co got the idea to start a 3D printing company it would be generous to call it a risky proposition. Most people didn’t really understand what exactly 3D printing was, or what it could be used to do, so starting a business offering 3D scanning and 3D printing services was almost uncharted territory.
Thankfully for him, William had the full support, and help, of his wife Jewelyn and his brother Andy. Together they have taken their family business called CoKreeate from the little 3D printing services startup that could and turned it into a Hollywood sensation. For the last three years they have been turning some of the entertainment industry’s most recognizable names on to 3D scanning and 3D printing and producing 3D printed mini-me versions of celebrities like Marvel’s Godfather Stan “the man” Lee, broadcasting legend Larry King and R&B star Christina Milian. CoKreeate has even scanned and 3D printed Mini-Me himself, Verne Troyer.
CoKreeate 3D printings their mini-me statues on a ZCorp powder bed 3D printer that uses inkjet technology to print full color statues from a powdered gypsum material. The printer starts by laying down a super-fine layer of the powder and layer by layer the statue is printed with a combination of colored inks and a bonding agent. Once the statue is printed it’s coated in a super-glue like material to make it completely solid and also sharpens the colors. In order to capture a full body scan the Cos use an Artec Eva handheld 3D scanner from Artec. William went through several different 3D scanner options before finally finding the Eva to be the best fit for the job.
“We decided to purchase the Artec Eva for its reasonable pricing, fine resolutions, technical specs, and portability. Artec Eva’s portable feature is great for travelling to the customers for their convenience. We can do projects for clients who may not be able to travel to our studio location. The Artec Eva provides great features such as Constrained Alignment to help align scans that are out of proportion. This feature is great and saves time in aligning scans together,” William explains.
Customers who are looking to be 3D scanned can either visit the CoKreeate studio in Alhambra, California, or the Cos are often willing to travel out to them. Because the Artec Eva is designed to be used in a wide range of environments they really don’t require much other than good lighting and enough space for the person holding the scanner to completely move around the scanee. Clients are simply told to pick a pose that they are comfortable holding for anywhere from three to five minutes, and they are free to include any accessories that they want, like musical instruments, toys, or sports equipment. They can also wear colorful costumes, clothing, or in the case of the adult film stars that CoKreeate has scanned, nothing at all.
While about 20% of their clients learn about CoKreeate and their services from the press and the media, a big part of their success is their strong social media presence. CoKreeate often updates their Instagram and Facebook profile with new 3D scanned clients and celebrities, showing off the wide variety of poses and costumes that their process and accurately reproduce. Obviously seeing the how highly detailed the 3D printed mini versions of famous people like Stan Lee and Larry King helps. It’s one thing to see a 3D printed version of a person that is a stranger, but when it is a celebrity with an instantly recognizable face it becomes clear how detailed the 3D printed mini-mes really are.
CoKreeate has been having a great year and recently launched a pop up store in the nearby Westfield Santa Anita shopping center in Arcadia, the first of several planned expansions. But they are also expanding the 3D printing services that CoKreeate will be offering; soon they will be able to offer 3D prints in both bronze and gold. They are currently developing a gallery of 3D printable files that can be downloaded for free from their website, and also starting up collaborations with Stan Lee and Christina Milian to design a series of 3D printed products and accessories based on their 3D scanned likenesses. If you are local to CoKreeate you can visit their Alhambra studio, and learn more about them on their website. Discuss this story in the CoKreeate forum thread on 3DPB.com.