a4Covering the 3D printing industry has its perks. You get to meet some incredible people, learn a great deal about the technology in an incredibly short amount of time, and sometimes even get 3D printed yourself. At least that was the case at 3D Print Week New York last week where we happened to be present with a booth.

The expo was jam-packed full of 3D printing professionals and enthusiasts, but one area in particular, the Artec 3D scanning booth, looked more like a sardine packing plant than a 3D printing expo. On the first day of the expo my wife Heidi and I stepped over to the booth to get scanned, as we were recently married and wanted something which would keep us in our current state of youth for eternity. What better way of doing so than with a 3D printed statue of ourselves? Unfortunately we found ourselves in an hour-long line to be scanned, and I had multiple meetings planned within that time frame.

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The next day we sort of cheated, and snuck in before the doors had opened. Heidi and I stepped into the Artec Shapify booth and within 12 seconds had been scanned. The one difficult thing about the scan process was remaining still. When the walls of the scanner spun it was nearly impossible not to follow them with your eyes and even your head. The booth attendee warned us of this, however, so we were somewhat prepared. When the scanner had finished we stepped out and waited approximately 5 minutes for the computer to display a detailed 3D model of my wife and me. I would say that I was surprised at the detail, but I saw my brother get scanned by the same machine six months ago in California, so knew what to expect.a3

We were told that a 3D printable model would be ready in just 15 minutes, and that we would have our 3D printed statue mailed to us within a couple of weeks.

After the scan Heidi and I spoke to the Artec representatives, who discussed in detail the company’s business model. They are actually franchising these scanners out. In fact, just two weeks ago we reported that a Freehold, New Jersey mall now has a Shapify booth within it, and just today Artec announced that the first booth has been shipped and set up in the United Arab Emirates.

“We are very excited to present our Shapify booth in the UAE,” stated Artec 3D president and CEO Artyom Yukhin. “The Shapify booth has been significantly popular in Asia, the USA and Western Europe, and today we are thrilled to be sharing our 3D technologies with consumers in the Middle East.”

So how does the franchise-like model work? There are two plans, the ‘Optimal’ plan and the ‘Acquisition’ plan. With the Optimal plan there is a $99,000 startup fee ($39,000 + $60,000 for 3,000 selected models) which will get you the Shapify Booth, software, a one-year guarantee, and 3,000 selected 3D models. A a1‘selected 3D model’ is any model that will be sent off to get printed. The Acquisition model, on the other hand, requires a $180,000 startup fee and will include all of the aspects of the Optimal plan, but with an unlimited number of selected 3D models. Prints can then be ordered directly through Artec, or business owners are able to use other printing services.

On the flight back home as Heidi and I wondered what our 3D statue would look like, we began talking about how incredible a business model the Shapify scanner could be if it was marketed to the right crowd. It seems like it would make the perfect business for a mall kiosk. Friends could be immortalized via 3D printed gypsum, or couples could go every year to have a statue of themselves created so that their children and grandchildren could watch as they grew old over the years. Parents could get a 3D print of their child each year to track their maturity from infant to toddler to teenager, and memorable moments could be captured in 3D.

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I have little doubt that Artec and their Shapify booth will see tremendous success. The only question is what comes next? 3D printed life-sized statues anyone?

Let us know if you’ve been scanned and printed from one of these booths, or are a business owner who has purchased one of these systems. Discuss in the Artec Shapify Booth forum thread on 3DPB.com. For businesses interested in finding out more about owning their own Shapify Booth, you may email business@shapify.me. Check out the video below showing how the whole scanning process works:

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