Thanks to an ingenious 3D printing company out of England, the next time you take out your favorite Lego set, you could snap your own, customized head onto any minifigure you want.
For only $30, Etsy seller Funky 3D Faces will take a 2D photo of your mug and make a tiny, 3D, customized replica that can snap on to a Lego minifigure with ease, turning you from a normal, everyday Joe into a Stormtrooper, zombie pirate, or Ned Flanders.
According to CNET, to create an “eerily lifelike” customized Lego head, interested parties must send in two clear photos of their real noggins: one of the front and the other a profile. The company combines these two photos to create the customized head, United Press International added. These two photos are then converted into 3D using full-color 3D printers.
The creepy Lego head will be about a half-inch tall; the material has a sandstone finish and a handy-dandy hole in the neck that will fit on any minifigure. You can even pick a hair style and color to make it even more customized.
Funky 3D Faces needs about two to four weeks to construct your super creepy, yet cool Lego head.
— Daily Mail Online (@MailOnline) January 8, 2016
— 3D Printing News (@My3DPrinting) January 7, 2016
How on Earth does anyone wake up one morning and decide that their (awesome) contribution to the world will be customized 3D Lego heads? The company explains the inspiration on its website.
Funky 3D Faces came out of a company called ELAT3D Ltd, which is in the much more serious business of constructing 3D printed bones for medical purposes, and models for architects and surveyors.
But, the folks over at this commendable company wanted to do something more fun and accessible for the “masses.” The 3D printers used to build bones and models are some of the only full-color printers (which means they have 6 million colors) available and the cost of printing anything with these machines is quite pricey.
In other words, if the creators wanted to create anything the average person could appreciate, it would have to be pretty bitty. And, even better, they wanted whatever they printed to be “unique and personal to each individual.”
Their first step was mini-figurines. To create those, the company scanned a person’s entire body; but, unfortunately, this option was far too expensive and difficult to provide to a large number of customers.
They wanted customers to be able to order something from the “comfort of your own home.”
— Mental Floss UK (@mentalflossuk) January 5, 2016
So, they thought smaller. They looked at technology designed to turn a regular photo into a 3D model, and photos are easy to send online. So, they started by turning faces into 3D fridge magnets.
(By the way, the online consensus about these fridge magnets is that they’re extremely cool, but quite unsettling to behold.)
And then, like a shining light bulb in a cartoon, an even better idea popped into their heads.
“(It was) something that everyone could relate to, something that would make a great gift for young and old and be completely unique and fun. Minifigure heads!!!”
It took three months of trial and error to perfect, but before long, the customized Lego head was born, and soon after unveiled at Birmingham’s Comic Con 2015.
This isn’t the first time 3D printing has been used this way. In 2011, Sculpteo made customized figurines, and then a U.K. retailer came up with individualized action figures.
In addition to the Lego head and fridge magnet, Funky 3D Faces also makes Lego wedding cake toppers.
[Photo By Ekaterina_Minaeva/Shutterstock]