Keepsakes

Everyday Keepsakes

3-D printing touches nearly every facet of our lives. For the artist, it can create whatever you imagine, or a hand for an amputee. And, now, for that narcissist in us all: One business at Washington Square Mall is using 3-D printing to create mini-me figurines.

It's called Shapify, and more than 350 people have stepped inside since it opened about a month ago, said Richman Siansimbi, senior mechanic consultant engineer with Digital Scan 3D, the company that distributes the technology.

To create a statue, a person stands in the center of a circular platform surrounded by white backdrops with four scanners attached. The scanners rotate 360 degrees around the person and, in just 12 seconds, capture a 3-D image.

The data is sent to a cloud-based server, and the figurine is constructed off site using a 3D printer that prints in color. About one week later, you could go home with your own "shapie, " a play on the word "selfie."

"It's a step up from the 2-D picture, " said Siansimbi.

The technology has been used to create figurines of pregnant women, grandkids, grandparents and newlyweds, said Siansimbi. Some people have turned to shapies in lieu of a traditional family portrait.

Mark Thompson, of Portland, took his elderly parents to the booth to have a figurine made as a gift for them and a keepsake for him.

"When they die, you know, rather than a portrait, [the figurine] could be sitting in a cabinet with other stuff, " said Thompson, 64. "It's not like a photo. It is you. You don't look better than you look. You don't look worse than you look."

Sonika and Pankaja Aswal, of Portland, came out Tuesday to get their scan for their 15th wedding anniversary.

"It will always be with us, " said Sonika Aswal. "And, we're not getting any younger, right? When we're old, it would be nice to say, 'OK, this is how we looked.' "

"In 3-D, " Pankaja Aswal added.

The couple added that they'd like to do this regularly with their infant daughter to capture various stages of her life.


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