We just got the news that Hasbro has teamed up with Formlabs to do 3D printed action figureheads so this is huge news. Hasbro is a very significant company and Formlabs is a big company in the 3D printing space. For Formlabs to work on this level of consumer-grade product is a big step both as a demonstration of 3d printing at scale hopefully but also of it to be affordable and accessible to the average person.
Formlabs has done customizable items before they have worked with Gillette in the past to do things like razors. Unfortunately, they have never really hit low general level consumers and the razors were very much kind of a promotional item. Sure these action figures are going to be promotional items too but they get closer to just general products being 3D printed, which is not something that the industry has really hit yet.
Now we don't have a lot of information about how it's going to go. They're going to start out with four key characters and you'll be able to use the Hasbro app to scan your face presumably. It's gonna work probably on IOS because the iPhone has an actual scanner built into it and they'll have some sort of implementation from there. It will be interesting to see how detailed the actual models come out and if Hasbro keeps it up. We know that the action figures are going to cost about $60 when they come out this fall. From there we'll see if Hasbro continues on and expands the category and therefore helps Formlabs continue to decrease the cost or if it'll be like a lot of these customization products that has kind of been gimmicky and then never gone from there.
Customization within 3D printing even though 3D printing itself is very flexible has always been very difficult because customization still requires very constant constraints to make sure that the things that are being customized are still manufacturable. It's easy to stick a name on the side of something or a serial number or barcode but to completely change the shape of something to absorb a different type of geometry has always been tough. These action figures are an interesting case because they have kind of a datum feature where the head interfaces with the model which is the same across all of them and then they just change the facial features and the hair to look like the person that's doing it. It's also going to be kind of interesting to see how they're painting and coloring these since form labs isn't able to handle color.
None of the less, it's a big thing for the industry it's a big demonstration of how 3D printing is able to help with mass production of customizable items and we wish him the best of luck hopefully it turns out great.