Wednesday, September 24, 2008

Physical Bootlegs

Game Developer had a review of this slick product. It's a 3D scanner that can scan in regular objects and import them into a 3D modeling program. It's really, really cool, and at $2,500 (on sale!) it's not exactly a binge purchase. However, when I saw it I thought immediately of the 3D printers that are on the market. "Cool", I thought "now people can bootleg actual physical objects!"

Of course the problem with 3D printing is that it's none too cheap. I'd heard that regular non-color 3D printers can set you back $50 to $100 or more a job while color jobs can run into the hundreds of dollars. Still affordable for prototyping, but a bit outrageous for consumer level bootlegging of Star Wars figures.

However, as can be expected, Japan has the answer. There's a bit of a modeling kit hobby over there* and the prices for these things, as with many other things in Japan, are completely divorced from reality. Check out this cool Gundam figure. They send you a sack of uncolored parts after you send them 160 clams!

I boldly predict that it's only a matter of time before 3D model exports start showing up on the likes of Pirate Bay. You will simply download the model you want, send the job off to your favorite outsourced 3D printing company and presto: a $160 Japanese model kit for $50!

*Of course it wouldn't be Japan if their hobbies didn't drift towards the reprehensible. Check out this model kit (or don't, probably NOT safe for work), I love the tag on the site: "...customs regulations for your country may prevent this figure from being delivered to you". Gawd, only Japan could make a toy figurine that's illegal to be delivered in half the world.

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