Put yourself on the shelf? 3D-printing company makes personal action figures for holiday gifts

A Regina 3D-printing company has found a way to let you make it home for the holidays — even if you have to work or the flights are too expensive.

Reflection 3D Technology uses 360-degree photo technology to help people make models of themselves

Saskatchewan residents have been sending 3D models of themselves home for the holidays with the help of a Regina tech company. (Reflection 3D Technology)

A Regina 3D-printing company has found a way to let you make it home for the holidays — even if you have to work or the flights are too expensive.

Reflection 3D Technology is using three-dimensional photography to help people make action figures of themselves. 

Company founder Tantan Xie said his customers are sending miniature versions of themselves to family around the world.

"Some international students have themselves scanned and then send it back to home to their parents," said Xie.

He said the company was inspired to start printing 3D photographs after seeing similar models being printed in Finland.

Reflection 3D Technology founder Tantan Xie says people like the idea of being able to display models of their family members on the shelf. (Reflection 3D Technology)

Modern take on family photo

The company uses 89 cameras and 23 projectors to snap a 360-degree photo, which is sent to an industrial printer in the U.S. to be transformed into a figure.

Families have been bringing their children to be photographed in Superman or Batman costumes, hockey jerseys and dance costumes.

Xie said the models are a modern take on the family photo. 

"For the grandparents … they find out 'OK, I can now have the grandkids just sitting on the top of my table,'" said Xie.

One client in Moose Jaw, Sask., has been creating a family photo album of figures.

Some families are creating "photo albums" with the 3D-models. (Reflection 3D Technology)

Bringing old photos to life

Xie said the company also receives a lot of requests for models of people or pets who have died, or are not available to be photographed in Regina.

"That's one of the challenges right now," he said.

"It's possible, if we're sending a picture from the past, to create a 3D model … but the outcome or the result won't be as good as the one where we're having people come over to do the scan."

The price for a model ranges from $100 for a five-inch figure to $300 for a 10-inch figure.

Unfortunately for last-minute shoppers, Xie said it is too late to order a model as a gift for this Christmas, because it takes about a week to have the figure printed and returned from the U.S.