A 3D printing show in London later this year will offer visitors the chance to have their complete body scanned and printed.
The 3D Printshow 2012 will be held in London in October and is intended to introduce people to a growing area of technology.
Unlike traditional printers, which print ink on paper, 3D printers create objects by adding layer upon layer of material to make a replica of an object from 3D model data. The technology has been around for more than 20 years but over the last decade the costs have come down significantly, making 3D printing a possibility for students, small businesses and even individuals.
Kerry Hogarth, the organiser of the show, said the show would introduce people to the entire process involved in 3D printing: scanning real world objects to make replicas, designing new objects using computer software and then printing the results.
“The people who will come to the show are probably early adopters,” she said. “Over the last three to six months a lot of people have been enquiring about what to do.”
Among the companies exhibiting at the show will be EuroPac 3D, a scanning company whose work includes scanning the Harry Potter set for use in computer-generated imagery and scanning decaying sculptures on the roof of Blenheim Palace so that they can be accurately preserved.
John Beckett, EuroPac’s managing director, said: “We’ll have scanners there that will be able to scan, say, jewellery. We’ll have a complete body scanner which will be able to make a complete scan in about five seconds.”
Although printers capable of producing large objects are still outside the price range of most people, Ms Hogarth predicts that prices will fall over the next couple of years.
She said: “The people who are the hobbyists are going to be really inspired by the ideas at the show.”