As a child, Reza Nourali daydreamed of being like the Superman and Spider-Man action figures he collected. In 2017, the 45-year-old created the MiniMe Factory, a metro Atlanta company that creates pint-sized versions of people—or even their pets—with 3-D printing technology. Frustrated with programs that print one-color models that need to be painted, Nourali tested a German company’s cutting-edge 3-D technology that creates replicas in full color. Based in Alpharetta, the MiniMe Factory uses a photo booth with multiple high-resolution cameras in an array that captures 200 images of the subject from head to toe, all in less than three seconds. An artist then optimizes and renders images into a 3-D model—the process is called photogrammetry—and the printer does the rest. Three weeks later, your personal action figure (starting at $79 for a three-inch-tall version) arrives in the mail or can be picked up.
- The life-like replicas are made from sandstone, a powder-based and ceramic-like material. Be careful: The replicas are for ornamental purposes and can break. For an additional fee, the company can add a water- and UV-resistant coating.
- The sizes for replicas range from three to 14 inches for a single person, but 3-D printers can print up to four people posing as a group. Animals are welcome.
- MiniMe Factory often captures pets with their owners and has worked with the City of Alpharetta to replicate their K9 dogs, firefighters, and mayor. They scanned a famous K9 pooch, Mattis, who has over 27,000 Instagram followers.
- Want a block-like version of yourself? Subjects have the option of placing their “MiniMe Head” on a LEGO figure or other favorite character.
- Props are allowed, but Nourali recommends subjects wear bright colors and large patterns. Eyeshadow doesn’t capture very well, and items without distinct borders—for example, rimless glasses or stilettos—are also tough to print.
This article appears in our May 2019 issue.