Oct. 17, 2014 | By Alec

For all our talk of 3D printing technology, 2D printing is still big business. Flyeralarm, Europe's largest player in the 2D online printing industry, was good for an annual revenue of 335 million dollars in 2012. And with more than 1500 employees and stores all over Europe, who wouldn't call them a successful business.

While they've been sticking to business cards, leaflets and office supplies in recent years, their German branch will now also be moving into the 3D printing market. And with that kind of capital behind them, they could be a game changer.

Flyeralarm's CEO Markus Schmedtmann first hinted at this move into the third dimension on his Linkedin profile. A new profile picture showed him as a 3Dprinted -selfie figure, featuring the line 'my3D – powered by Flyeralarm'.

Very soon afterwards, Flyeralarm has begun offering 3D printing services focussing on such selfie figures. A brand-new website called my3d.de has launched, where German customers can order such figurines based on the 360-degree portrait shots. These debut figures are called Mini-Me's and are printed in polymer-plaster on ZPrinter 650s 3D printers by the company itself.

How does this 3D printing service work? Well, you can make an appointment with them online, and go to one of their stores for a full-body scan. The scanning only takes a few minutes. Upon choosing the exact size you want your print to be, they'll print your miniature for you, though it'll take a few weeks before you can pick up your cool Mini-Me. Full services will cost anywhere between €100 for children and €819 for the largest possible print.

While this sounds both cool and expensive, availability is currently limited. There is currently only a single 3D scanner operational and you'll have to go to Munich-Schwabing for it. More scanners are expected to go online throughout Germany in the near future.

While it is the first large German company to make 3D printing available to their customers, it's by no means a main source of income. These services are still quite expensive, and can perhaps better be seen as a promotional activity. However, the fact that 3D printing has actually drawn the attention of a large company is indicative about the current state of this technology in the consumer market. Now we'll just have to see if these Mini-Me's catch on in Germany.

Posted in 3D Printing Services

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