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Monstermatic for iOS and 3D Printed Figures review on CollectionDX

Hey Monster Kolor,

Matt was cool enough to add this 3D printing section to the MK forum, so I figured I would start filling it up.  Since not everything is about me, I wanted to tell you guys about a new 3D printing based iOS app that I had the opportunity to review over on CollectionDX.  You can read my full Monstermatic for iOS review on CDX here.  Highlights are below:

Monstermatic features a pretty powerful design tool that allows you to customize your own monster figure using a variety of premade parts and options.  The figures are currently all built on the same body, but there are a lot of nice options for different face details, head wear, hands, and feet, with some specialized options for each kind of part.

Once you've made your character, you can interact with him through a number of different swipes, pokes, and gestures.  He's well animated and does some goofy stuff, plus you can make him talk by recording your own voice.

There's also a camera feature for placing your monster in the real world.  The quality's a little rough, but I love the idea.

Once you're done funning around, it's time to make your monster real.  You can order a 2" full color 3D printed figure through the app for $24.95 plus shipping.  The figures are printed by Sculpteo, an external service.

The finished printed figures are pretty great!  The full color figures are made by an additive manufacturing process known as 'binder jetting', where a movable inkjet nozzle deposits dots of colored binder (glue) in a plastic or sandstone substrate powder to build up the print.  The resolution is pretty good, but the finest of details did not show up on the body.  The color selection is quite good, and the colors are cleanly rendered on the figure.

I ended up with two different prints, and this second guy shows off some different colors and more subtle color blending effects between different areas.

Up close the prints look like sugar.  They are a bit grainy blown up to this scale, but in hand they are pretty clean looking.

I also made sure to do some comparison shots with different materials from other services.  The blue guy in the back is a print from My Robot Nation, a similar service for robot figures that came out a few years ago.  The improvement in quality between the old MRN print and the new Monstermatic figures done by Sculpteo is immediately obvious.  Both were made by the same process, probably on the same brand of machine, but a couple years has made the finished product much better looking.

3D printing is still in its infancy as a consumer product, and projects like this are great for demystifying additive manufacturing.  The app is really neat with all of its features outside of just buying the printed figure.  All the interactivity, friendly design, and camera app are great fun on their own.  The creation tool is intuitive enough that young kids will be able to make sense of it, and older users will appreciate the powerful options.  I did find the app got a little chuggy at times on my iPod Touch 5th gen, and the camera app takes a few seconds to load.  I also had a couple of crashes with the initial build of the app, but a subsequent update and an improved autosave feature for your creations seems to have resolved that problem.  I do wish the camera app was better, but I’m sure it’s something Mico Studio will continue to work on after talking to them.  I love this kind of thing and am glad to see more 3D printed toy efforts popping up.  Mico Studio has a great model here and I hope to see more cool projects from them!

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This...is pretty freakin' cool.  I keep on flipping on whether or not to take that plunge and get a 3D printer to add to the toy production.

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