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Article by Paul Gentile
You can be the pilot of your own RC airplane!
Supplemental article to 3D Printing for Aeromodeling in the October 2013
Model Aviation.

For any model aviation enthusiast, the Toledo R/C Expo is a highlight of the year and this year was no exception. One vendor that received a lot of attention was 3D FigureWorks. The cpmpany had the ultimate scale detail: you!

3D FigureWorks makes 3-D prints of people and can take your image and turn it into a scale figure to put into your model. 3D FigureWorks offers custom, high-definition, full-color products that feature exact, realistic likeness of people.

You can choose from one of the stock items or create a fully customized piece. As for size, 3D FigureWorks can print small enough to put yourself on a LEGO Minifigure or large enough for your Giant Scale model.

The process starts with you sitting in the special photo booth that takes simultaneous photos from nearly every angle imaginable. Those images are digitally stitched to a 3-D model of you. The 3D FigureWorks team can customize any detail you want, such as adding various components such as David Clark headphones, or adding a specific pilot outfits, or even adding hair where there once was some.

3D FigureWorks uses a z650 3-D printer made by 3D Systems. The z650 is not a hobby-type printer; it is a machine for serious business. It works in a similar manner to an inkjet printer, however, instead of printing ink onto paper, this 3-D printer spreads a fine layer of powder over a build tray then prints colored glue onto the powder. The process repeats, one layer after another, until eventually the machine produces a 3-D object.

After the printer completes the print, all that is left to do is dust off residual powder and dip the item into a hardening fluid that strengthens the material and brightens the color. When the final product is complete it is nothing short of amazing.

The entire production process is technical, but to put it simply, this is a super cool way to make just about anything and you can be the pilot of your own RC airplane!

George Walrath is one of the founders of 3D FigureWorks. He told me that the company’s mission is to “create never-seen-before products, deliver high-quality services, and amaze with a wow experience!” I would say the team is right on track.

You can contact 3D FigureWorks at or stop in and see the company in St. Charles, Illinois.

—Paul Gentile

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