Custom Mannequins: Why 3D Printing is a Low Cost, Super Fast Approach

March 23rd, 2018 by

custom mannequins

The team at Voodoo is always looking for new ways to bring your biggest and most creative ideas to life, and lately the ideas customers bring in have gotten even bigger: we’re talking life-size custom mannequins. With the recent launch of our Large-Format 3D Printing Service, custom 3D printed mannequins just got even faster and cheaper to make.

We sat down with Voodoo’s 3D design team to learn why 3D printing is the cheapest, fastest, and most scalable option for any and all life-size projects: custom mannequins, dress forms, statues, props, replicas – you name it.

Interested in creating your own custom 3D printed mannequin? Check out our microsite

Redefining “Custom” Mannequins

Building on the momentum of the 3D Printed Life Size Human project, which resulted in a 6’1” 3D printed replica of Voodoo co-founder, Jonathan Schwartz, our 3D designers recently set out to create a second Schwartz mannequin, this time with a new and improved modular design framework optimized for large-format 3D printing.

3D printed mannequin

“One of the goals in this redesign was establishing a robust, modular way of attaching the parts, that would still allow you to easily swap them in and out. The best part is we can apply this framework to any design or concept.” says Liam Pittman, one of the designers.

Liam and the Voodoo designers feel they’ve just begun exploring the potential of the system they’ve created. “So much of a mannequin is about representing a use case or scenario for a product. 3D printing provides a way to purposefully build your mannequin to communicate a specific idea. It can really be tailored to your needs” adds Liam.

3D printed custom mannequin

Another example of a custom mannequin designed, printed in 17 unique pieces, and assembled by the team at Voodoo. Like its predecessor, the Schwartz replica, this one stood just over 6 feet tall.

A Modular Design Framework Means Faster Manufacturing

The modular design framework developed by our 3D artists has some pretty interesting implications. A personal favorite? It can be applied to any design or concept, from mannequins of any species, to life-size statues depicting anyone ― or anything ― you can imagine. “It could even be as outlandish as not even human, right? You could apply this to animals, to creatures, you could apply it to robots if you wanted to.”

modular mannequin design

So, why is modularity so important when it comes to life-sized projects like custom mannequins? For starters, swapping parts in and out makes wardrobe changes a breeze, reducing incidental wear and tear on the mannequin itself.

Modularity also means faster manufacturing. Rather than trying to print out the entire body on a single printer, our modular design framework lets us parallelize the printing of each unique piece across our 200+ 3D printers. This means that with 3D design and printing, it’s possible to receive a bespoke mannequin in as little as three to four weeks – pretty fast for industry standards.

Large-Format Printing Cuts Costs… and Assembly Time

Thanks to our large-format 3D printers, Schwartz “2.0” was printed in 19 pieces, compared to the original’s 88 pieces, which makes for a stronger mannequin that’s easy to assemble.

mannequin redesign before and after

Better yet, using the large-format printers to fabricate big parts like mannequin components cuts overall cost due to printing fewer total parts. If you’re familiar with 3D printing, this means that fewer parts lead to fewer walls in the overall geometry of the assembled mannequin. In turn, this favorably affects material volume, which ultimately contributes to the final cost.

Investing in a custom mannequin can help your brand stand out, but it’s not exactly easy on the wallet. For those less familiar with the industry, large mannequin suppliers typically require minimum quantities of 50 or more, while boutique custom shops can cost upward of $10,000 for a single mannequin. As a result, most buyers end up settling for an off-the-shelf model.

With our 3D design team’s modular framework, you can get all the benefits (and more!) of a boutique-style mannequin, but for a fraction of the cost. In general, our custom 3D printed mannequins start at around $4,000 or $5,000 including design fees.

Mannequin suppliers comparison chart

Captivate Your Target Audience

Custom mannequins help to tell your product’s story, and 3D printing provides a way to purposefully build a mannequin tailored to your needs so you can make a lasting impression on discerning, selective audiences: from yoga, biking, and running, to plus size, luxury, streetwear, maternity, bridal, kids, and pets ― to name just a few. Our end-to-end pipeline for economically creating custom mannequins provides an entry point, making the process of fabricating life-size forms as affordable, flexible, and scalable as possible.

Visit our microsite to learn more about Voodoo’s custom 3D printed mannequins, or contact our sales team to get started creating your own mannequin today.

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