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The Moralities of Using 3D Printing and Recasting

#1 User is offline   Doom Saber 

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Posted 18 August 2013 - 04:16 PM

I was reading an article on Kotaku about an individual who received a "Cease and Desist" letter from Square Enix after selling printed Final Fantasy 7 figures using Shapeways. According to the CNET article that Kotaku linked for further reading, the individual didn't designed the models of the figurine himself. He simply used a 3D model extraction app to pull out the models from the game where he would then modify a bit to reduce cost.

Here is the original article if interested:
http://kotaku.com/sq...ut-o-1160491860

I think the article is an interesting read because it shows that we are at a point where anyone can take 3d files and make 3d figures out of them. While Square Enix is a mega corporation that some may seem as evil, I think they did the right thing. If not, I am sure there would be many other "artists" down the road that would the do same thing by taking game files from a game and make figures out of it for a profit. While I heard that artists do not make much when selling goods through Shapeways, I am sure the artist making the FF7 figures was making a profit as his figures were selling like hotcakes.

Now that brings up another incident that involves recasting. A few months ago, a popular toy sculptor who makes 1/6 prototypes for companies such as Sideshow and NECA was peeved when someone on ebay took his headsculpts of figures he did on the side and sold it for a profit - the toy sculptor used to make unofficial headsculpts of popular tv characters such as Dexter from Dexter and Watt from Breaking Bad and sell to fans as a limited run. Ever since the ebay seller made recasts of his Jack Burton headsculpt, the sculptor stopped making unofficial headsculpts for fans. The only way to get his sculpt is to buy figures that are sold officially by Sideshow and NECA.

Unlike other scale lines, the key piece of a 1/6 fig is the head. The reason being is that 1/6 figures use bucks which can be obtained everywhere. However, it is the head (and a lesser extent, clothes) makes a figure a particular character.

While I do think 3d printing services like Shapeways and recast sites like Casting Cave are good sites to modify and make customs, I think using printing/recasting services to make full figures (or heads if we are talking about 1/6 scale figures) as a profit is a big no no. While I am sure Casting Cave makes a profit selling recasted heads, the heads are limited and are mostly for fans who wants to make customs. On the other hand, other casting sites (which I won't name) was clearly casting items in full to make a profit. I recall this casting site had figures of the Transformers Headmasters heads in full color for 25 dollars a piece - the same amount a real one cost at the time. What are other people's opinions on the matter?

#2 User is offline   GuitarDevil 

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Posted 18 August 2013 - 08:29 PM

I find this whole new realm of possibility fascinating, when the process becomes cheaper & readier available then the true storm should break out. This is only the beginning headache for Corporations & Fringe Artists & Company's. But one fact is undeniable if you don't want to give the fans what they want...someone else will step up to help fill the holes in someones collection. Right now 3rd party companies seem to have a good foothold in the industry. Soo the frustration of not finding what were looking for on the Pegs or Online Stores only confirms this may be the way to fill the holes in one's collection. It may not make it right but $$ talks & companies sleeping on the job who assume they will always be the dominating forces behind toy lines will have to wake up or lose their monopolies. The market is changing & fans like myself are tired of "SUBS" & "Exclusives" amongst other frustrating reasons why I can't find what I'm looking for. Well if Black-Market Bob want's to sell me that Motu Ram-man I missed then who am I to argue w/what I want. If the quality is good I'll bite. Either way its a new & interesting development in the Collecting Game....

#3 User is offline   Doom Saber 

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Posted 18 August 2013 - 09:20 PM

View PostGuitarDevil, on 18 August 2013 - 08:29 PM, said:

I find this whole new realm of possibility fascinating, when the process becomes cheaper & readier available then the true storm should break out. This is only the beginning headache for Corporations & Fringe Artists & Company's. But one fact is undeniable if you don't want to give the fans what they want...someone else will step up to help fill the holes in someones collection. Right now 3rd party companies seem to have a good foothold in the industry. Soo the frustration of not finding what were looking for on the Pegs or Online Stores only confirms this may be the way to fill the holes in one's collection. It may not make it right but $$ talks & companies sleeping on the job who assume they will always be the dominating forces behind toy lines will have to wake up or lose their monopolies. The market is changing & fans like myself are tired of "SUBS" & "Exclusives" amongst other frustrating reasons why I can't find what I'm looking for. Well if Black-Market Bob want's to sell me that Motu Ram-man I missed then who am I to argue w/what I want. If the quality is good I'll bite. Either way its a new & interesting development in the Collecting Game....



Interesting. I think the difference between companies like Hasbro and Mattel and others like third party companies is that the former are required to follow US safety laws. While it is true that such laws wouldn't prevent a Ram-Man being made, but I think with a line as intricate as an adult Transformers line, going by regulations such as the drop test are needed even if they are sold to adults. In addition, I think there are more risk involved when a company like Hasbro test the waters with an updated Predaking figure as oppose to a small Third Party company like Maketoys - the latter makes limited run figures and do not have to conform with big toy companies like Toys R Us to sell product. That said, third party companies are filling gaps that big companies like Hasbro has no plans of filling.

The problem I see with Third Party companies is if they become out of control to the point of all the companies making the same figure, hence calling a competition among each other. I think we are seeing that right now with the constant combiner third party figures. At first, it was neat to see third party companies making figures people want, now we are seeing each other copying one another in making figures. There is also the notion that Third Party companies can kill off companies who own the brands officially. I don't think Hasbro nor Mattel will go out of business because of Third Party companies, but I do think smaller companies that are starting off can die. This goes back to the Final Fantasy low polygon case. If Square didn't issue a "Cease and Desist" after the guy revealed that he made more Final Fantasy figures, there would be more ppl following his footsteps by taking data from games and printing them into actual figures. Square might not be affected by it, but a company that makes Indie games would certainly be affected - if they want to make figurines, they have to compete with someone else who used their data without permission. I am glad that Square put an end to that since it sure would make things harder for the little guy.

I think what originally prompted the influx of all these Third Part companies coming out of the woodwork was Hasbro's original position on the stance. If I am not mistaken, they weren't peeved when Rabid Squirrel Productions (a small US company) made the first Third Party, fully-transforming Acree figure. In fact, they didn't even stop them. I think once Fanproject made the Ultra Magnus classics kit is when other third party companies started to follow suit. When Hasbro tried to issue a Cease and Desist, it was already too late.

At the end of the day, these are toys and I think once people are starting to make money off of other people's property with little effort is becomes a problem. The difference with the Third Party TF toys and the Final Fantasy guy is that the former are talented in making toys. The latter just used data that was already there.

#4 User is offline   FUGAYZIE 

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Posted 19 August 2013 - 03:35 PM

if someone wants to make a figure for them self, that does not bother me. it would be like recording a bunch of songs off the radio and making your own mixed tape. the key to that is "personal use". but when people start mass producing items, that's where the problem lies.

for starters, they (those printing) are stealing. they are using the likes of a property to mass produce and profit for themselves. second, they arent even creating it themselves, they are using a company file to print the figures, so it's not like they are even putting any work into it. for example, a customizer makes 10 of the same custom deadpool figure to sell for profit. yes it is still illeagle but at least the person is putting in a lot of time and effort, and buying the parts from the toy companies to create a piece of art. each custom figure may have taken that person 10 hours to make. where as the other person printed 50 figures in the same time it took theif #1 to make just 2.

this whole 3D printing (while very cool) is a big can of worms if you ask me. there is going to be LOTS of trouble from this around the world once it becomes cheaper and more accessable like GD said.

#5 User is offline   JoeRhyno 

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Posted 19 August 2013 - 03:48 PM

I agree with Fugie... if he was making them and posting them for his collection and then they were popular and then SQ/Enix slapped him with the C&D.. then yeah, I can see it being a dumb move on their part.. but he's using their 3D models and all that, then selling them, that's a no-no.. The guy should have just made a bunch and sold them on messageboards or something like that.

#6 User is offline   Doom Saber 

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Posted 19 August 2013 - 11:03 PM

View PostJoeRhyno, on 19 August 2013 - 03:48 PM, said:

I agree with Fugie... if he was making them and posting them for his collection and then they were popular and then SQ/Enix slapped him with the C&D.. then yeah, I can see it being a dumb move on their part.. but he's using their 3D models and all that, then selling them, that's a no-no.. The guy should have just made a bunch and sold them on messageboards or something like that.


What I believe happened was that the guy's ego went up when websites such as Kotaku started to talk about his products - from reading the CNET article, it is implied that the guy originally made the figures for himself. Once the media caught wind of it, and people started to order the figures like crazy, he decided to rip more models from the game and make money. While it is said that the margins that a merchant on Shapeways makes on the site is low, the guy must have had thousands of buyers, which would be a hefty sum of cash.

#7 User is offline   Doom Saber 

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Posted 19 August 2013 - 11:12 PM

View PostFUGAYZIE, on 19 August 2013 - 03:35 PM, said:

if someone wants to make a figure for them self, that does not bother me. it would be like recording a bunch of songs off the radio and making your own mixed tape. the key to that is "personal use". but when people start mass producing items, that's where the problem lies.

for starters, they (those printing) are stealing. they are using the likes of a property to mass produce and profit for themselves. second, they arent even creating it themselves, they are using a company file to print the figures, so it's not like they are even putting any work into it. for example, a customizer makes 10 of the same custom deadpool figure to sell for profit. yes it is still illeagle but at least the person is putting in a lot of time and effort, and buying the parts from the toy companies to create a piece of art. each custom figure may have taken that person 10 hours to make. where as the other person printed 50 figures in the same time it took theif #1 to make just 2.

this whole 3D printing (while very cool) is a big can of worms if you ask me. there is going to be LOTS of trouble from this around the world once it becomes cheaper and more accessable like GD said.


Figures for thems are fine. There is no problem with that. Even when a sculptor like the guy who works at a toy company making heads he wants for himself, but then making a limited run of 20-50 on message boards like the 1/6 forums I visit would be okay since it isn't enough for major companies like Square to go after that person. But what the guy did with mass marketing the FF7 figures is wrong.

I agree that those who print it are the ones stealing if they were aware of it. With Shapeways, they are a bit of a grey area company. Currently, they print anything as long as the data files are that of the user despite what happened with the FF7 figures - Shapeways faq says that they only print files that the user created. However, because of this incident and maybe more in the future, I am sure they are going to implement a rule where they do not print any copyrighted material at all. At my first job, I worked at an online service site(which is no longer around) where we make goods for the customers after they submit a photo. Even though in our faqs that we stated that we do not print copyrighted works, people still submit them. We do look out for those to make sure they don't get made for obvious reasons. I think Shapeways will eventually enforce their "no copyright" rule down the road

#8 User is offline   synch 

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Posted 20 August 2013 - 01:23 AM

WOnder if it will get to the point where we just buy the designs for the 3d printer & simply print out the toys we want @loll@ heck i give it 5 years before fans are making & designing there own MP transformers figures lol

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Posted 20 August 2013 - 08:54 AM

We can revive this thread when most people can afford this new technology... I think 5 years sounds about right...

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Posted 21 August 2013 - 12:15 AM

View PostNguyen_Dragon, on 20 August 2013 - 08:54 AM, said:

We can revive this thread when most people can afford this new technology... I think 5 years sounds about right...

We sure can! We can also use this thread in the present to talk about other related issues such as recasting certain parts.

Recasting is something that is technically illegal if one makes copies and sells it, but such business practices isn't enforced unless a figure that is recast is a complete action figure made by a major toy company. Still, recasting is popular especially in Asia where statues are recast and sold at more affordable prices.

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Posted 21 August 2013 - 09:19 AM

View PostDoom Saber, on 21 August 2013 - 12:15 AM, said:

View PostNguyen_Dragon, on 20 August 2013 - 08:54 AM, said:

We can revive this thread when most people can afford this new technology... I think 5 years sounds about right...

We sure can! We can also use this thread in the present to talk about other related issues such as recasting certain parts.

Recasting is something that is technically illegal if one makes copies and sells it, but such business practices isn't enforced unless a figure that is recast is a complete action figure made by a major toy company. Still, recasting is popular especially in Asia where statues are recast and sold at more affordable prices.


I hear people can make their own guns with this technology... I am not sure about the future of the human race if this is true...

#12 User is offline   synch 

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Posted 21 August 2013 - 04:28 PM

View PostNguyen_Dragon, on 21 August 2013 - 09:19 AM, said:

View PostDoom Saber, on 21 August 2013 - 12:15 AM, said:

View PostNguyen_Dragon, on 20 August 2013 - 08:54 AM, said:

We can revive this thread when most people can afford this new technology... I think 5 years sounds about right...

We sure can! We can also use this thread in the present to talk about other related issues such as recasting certain parts.

Recasting is something that is technically illegal if one makes copies and sells it, but such business practices isn't enforced unless a figure that is recast is a complete action figure made by a major toy company. Still, recasting is popular especially in Asia where statues are recast and sold at more affordable prices.


I hear people can make their own guns with this technology... I am not sure about the future of the human race if this is true...


I wonder how durable stuff made from 3d printers really is ...

#13 User is offline   synch 

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Posted 26 August 2013 - 02:01 AM

you know maybe i was off on my timeline ... maybe 10 years ... perhaps in 5 you will see them in stores like walmart that you can pay to use or something hmmm ?.. the entire gun thing makes me wonder if they won't have some sort of restricted laws on this sort of thing

#14 User is offline   JoeRhyno 

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Posted 25 October 2013 - 01:06 PM

Lets keep the posts about printed action figures. Please lets not get into any political posts about guns or firearms. Keep on topic, last warning to everyone in this thread.

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Posted 25 October 2013 - 09:52 PM

View PostJoeRhyno, on 25 October 2013 - 01:06 PM, said:

Lets keep the posts about printed action figures. Please lets not get into any political posts about guns or firearms. Keep on topic, last warning to everyone in this thread.



Thank you, Joe. I hate to see my thread getting derailed to something political again.

#16 User is offline   Lady Jaye 

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Posted 01 November 2013 - 09:16 PM

Ill finally have a complete DC Universe That will stand next to my DCUC!!! To hell with Matty!!

#17 User is offline   GuitarDevil 

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Posted 04 November 2013 - 05:51 PM

I could see some 3rd Party Pirate making an S-load of $$ reprinting some Horde Troopers........


#18 User is offline   JoeRhyno 

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Posted 04 November 2013 - 05:56 PM

A fully articulated 7" Horde Trooper would probably take a week to print and cost about $75-$100 in plastic... After you factor in the cleaning up, assembling and painting... I don't see someone making $$ off printing one, lol.

#19 User is offline   GuitarDevil 

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Posted 04 November 2013 - 09:10 PM

Time will tell JR.....time will tell.....just need a few more years so the process can become easier & affordable....I can wait, seein as how Mattel's stance is pretty much a one shot deal on the figs.....

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Posted 05 November 2013 - 04:21 PM

View Postsynch, on 20 August 2013 - 01:23 AM, said:

heck i give it 5 years before fans are making & designing there own MP transformers figures lol


In five years it will be cheaper to buy a 3D printer than it will be to buy a case of four 6" action figures.

I've seen those 3D printers in action when I brought 4th graders to a field trip in which they got to make their own rockets. They designed their tail fins on a 3D computer program and then printed them up. I had never see that done before and it was pretty cool, the kids loved it. In the hallway of the building we were at were some other 3D printings displayed...probably done by the people that worked there. One was a TIE Fighter.

I agree that this technology is only going to get better and more readily available as time goes one. I predict this will cause a lot of discussion over copyright issues and so forth as more and more people get their hands on it. It's going to be interesting to see what happens with this stuff down the road.

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Posted 05 November 2013 - 04:45 PM

If it'll bring figures of characters like John Marston and Max Payne, I'm all for it.

#22 User is offline   Doom Saber 

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Posted 06 November 2013 - 01:34 AM

In the 1/6 community, 3D printing is used a lot to make custom items. For instance, a few people there who couldn't sculpt now uses 3d printing to make customs of popular tv show characters and sell it on the forums.

For instance, a there is a Doctor Who 1/6 thread where a guy would get 3D artists to make and print custom heads. Some of them are great:


Posted Image
3D art

Posted Image
Painted Prototype

#23 User is offline   Doom Saber 

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Posted 06 November 2013 - 01:42 AM

View Postyojoebro82, on 05 November 2013 - 04:21 PM, said:

View Postsynch, on 20 August 2013 - 01:23 AM, said:

heck i give it 5 years before fans are making & designing there own MP transformers figures lol


In five years it will be cheaper to buy a 3D printer than it will be to buy a case of four 6" action figures.

I've seen those 3D printers in action when I brought 4th graders to a field trip in which they got to make their own rockets. They designed their tail fins on a 3D computer program and then printed them up. I had never see that done before and it was pretty cool, the kids loved it. In the hallway of the building we were at were some other 3D printings displayed...probably done by the people that worked there. One was a TIE Fighter.

I agree that this technology is only going to get better and more readily available as time goes one. I predict this will cause a lot of discussion over copyright issues and so forth as more and more people get their hands on it. It's going to be interesting to see what happens with this stuff down the road.


Think the step that people do not realize is that the figure needs to be cleaned up. 3D printing as it is now produces a figure with a rough surface that requires sanding and casting if one wants to make them presentable. Here is a URL that explains the printing process (not for guys who are insecure of their masculinity):

http://www.dannychoo...g+in+Japan.html

#24 User is offline   JoeRhyno 

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Posted 06 November 2013 - 09:21 PM

Looked through that guy's blog and at the end he said it cost him around $1,000 just for his prototype figures. That's not even counting the costs that went into later molding and casting the figures. So yeah, I guess if you have Amazon.com stock options to cash in like he did, then go for it, lol.. but again, I still think for us arm-chair collectors, it's still a good 5-10 years away.

#25 User is offline   Doom Saber 

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Posted 06 November 2013 - 10:56 PM

View PostJoeRhyno, on 06 November 2013 - 09:21 PM, said:

Looked through that guy's blog and at the end he said it cost him around $1,000 just for his prototype figures. That's not even counting the costs that went into later molding and casting the figures. So yeah, I guess if you have Amazon.com stock options to cash in like he did, then go for it, lol.. but again, I still think for us arm-chair collectors, it's still a good 5-10 years away.


Yeah, I can see that. What I was trying to say is that digital printing doesn't equate to instant mass market bootlegs like some people here are suggesting even 5 to 10 years. I do think the technology will be cheaper by then, but I do think something complex like mass producing figures would still have to undergo molding and casting unless one wants a rough-looking toy.

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