DOOB 3D will open a storefront at Chelsea Market this weekend, but the real heart of the U.S. branch of the company is in Industry City, Sunset Park. That’s where all the scans the 3D-printing outfit makes in its stores get turned into full color, super detailed 3D prints, using advanced units from 3D Systems.
The prints are impressive to look at, Michael Anderson, CEO of DOOB USA, will grant you that. But DOOB’s true advance isn’t in the printing, it’s in the scanning.
DOOB’s proprietary scanners can capture a 3D image in a fraction of a second. So fast, in fact, that you can make a 3D scan of living creatures that don’t understand they’re being scanned. Such as pets. Or babies. A couple can be scanned together, catching a moment when they are both laughing.
“3D figures are really just the first application of our technology,” Anderson said, explaining that DOOB is already working with companies on medical applications in Germany, where the company originated.
Anderson can foresee other applications, such as the ability to “try on” 3D replicas of clothes on an actual 3D scan of a person’s body. He can also imagine a day when gamers could drop 3D scans of themselves into games, to serve as their own avatar.
Anderson said the four-year-old company also has considerable depth in 3D printing technology and will be pursuing an additional vertical, working with companies to find solutions to supply chain problems using 3D printing and imagine expertise.
DOOB already has a few storefronts open around the world. Anderson says that people quickly grasp the technology and begin to use it to capture life events. Such as a new baby or beginning school or engagements.
Having examined a couple of the scans up close, they are extremely detailed.
It’s also striking that they come out in color. The surface is much rougher than what you might be used to from the toys you get at stores, but you can’t really see the roughness when you look at them.
Borough President Eric Adams was instrumental in settling DOOB in Brooklyn. Anderson had been working with the German founders previously, and when he came to the U.S., he had originally thought he would set up in Manhattan’s Garment District. Adams’ office showed him that Brooklyn is where 3D printing is really evolving. Anderson also credited Industry City with working closely with him to find a space that worked.
The company has five people working New York City, and twelve across the country. Globally, Anderson estimated that DOOB employs about 80. He thinks the Brooklyn operation should grow by five or so people quarterly, for at least the next several quarters. When we were there, the space had piles of boxes of scans of Uniqlo customers who had volunteered to be scanned in the stores. The reproductions were getting shipped out to Uniqlo stores for upcoming holiday displays.
To get a 3D reproduction made at the smallest side costs about $95. The price goes up about $100 for every two inches in height. All the scans are printed out and shipped from Brooklyn.