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Fansea creates virtual and 3D printed memorabilia using Mimaki technology

Industrial Solutions

In 2020, through a combined keen interest in cryptocurrency, innovation and football, Alexander Schlicher founded 3D asset creator Fansea. Operating almost entirely in the digital world, Fansea gives avid sports fans and gamers the chance to own a digital clone of an iconic artifact, through scanning and digitalising real world objects. The user can then either keep this as a collectible, have their digital avatar wear it in virtual spaces or collect and trade it on NFT marketplaces – and more recently, physically own it as a 3D printed model.

The company has produced numerous 3D assets with notable names to celebrate iconic moments in the sporting and gaming world, for example recreating Argentina’s 2022 World Cup winning team’s shirts and German Olympian Sabrina Mockenhaupt’s running shoe. The Frankfurt based company also offers other digital services, such as metaverse consulting, to help organisations create a digital presence and rebuild websites in preparation for an increasingly digital future.

While initially specialising in digital items, Fansea saw the value of bringing these artifacts into the real world. And so, in 2022, Alexander and his team set out to find a technology to bridge the gap between the virtual and physical by offering customers photorealistic, 3D copies of their digital assets.

In their search, they were introduced to the Mimaki 3DUJ-553 by the digital printing system and accessories provider, DP Solutions. As one of the world’s first full colour 3D printers with over 10 million colours at its disposal, Mimaki’s UV curable inkjet 3D printer proved up to task when it came to recreating highly detailed, complex models in various sizes – from the 3D mini print to full size.

‘We wanted something like the replicator from Star Trek,’ explained Alexander Schlicher. ‘We tried other 3D printers on the market, but Mimaki’s quality was by far the best. While we could have had our items printed cheaply and in larger qualities, our focus is on creating bespoke high quality collectibles for our customers, so it was important that we had the quality that only Mimaki was able to deliver.’

The mass production of miniature models or toys is common, however, Fansea opted for 3D printing rather than traditional production methods to bypass the time consuming and prone to inaccuracies process of painting each item. Additionally, the 3DUJ-553 was able to accurately bring the individual qualities of each item directly from the screen to the model, allowing Fansea to capture every tear, every crinkle, every spot of dirt on a world cup winning shirt or shoe worn in a boxing fight.

The 3DUJ-553 allows the company to create highly detailed and colourful models, with the added ability to mix clear and coloured inks to achieve the desired transparency. Each model is printed with a water soluble support material, enabling high levels of detail without the usual concerns over breakage, and can easily be removed.

Once printed, each model is treated with pigmented photopolymer resin and protective lacquer to create ensure a durable and high quality finish. Alongside a limited edition virtual and physical item, the customers also receive a certificate of authenticity protected by blockchain technology.


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