If you want to skip out on posing for photos during the next family vacation, do what Hauke Scheer plans to do — use a 3-D-printed version of yourself as a stand-in.
The Scheer family might let him get away with it, since the fully articulated action figure of himself that he created is a pretty good likeness. The quality of his miniature plastic doppelganger — and the geeky scheme to get out of family portraits — tell you something about Scheer, 39, who earns a living making 3-D-printed figures of mechanized whales and other crazy characters from his home in Frankfurt, Germany.
“I am a total geek with a huge collection of comics, science fiction and fantasy movies and, of course, action figures,” Scheer, who runs Deep Fried Figures, told Cult of Mac. “I started sculpting my own figures during my early teenage years at a time when lots of characters I loved were not available in figure form. After a while, I realized it was even more fun to make characters of my own.”
Greater access and affordability to 3-D printing is one of the biggest technological revolutions of this decade. 3-D printers are used in fashion, the making of cheaper prosthetic limbs, cars, bikes, firearms — even food.
Of course, the tech easily brings to life the child’s imagination that never left Scheer.
As a kid, he collected everything from Transformers and Star Wars figures to Masters of the Universe, Thundercats and Street Sharks.
Many of his custom action figures have shades of those childhood loves. His Mechawhales look like the spawn of whales and heavy construction trucks (breeding that is possible in a 3-D studio). The Mechawhales are the psychic good guys with powerful robot armor that are fighting to bring peace to a universe overrun by marauding aliens.
Having trouble picturing an alien-fighting whale? Scheer lays out the backstory in his Mechawhales animated shorts on YouTube.
When Scheer left for college and began considering careers, he initially resisted the heroic comic tales of his youth. He studied business administration in college, but afterward went to film school in Vancouver, where he learned 3-D animation and modeling.
He has freelance clients in advertising and computer games for 3-D modeling and animation, but mostly he makes a living producing action figures with some 30 points of articulation.
In addition to Mechawhales and other heroic characters from the Deep Fried Figures line, Scheer takes commissions to print figures for clients with original designs. The requests have kept him busy, he said.
The commissioned figures start at a couple hundred euros, Scheer said, but the price goes up depending on details, size and the number of joints.
To show off the sturdiness of his articulated figures, Scheer created a video of his own action figure reminiscent of a Chuck Norris action sequence.
Don’t let the receding hairline on the “Incredible Hauke,” so named by 3dprint.com, fool you. What Scheer’s “mini me” lacks in hair, he makes up for with moves and muscles.