Create Your Own 3D Printed Bobble Head Doll from Mixee Labs
Mixee Labs is one of our favorite 3D printing startups. With new announcements every few months, this company is one of the fastest innovating in the industry. Mixee has launched jewelry, cufflinks, dog bone tags, slim wallets, and figurines.
Today, Mixee Labs announces a new product: 3D printed bobblers. Yes, bobble head dolls with your own face.
Mixee Bobblers are the world’s first customizable, fully 3D printed bobble heads. Unlike other custom bobble head services, with Mixee Labs everything is automatic via their online creator. You select hair styles, facial expressions, and see the results immediately in 3D before you purchase. If you don’t see some graphic you want, contact Mixee Labs and they add it to their design tool for free.
We caught up with Nancy Yi Liang, co-founder of Mixee Labs for an interview.
On 3D Printing: It looks like you are reviving the original figurines. Was this based on customer demand?
Nancy Yi Liang: Yes! A lot of customers have commented that the Mixee Me original figurines look like bobble heads. It’s actually a very good description. They are fun, cute, cartoon caricatures with big heads. However, we’d always have to add on almost apologetically.. “except the Mixee Mes don’t bobble.” Well, one day we thought, “why shouldn’t they bobble?” So we got to work designing a bobble head version.
On 3D Printing: Was it a challenge to design bobblers that could be customized? How much more complicated are they to 3D print than the original figurines?
Nancy Yi Liang: This was indeed more challenging than the original figurines, or really any static, non-moving models. There were a few things that were tricky:
1) Springiness: we wanted just the right amount of springiness. It had to have a bounce that lasts for a few seconds at least. So getting the right about of bounce took a few iterations. I attached a picture of the range of springs we tried. We thought about using pre-made, mass produced springs. But, we love the simplicity of 3d printing (print on demand, no inventory, etc.) and we believe this can show just some other applications for 3d printed materials.
2) Getting everything to fit together. We wanted to design a spring that could just insert into the bobble head, no screwdrivers, no glue, just plug and play. So we had to get the tolerances right and account for the slight variations from one print to another. We actually had some help from a community member, Asher, who is only a freshmen in high school! He gave us a few ideas that eventually led to the current design.
3) Balance. When you make a bobble head go, you’re applying external pressure on the object. So the object has to be stable. We added a bigger base to the figurines and made the head a little smaller. Our original Mixee Me had a bigger head, which ended up toppling over when you perched it on a spring and flicked it. The new head works amazingly well!
Below is a photo gallery showcasing the Mixee Bobblers.
Mixee Labs is selling bobblers for $25 each, as compared with prices ranging from $70 to $200 on other sites. These figurines are 2.5 inches (6.5 cm) tall and are fully 3D printed in sandstone and nylon plastic.
Visit Mixee Labs to create your own 3D printed bobbler.