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3D Printing a full color bobblehead of yourself

Date:2016-12-06 Hits:3018

3D Printing a full color bobblehead of yourself

3D Printing a full color bobblehead of yourself

In this Instructable, I will show you how to create your own 3D printed bobblehead. Very much like the one you see aboveI made of myself. I just attached it to the body of SF Giant Hunter Pence's bobblehead (you can see his head ripped off in the background).

First we use 123D Catch to capture a nice model of whoever we want to create a bobblehead of.

Then we use Meshmixer to clean up the capture and cut out a cylindrical cavity I made with 123D Design for the spring to attach to the inside bottom of the head. We'll only 3D print the head part and reuse an existing body.

Each of these apps can be found for free at

Step 1: Create a 3D model of your head using 123D Catch

Create a 3D model of your head using 123D Catch

123D Catch is free and can be found here: It is available on iPhone/iPad, Android, Windows Phone and tablets, and as a PC version. The benefit of using the desktop PC version is that you can use your own camera and you are not bound to the app on the device.

Creating a 3D model with 123D Catch can be easy. Basically you shoot a sequence of overlapping photographs as you move around the person. For example, I'll shoot 20 photos or so in small increments in a full 360 degree loop to ensure I get full coverage. I may shoot some additional top-down angles to get the top of the head.

It can take some practice/redos, to capture a good model of a person's head. Sometimes I have to reshoot them a second or third time.
The biggest challenge is having the subject remain perfectly still.
Here are some tips for capturing a live person's head:

Things to tell your subject when shooting photos:
• Sit down (to eliminate balance movement).
• Close jaw to avoid subtle face movements.
• Comfortably focus eyes on a distant point.
• Blink between shots.
• Channel their inner mannequin

Things you can do:
•Shoot sharp, well framed photographs, oh but quickly!
•Put pieces of masking tape around the chest, shoulders, neck, and back of head. (These features help 123D Catch reconstruct the model)
•Frame your subject from just below the chest and up. The more context the better the model will come out.
•If you see your model move their face, even slightly, just start over and tell them the above points.

Some other things to be aware of:
Photo Coverage: Catch must be able to “see” everything that you want to create a Capture of. Make sure you take enough photographs. Don’t have too much space in between shots. When shooting a person I try balance this and shoot the least amount of photos to eliminate the chance of them moving. Typically 20-25 in a loop framing their chest upwards, making sure to get under their chin. Then, 5-10 from top-down angle to get the top of the head. I found I get best results if I start on the side profile of the face and make my way across the face first. Then I stop just short of where I started as reshooting the face causes distortions (yes they moved, even if they said they didn't). This works great, just make sure to get plenty of overlap and top/bottom angles as you move the one loop around the person.
Blurry Photos: Blurry photos will confuse 123D Catch
Lighting: Poorly lit scenes will cause problems for 123D Catch, as well as irregular lighting (like strong back-lighting).