Kopykat Brings 3-D Printing to Retail Sector

by Luke Jones  on Monday, Feb. 24, 2014 12:00 am  

Chris Walker of Kopykat 3D Printing in Fayetteville can recreate items for personal and business use. (Photo by Beth Hall)

You may have read elsewhere in this issue about QU-BD, Little Rock’s burgeoning manufacturer of affordable 3-D printers. But there’s another entrepreneur taking hold of the technology elsewhere in the state.

Chris Walker is a former journalist who opened Kopykat 3D Printing in Fayetteville in December.

His business comprises a 600-SF office, a 3-D printer and a 3-D scanner, and for a fee he can scan an object and recreate it in plastic. The printer creates an object by pumping strands of plastic through heated nozzles, building the object from the ground up, layer by minuscule layer.

Walker’s business is similar to the online-only company Shapeways, which allows users to upload computer designs and have them printed, then sent to their home. They can also purchase prints of existing designs uploaded to the site.

The difference is that Walker’s company provides a face-to-face experience and can aid in the designing process. An online company like Shapeways also can’t provide a scanning service.

“I see it as more of a service than a retail space,” Walker said.

Walker offers three services: printing, designing and scanning.

“If you come into my office, I can take my scanner and scan you, then print out a 3-D plastic model of you,” he said.

Beyond knick-knacks like phone cases, key chains and cookie cutters, many of Walker’s clients have had him print out prototype machine parts and other items that will go on to mass production.

“Most of it is pretty neat stuff,” he said. “But I’ve signed a nondisclosure … so I can’t be too specific.”

As an example of pricing, a 4-inch-tall replica of an average-sized person would cost around $40, he said.

Walker heard about 3-D printing the same way most of us probably did — via the Internet.



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