by David Claus, Ph.D.
Though quite cool and no doubt the wave of the future, most of what you've heard about 3D printing has been a bit over-hyped (click HERE for an interesting narrative by a man who does it for a living). 3D printing, particularly the 3D printing of a man's penis, isn't quite as easy or straightforward as the media might have you think. In reality, it requires an impressive camera - one that can scan in three dimensions and is capable of creating a virtual model of any object, or sophisticated CAD/CAM software with a compatible camera and the know-how to use it. You'll also need a very EXPENSIVE 3D printer. The current, affordable consumer grade printers simply won’t cut it, as the build volume (or printable output size) is typically too small to print anything other than a very small object (perhaps a micro-penis).
Unless you have all of the above, you'll need to utilize a service that has the appropriate equipment and can take care of everything for you (contact firstname.lastname@example.org). Note that doing it this way will require traveling to a location away from home and allowing a technician take images of your erection, which is a bit inconvenient and could be a little uncomfortable. Sitting in a room and keeping an erection while a stranger takes a video or series of pictures of you isn't for everyone. The benefit to this method, though, is that you won't have to do anything else. Everything is taken care of from that point on. The cost is approximately $250.00, and like the Clone-A-Willy Kit, it'll take just a day to see your result. Your result will be a plastic copy of your manhood, basically true to size and shape, though not as detailed as you might like. If you're looking for a usable dildo, the object created from the 3D printer isn't going to be strong enough or even body-safe. For that, your 3D printed penis will need to be sent away to have a mold created from it. That mold will then be filled with silicone (or some other body-safe material), left to cure, and sent back to you. At that point, your finished, USABLE copy will be complete. The result is pretty good, but not as intricate as what you’d get from a direct mold and cast process. A 3D copy will contain layer lines (in 3D printing, each thin layer is printed one at a time, creating 'lines' in your finished piece), which will prevent much of the detail from coming through. Using a camera to catch every small line and vein is just not as precise as forming a mold directly from the actual body part, either. And the details are really what make copying your own (or your favorite) penis so cool. A copy that's the same size and shape as you, but doesn't have all the little quirks that make you unique, is just not as interesting or fun.
We'll continue working hard to improve and perfect the 3D penis printing process, but for now our recommendation is still to go with the original Clone-A-Willy Kit. It's quick, anonymous (do everything yourself from home), and the end result is far more precise.