This Dallas Startup Transforms Memories Into 3D Models

Shrink3d uses 3D scanning technology to convert a 360 photograph into a full color figurine. Now, it's opened its first pop-up shop in Frisco at Stonebriar Mall.

Founder Shahrukh Lalani launched Shrink3d in May 2017 by using sandstone to print full-color 3D figurines. Since then, its audience has grown from 500 to 3 million people. 

“My goal was to be an entrepreneur,” Lalani told Dallas Innovates. “I was researching different ideas, and I had some experience 3D printing. I saw that this technology existed where you can create figurines. But, I wanted to figure out a way to take it to the crowd—I had done a lot of research, and with this type of product, it doesn’t do a picture justice until you see the 3D print.”

In just three seconds, Shrink3d can take 174 pictures of someone, then transform those images into 3D models.

“In terms of speed and quality, our quality is top-notch,” he says. “But, in order to get that quality, we have to put a lot of time into the product. Our scanner just takes 2D pictures, and then we convert that into a 3D model.”

[Photo: Courtesy Shrink3d]

Shrink3d can transform memories into 3D keepsakes, whether it be of someone getting engaged, participating in a cheerleading competition, or anything in between. He says tech for 3D scanning had previously existed, but what he’s doing is more affordable and available nationwide.

The figurines, which range from three to nine inches tall, have found their home in a number of places, including on top of wedding cakes. 

“I didn’t even think of the cake topper idea,” Lalani says. “Someone came into the [State] Fair, and they were like, ‘Oh we’re going to use this as our cake topper.’ That’s when it all opened up. So now, we market it on The Knot and other wedding websites.”

Along with figurines, Shrink3d also converts 3D models into bottle stoppers, LEGO heads, and business card holders. Shrink3d can make its creations based on people coming into its Dallas studio for a 360-degree photo shoot or customers can take a 360-degree video of themselves and send it in.

“Just send us a video from one side to the other and we’ll print it out,” Lalani says. “It’s very accurate doing it that way. We wanted a product that we can sell nationwide and market on Facebook and Instagram. Even with all the orders we get, we can do it and ship it anywhere.”

[Photo: Courtesy Shrink3d]

For those who would rather have a figurine of their four-legged friend, Shrink3d can do that, too—no matter how big they are.

“We’ve had a champion steer at the Stock Show. And this thing weighed, I don’t know, 1,500 pounds. And, we had a pig there, and it was like 400 pounds,” says Lalani.

Lalani has sold the Shrink3d products at a range of events, including cheerleading competitions, comic cons, and fair.

“One of the philosophies that I’ve put in is, you don’t know until you try it. I would have never guessed when the first person asked me to come to a cheerleading competition how big it was going to be because I was never exposed to that,” says Lalani. “We tried it, and it’s one of our biggest events now. So we never say no to an event if it’s a new concept for us, and will always try it out.”

Along with Shrink3d’s Dallas studio, the 3D models are also currently being made at Shrink3d’s Frisco pop-up shop in Stonebriar Mall. 

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