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3D Photocopiers

Business communication is constantly evolving. With the invention of the first photocopier, communication has taken place in 2 dimensions or 2D. 2D photocopying, faxing and printing became the norm. Advancements in technology paved the way for digital photocopiers and multifunction printers. These multifunctionals can copy, print, scan, fax and send emails. They are also capable of “hands-free“ photocopying. Then 3D became popular. We can watch a movie in 3D. We can watch TV in 3D. Presentations are made in 3D so it’s only expected to see the photocopier joining the bandwagon.

Do 3D Photocopiers Exist?

It seems 3D is the wave of the future. 3D photocopying is still a fairly new concept to many because let’s face it. It’s really hard to imagine a photocopier being able to print a 3D image. So, do 3D photocopiers really exist? Let’s find out.

The First 3D Photocopier

The first 3D photocopier was presented to the public by Toshiba at the IFA Exhibition for Consumer Electronics. The event was held in Berlin, Germany in 2008. This was an interesting and revolutionary new product that may change the way people make copies forever. According to the head of Toshiba’s  research team, consumers will be able to create 3D photocopies in their own home.

How it Works

First, the object to be copied was placed upon a patterned piece of paper. It is then placed inside the machine. The machine will then take photos of the object from several different angles or 360 degrees. The software will then display the photocopied image on the computer screen.

Photosimilie 5000

The Photosimilie 5000 is the breakthrough invention of the company Ortery. This device is hailed as the next generation imaging device for the office. It is the world’s first fully integrated 3D photocopying machine. It incorporates Silverlight technology using a simple point and click operation. Aside from still photography, this device can generate hemispherical Flash animations and 360 degree Flash animations. It creates not only professional but impressive business communications.

This 3D photocopier was originally exhibited in 2008 during the International CES conference held in Las Vegas. It literally creates full dimension copies of 3D objects placed inside it. It is made up of a PC-controlled light box and lighting, embedded turntable and a compatible Canon SLR camera that creates 360 degree shots of 2D still photos.

The Photosimilie shoots and stitches up 100 images together. It sounds complicated but the manufacturers say that even newbies to digital imaging can master the device because of its simple but powerful workflow software.


This device transforms the way both offline and online businesses communicate. It can generate sharp 2D photocopies of real products. Clients can improve marketing collaterals. E-commerce companies can take advantage of its animation capabilities to create product videos. This creates a whole new world of marketing where potential customers can see all the details of the product they are interested in.  These details can otherwise be lost in a still image.

This 3D photocopier is also useful during the product development stage. R&D can take full and separate images across all angles of an object and examine it for flaws.


When it was first made available to the public in 2010, Ortery priced the machine at £11,000. However, the general office population is still not ready for a 3D device so sales have not taken off.

Scanner or Photocopier?

Some manufacturers think that they have created a 3D copier but let’s examine what a photocopier does in the first place. A copier replicates an image that is placed on it then prints out a copy. A 3D photocopier only creates a virtual copy of an image or object that is placed inside it. The 3D copy cannot be printed out.

The argument arises that in fact, these 3D copiers are mere scanners, only in 3D. Some experts say that these 3D devices were labelled 3D photocopiers because they sound more exciting and revolutionary.

Photocopiers are still the best

No matter how many revolutionary features the 3D photocopier brings, if it cannot print, it is still inferior compared to a 2D photocopier and especially compared to a multifunction printer.

Photocopiers are hard working. They make copies fast. High end copiers have impressive monthly duty cycles. Because of developments in technology, copiers are becoming more high-tech. They are loaded with different features that are very useful in the modern office.

Copiers can be integrated into a company’s existing network. Users can control a fleet of machines easily. Multiple users can use this device without ever having to leave their desks. They can be used with different software as well. Some photocopiers allow users to edit their images or documents right from the machine itself so they no longer have to go back to their computers. This saves a lot of time.

Multifunction devices save both time and money. Instead of buying several machines, a company can just invest in one and get all the features and functionalities it needs. Fax is still an integral part of many businesses today and having that capability within a photocopier saves a company, especially a small business, from dipping into their capital to buy a machine that may only be used from time to time. With a photocopier, you don’t have to feel like you have wasted your precious resources because you can use it every day.

Another factor that makes a regular photocopier superior to a 3D photocopier is price. Photocopiers have a wide range of prices that even home businesses can afford to buy one. Photocopiers can also be rented or leased saving a small business even more money. Some models are also buildable so a company can add more features as it grows. They can invest a small amount of money initially then buy more parts as they see fit.

Bottom Line

The bottom line is a photocopier makes hard copies. They print. The 3D photocopier does not. This device still needs to prove a lot in terms of its usefulness. It may also fade into oblivion for all we know. Attempts to launch an office version have failed. Manufacturers still need to find a legitimate and widespread use for it. Although it has many benefits, it still cannot compare to the good old photocopier.