Funeral home makes missing body parts with 3D printer

Many people like to view a loved one’s body before or during a funeral as a final goodbye before they are put to rest. However, if the body doesn’t look the same for friends and family they could find this more distressing than peaceful. 

Now, a funeral home in Shanghai is using 3D printing technology to manufacture spare body parts for the deceased after they were asked to care for some individuals whose bodies were damaged or injured due to industrial or traffic accidents.

It is claimed that a combination of 3D printing, hair implants and makeup have allowed the staff at the funeral home to reconstruct faces with a similarity of at least 95%.

Liu Fengming, director of Shanghai Funeral and Interment Service Centre, said: “It is difficult for relatives to see incomplete faces or bodies of their loved ones when they attend memorial services, and makeup cannot always sufficiently repair them.”

The funeral home is thought to be the first to have this facility, which costs around 4000 - 5000 yuan, equalling between £435 and £545.

3D printing uses successive layers of materials to create a three-dimensional product which, in this case, could be limbs, hair or facial features that are damaged or missing from a body.

We have recently learned of 3D printing also being used in the American funeral industry to create urns for ashes. In China, this new facility is one answer to the Ministry of Industry and Information Technology plans which aim to grow China’s 3D printing industry.