The scanner uses three cameras to take pictures of the whole surface area of an object, with the process taking around two minutes to complete. The designs are then sent to a 3D printing factory where the models are created. The service is available at its York store, with prices starting from £40.
Asda says customers will be able to scan anything, including people, pets or cars, and create lifelike figures made from ceramic. They can also opt for different finishes, choosing from colour, white or a bronze-style coating, and scale to the size they want.
The supermarket hopes the service will prove popular in the run-up to Christmas and has plans to roll out the technology to further stores in the future if it proves successful.
3D printers are widely used in manufacturing to create prototypes and in architecture for modelling. Their use by brands for more personalised marketing is also on the up. The likes of Nokia, Converse and Soundcloud are all using the technology, with the latter recently running a campaign to let fans turn their favourite songs into 3D-printed iPhone cases.
Asda is the first of a line of retailers to test consumer interest in the technology. Selfridges is also introducing a 3D printing service from October 24 to allow shoppers to produce small figurines of themselves. The models will cost from between £50 and £200 depending on the size.