News has emerged from Makerbot of ongoing software and hardware improvements to the organisation’s home-grown 3D scanning platform, the MakerBot Digitiser. The original prototype of the MakerBot Digitizer scanner was originally unveiled by MakerBot CEO, Bre Pettis, at SXSW (South by South West Conferences & Festivals) in March earlier this year, onstage to great fanfare and planned for a Fall launch. The Digitizer is currently in full-on development.
In theory, it’s a simple process. A 3D scanner uses a combination of cameras and lasers to scan an object to create a 3D file that you can print on an existing 3D printer.
However, the realities are not quite so straightforward and a single scan will usually not produce a complete model of the subject, instead requiring multiple passes. Once scanned, this data has to be compiled and merged to create a complete model. This data almost always has to be cleaned up in a 3D application and we all know the steep learning curve of 3D modelling deserves to be hit with the ‘simple stick’ pretty hard!
The latest update from MakerBot shows Chief Strategy Officer, Jenny Lawton, using the MakerBot Digitizer to preserve her childhood memories, by scanning ceramic models she created when she was 8 years old. You can see the scanned and printed object below.
It’s not surprising that the Digitizer team are excited by not only the results but also the potential to reduce significantly the amount of 3D modelling required in commercial and hobbyist scenarios.
MakerBot has come out and officially promised that we, “won’t need any experience with design or 3D modeling software to make use of the scanner.”
This in itself will be a “good thingTM” but if the MakerBot magicians can come in at a plausible price point too, they’ll have yet another hit on their hands.