Breakthrough 3D Scanner Could Be Next Big Thing

The company that has been leading the 3D printing market is now prepping its next innovation: a 3D scanner. The MakerBot Digitizer Desktop 3D Scanner allows a user to set down a small item, scan it in 3D, then manipulate or modify that scan on a computer.

The device is expected to become available mid-October, with MakerBot currently taking pre-orders online at $1,400.

MakerBot already has two popular 3D printers on the market, the Replicator 2 and the Replicator 2X, but the digitizer could revolutionize the market by speeding up the design-to-deployment process in many industries.

Other Side of the Equation

While the 3D printing process is relatively easy, creating the digital model used to do the printing is not. Online services such as Thingiverse offer thousands of user-created models, but if you cannot find a design for something, then you have to model the physical product yourself.

The MakerBot Digitizer changes the process by allowing people to take any small item -- a human hand, a computer mouse, a cup -- and turn it into a digital design that can be replicated in a 3D printer and even used by other people across the world.

The Digitizer consists of a turntable with two lasers and a camera that can scan objects up to 8 inches in size. The company says it can capture details as small as 0.5mm and that its dimensional accuracy is within 2mm. Scans take about 12 minutes to produce.

MakerBot has already made the printing side of the business more accessible with printers costing around $2,500, but without a way to upload designs, a lot of people have yet to see a use for 3D printing. MakerBot CEO Bre Pettis has called the Digitizer a "game changer."

In addition to MakerBot's device, various projects from crowdfunded groups have come up with...

Comments are closed.