MakerBot reveals prototype
desktop 3D scanner


MakerBot reveals prototype desktop 3D scanner

News: American 3D printing company MakerBot has unveiled a prototype of a desktop scanner that will allow users to digitally scan objects they want to replicate with a 3D printer at home.

Launching the MakerBot Digitizer at the SXSW technology conference in Austin, Texas, last week, the company's CEO Bre Pettis said: "Now everyone will be able to scan a physical item, digitise it, and print it in 3D – with little or no design experience."

The Digitizer works by using a webcam to locate the points at which two laser beams bounce off an object's surface. The points are mapped out and turned into a plan for a 3D model, which can then be produced by a 3D printer like the desktop version sold by MakerBot.

"The MakerBot Digitizer Desktop 3D Scanner is a great tool for archiving, prototyping, replicating, and digitising prototypes, models, parts, artifacts, artwork, sculptures, clay figures, jewellery," added Prettis. "If something gets broken, you can just scan it and print it again."

MakerBot hopes to make the Digitizer available to consumers this autumn, but in the meantime users can register their interest on the company's website.

Last year Prettis told Dezeen that cheap 3D printers could bring manufacturing back into the home. "Before the industrial revolution everybody did work at home; there was a cottage industry," he said. "Now we're bringing the factory back to the individual."

Earlier this year we reported on a desktop machine that grinds up waste plastic to make new filament for 3D printers and news that firearms enthusiasts in the US are sharing 3D print files for illicit items like weapons, medical devices and drugs – see all news on 3D printing.

Dezeen was also at SXSW as part of Hackney House Austin, a showcase of the most exciting creative and digital companies from the London borough.

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  • Bhavnesh

    YES! Now we can scan our guns and share the data for even easier 3D printing of firearms : P

    • amsam

      Yeah, because the external shape of guns is the really key part to making them lethal.

  • That sounds cool! Combined with my Replicator 2, I’m going to be able to do full reverse engineering, which is awesome! Cannot wait to have mine.

  • urB

    “If you break a dwarf, you can just scan it and print a broken dwarf again.”

  • Bas

    I’m very curious about the scan resolution and tolerances. Also,how they manage scanning undercuts by using only a three-axis scanning device.

    The picture looks very detailed, but my experience with using scanners and producing as much detail as presented is it’s not so easy as they present it.

  • James

    What is the obsession with 3D printing on Dezeen? So far, I see very little benefit or requirement for it, except to chain more designers to CAD and to remove the artisan from our lives. It would be interesting to see developments in 3D printing in these posts other than a ornament, which I’m sure we have been able to do for quite a few years now!