Sense low-cost handheld 3D scanner
by 3D Systems


Sense low-cost handheld 3D scanner by 3D Systems

American 3D-printer manufacturer 3D Systems has launched a $399 handheld 3D scanner for capturing objects anywhere and instantly creating a printable file.

The Sense scanner is able to capture anything from small objects to scenes ten metres high and wide. The scans can then be sent straight to a 3D Systems Cube 3D printer to create a model.

Sense low-cost handheld 3D scanner by 3D Systems

Files can also be uploaded from the scanner directly to the user's online Cubify account and cloud printed in a range of materials.

"The Sense is the first ever 3D content camera for everyone, making it possible to capture people, objects and places on the go," said Rajeev Kulkarni, vice president and general manager consumer products at 3D Systems.

Sense low-cost handheld 3D scanner by 3D Systems

The product features built-in object recognition that can distinguish the required item from busy backgrounds.

Sense was unveiled at the Engadget Expand technology event in San Francisco on 8 November. It can already be purchased for $399 (£250) on the Cubify website and will be available at Staples' stores and website from 18 November.

3D scanners are dropping in price dramatically. Earlier this year MakerBot unveiled plans for the first desktop 3D scanner - a product that is now on sale for $1,400. Prior to that scanning required complex arrays of cameras, as the Dezeen team discovered when we got our heads scanned and printed.

Read on for more information from 3D Systems:

3D Systems Delivers Sense Consumer 3D Scanner

» Printable Physical Photography for All; Discover #HowScanagenicAreYou
» Easy to Use, Full Colour, Portable, Ready to Print, Share and Enjoy
» Professional Performance at the Affordable Consumer Price of Only $399
» Scan Large and Small Objects, People and Scenes, Watch the Sense video

3D Systems announced today the immediate availability of the Sense 3D scanner, the first 3D scanner designed for the consumer and optimised for 3D printing. The Sense is the only 3D scanner to deliver precise instant physical photography, so everyone can capture his or her scanable moments. Sense has flexible scan size and can capture everything from a picture-perfect cupcake to a full-body selfie, processing data in seconds for an instantly 3D printable file. Sense comes with an intuitive user interface with easy and automated zoom, track, focus, crop, enhance and share tools. Sense printables can be sent to your Cube and CubeXTM 3D printers, or directly uploaded to for cloud printing in a range of materials, including Ceramix, Aluminix and Clear.

Sense low-cost handheld 3D scanner by 3D Systems

The Sense is priced at $399 and immediately available on The Sense will also be available on and in hundreds of Staples retail stores nationwide starting 18 November 2013.

3DS CEO Avi Reichental will launch Sense live on-stage at Engadget Expand on 8 November. Anyone in or visiting New York City is invited to grab a sneak peek and hands-on experience with the Sense at Engadget Expand, November 9–10, 2013, at the Javits Center. 3DS will be real-time scanning and projecting onto a 70-inch screen throughout the weekend from 9am-6pm each day.

"The Sense is the first ever 3D content camera for everyone, making it possible to capture people, objects and places on the go," said Rajeev Kulkarni, Vice President and General Manager, Consumer Products, 3D Systems. "I anticipate that the Sense's intuitive nature, portability, range, unmatched quality and powerful user interface and user experience will spur a new social movement around 3D sharable and printable physical photography."

Sense low-cost handheld 3D scanner by 3D Systems

Product Features

For your life on the go: hand-held mobility gives you the freedom to scan spontaneously, everywhere you go. The Sense is mobile scanning compatible with the Microsoft SurfaceTM Pro 2 tablet.

Scan small, scan large, scan it all: Sense small and large objects, people and scenes. The Sense has the most diverse scan range in its class with auto-optimised settings for small and large objects like a book or a motorcycle, heads to full bodies and scenes as large as ten-feet tall and wide.

Zero-in on what matters: automatic object recognition extracts precise targets from the busiest of backgrounds, scanning only the object you want.

Edit confidently: Sense software is intuitive, fast, accurate and easy to use. Scans process in seconds and can be cropped, enhanced and solidified for printables in just minutes. No design experience is necessary.

Mash-up your world: merge your scans in Cubify Sculpt, the ultimate consumer software for editing STLs, mash-ups and organic modelling. Full integration between the Sense and Cubify Sculpt gives you the creative freedom to import your scans and combine them with other favourite designs.

Physical to digital and back again: Sense is fully integrated with and your Cube 3D printer. Scans can be uploaded directly for cloud printing with a variety of materials on, or sent directly to your 3D printer.

Sense is powered by 3DS' proprietary Geomagic software, making the Sense unmatched in quality, scan speed and easy editing capabilities for consumers. Sense is the only consumer scanner in its class that delivers professional performance at an affordable consumer price and guarantees an awesome user experience.

  • jmedilou

    It wont be long till there is a vast sea of unprinted dicks.

  • lairdp

    It might be a good scanner, but I am leery of this company because they lock everyone into proprietary supplies and services that are not only a DRM-enforced trap, but are insanely overpriced. So when they say things like their scanner can send files to their printer and upload to their printing service, I’m suspecting that it can’t generate geometry files that you can do anything with but generate more revenue for them via their insanely overpriced filament cartridges and print service.

    I’m also suspicious because they didn’t release any specs at all. What resolution? What file formats? What software?

    If it’s cheaper but locked into (and subsidised by) overpriced consumable prices, then it might be a terrible deal.

    It’s also unreasonable to compare this scanner to the Makerbot laser scanner, as it’s more like a Kinect, which is fairly cheap but only captures low resolution scans of large things like bodies and rooms, but nothing detailed. The MBI scanner (and others like it) cost more because they’re high resolution laser scanners that produce precise scans of smaller objects.

  • Rex Brodie

    Received my Sense Scanner several days ago … after numerous tries, I have NOT completed a scan that is water tight and printable on my 3D printer. Heck, after approximately eight hours of scanning various size objects (including some people), I have made it all the way around an object only three times without the scanner losing tracking. And this is after going out and purchasing a 12′ USB extension cable to overcome the limitations of the short cable that comes with the scanner. Realign the scanner with scan and continue scanning … yeah right.

    Really, without a Windows tablet that would allow you to look at the object and screen simultaneously, it’s almost impossible to complete a scan. And, when it comes to scanning larger objects without a tablet … good luck! There is no button on the hand held device so a scan needs to be started with the software. Moving from the computer to the object and correctly positioning the scanner during the 3 second delay can be a challenge. Unlike the MakerBot digitizer, the laser on Sense scanner is not visible on the object. Again, this means you are completely dependent on information from the screen while scanning.

    I should have noticed that all of the examples in the videos are of people being scanned… mostly organic shapes with minimal undercuts. Even mushy rounded-over models of people look good being printed on a 3D printer. After having used the scanner, I now believe the ability to scan portraits of people is the primary market this product is aimed at… after all Cubify is marketing it as “physical photography.” Admittedly, this is one of the reasons I purchased the scanner.

    If the 3D models being produced (if you can complete a scan) were high quality, then purchasing a Windows tablet to make the scanning process easier would make sense. I had started researching the Microsoft Surface Pro. The creative potential of having ability to take a scanner out into the world and scan larger objects is really exciting. And a Sense Scanner + an inexpensive windows tablet is still cheaper than a Makerbot digitizer with a heck of a lot more creative possibilities. Unfortunately, given how difficult the scanner is to use and the mediocre results, I’m not sure the additional cost of purchasing a tablet makes sense.

    Lesson learned… don’t rush out and be the first one on the block to purchase something biased on initial reviews. And if you do CHECK THE RETURN POLICY before making your purchase… Cubify’s return policy: “We don’t provide refunds on Sense 3D scanner once they’re shipped.”

    • DrunkSpock

      Hello, I don’t own one of these scanners but I’m thinking of buying one. The way you describe your troubles reminds me of my earlier experiments with a home made 3D scanner using software “David Laser Scanner” and a gadget I hacked together. Multiple scans had to be stitched together and reprocessed into one larger overall mesh. This is a tricky process and I eventually did find a free, open-source way to do this. “Meshlab” is the way, it’s a free 3D mesh-processing software. Specifically, you want to investigate “poison disk reconstruction”. Also it will convert between many, many 3D file formats. Good luck to you!