A turntable! With lasers! MakerBot opened preorders for its Digitizer 3D scanner today, revealing it will cost $1,400 and ship in mid-October.
Objects are placed on a rotating turntable. The scanner uses a camera and two laser to generate hundreds of thousands of data points that are turned into a 3D digital file. The entire process takes about 12 minutes. It works for objects that weigh less than 6.6 pounds and measure up to 8 inches across.
Scanned objects can then be printed, modified or shared on an online 3D design marketplace like the Thingiverse.
3D scanners are growing in popularity because of the range of print jobs they open up to the average 3D printer owner. With a 3D scanner, objects don’t have to be designed from scratch. An existing physical object can just be placed on the scanner bed and a replica is printed.
The Digitizer is the first major product launched by MakerBot since it merged with professional 3D printer company Stratasys this month. It joins a growing number of relatively affordable, consumer-oriented 3D scanners that have cropped up lately, such as the Matterform, CADScan and Fuel3D. It doesn’t quite hit the less-than-$1,000 mark, but MakerBot has shown with its popular $2,000+ Replicator 3D printer line that it can sell premium consumer machines. The MakerBot name behind the Digitizer is also likely to bring 3D scanners a more mainstream appeal.
In the future, it would be great to see MakerBot integrate scanners directly into their 3D printers. It’s too useful of a tool to leave to an accessory.