There have been a host of 3D scanners introduced this year. Some of them were designed as desktop models. Others went with hand-held designs. Examples include the NextEngine 3D scanner (pitched by Jay Leno), Fuel3D's handheld 3D scanner, and Matterform's Photon 3D scanner, to name just a few. With the overwhelming popularity that 3D printers have gained over the years, it was only natural that 3D scanners would follow suit.
Back in March of this year, MakerBot unveiled its prototype Digitizer scanner at the South by Southwest conference. It has since released blog reports detailing its developmental progress. The company recently announced that the final product would soon be released on the market. What is the whole buzz surrounding their Digitizer all about?
To begin with, the device no longer features that wooden prototype frame shown at its first unveiling, and features an improved sleek design that is pleasing to the eye. It's also rumored to cost significantly less than those already available to consumers (costing less is always a plus). The digitizer itself allows users to make 3D CAD models of objects that can then be replicated by using any 3D printer (although MakerBot would prefer you use their printer line). The device is outfitted with a pair of lasers and an onboard camera that can in minutes scan objects that rotate on the scanner's turntable base. The scan is then refined using special software that fills in the holes (or fine details that were not picked up by the lasers) and generates a CAD file that results in an almost exact copy of the object scanned.
Theo software used with the Digitizer allows users to scale the object scanned, meaning small objects can become smaller or larger to accommodate the desired size. One can turn a mid-sized cat statue into a coffee mug or earrings. MakerBot says users will be able to use the scanner without any knowledge of CAD software, which makes the device one of the easier ones to use over others currently found on the market. While the actual price of the Digitizer is currently unknown, it is expected be available at a competitive price point.