Feeds

MakerBot demos 3D object scanner that fits on your desk

Printable garden gnomes in as little as three minutes

Mobile application security vulnerability report

MakerBot, producer of the Replicator line of desktop 3D printers, took to the stage at the SXSW Interactive conference in Austin, Texas on Friday to demo a prototype of its first desktop 3D scanner.

While 3D printing may be no big deal these days – numerous affordable models are available and enthusiasts are using them to print everything from bikinis to working firearms – the difficulty of creating high-quality 3D models of objects to print remains a barrier to wide adoption, something that MakerBot hopes to change.

"The MakerBot Digitizer Desktop 3D Scanner is an innovative new way to take a physical object, scan it, and create a digital file – without any design, CAD software or 3D modeling experience at all – and then print the item again and again," MakerBot CEO Bre Pettis said in a statement.

The Digitizer works by placing an object on a spinning platform, scanning it using a combination of lasers and cameras, and then saving the collected data into a file format that's usable by 3D printing systems.

MakerBot says the scanner can create a "watertight" digital model of an object – meaning one with no holes, cracks, or missing features, such that "inside" and "outside" the object are clearly defined – in as little as three minutes.

  Photo of a 3D printed garden gnome that was scanned with MakerBot's Digitizer  

Got a really big garden (and really poor taste)? MakerBot has your answer

The company says it anticipates the device will mostly be used to replicate and archive objects, but it could also allow a designer to scan a real-world object and then modify the resulting model using CAD software to create something new.

So far, the Digitizer is just a prototype, but Pettis said MakerBot definitely intends to market it as a product. More information will be made available throughout the year, but for now, MakerBot plans to spend lots of time scanning, testing, and printing items to refine the device.

Naturally, with the device at such an early stage, no pricing information was announced. But those who are interested in the Digitizer can sign up to receive further information via email on MakerBot's website.

"This is something you would envision being science fiction, but in fact, it is real – and it is so cool," Pettis said. We'd tend to agree. ®

Boost IT visibility and business value

More from The Register

next story
Report: American tech firms charge Britons a thumping nationality tax
Without representation, too. Time for a Boston (Lincs) Macbook Party?
iPad? More like iFAD: We reveal why Apple fell into IBM's arms
But never fear fanbois, you're still lapping up iPhones, Macs
Apple gets patent for WRIST-PUTER: iTime for a smartwatch
It does everything a smartwatch should do ... but Apple owns it
Microsoft takes on Chromebook with low-cost Windows laptops
Redmond's chief salesman: We're taking 'hard' decisions
For Lenovo US, 8-inch Windows tablets are DEAD – long live 8-inch Windows tablets
Reports it's killing off smaller slabs are greatly exaggerated
Cheer up, Nokia fans. It can start making mobes again in 18 months
The real winner of the Nokia sale is *drumroll* ... Nokia
Microsoft unsheathes cheap Android-killer: Behold, the Lumia 530
Say it with us: I'm King of the Landfill-ill-ill-ill
prev story

Whitepapers

Designing a Defense for Mobile Applications
Learn about the various considerations for defending mobile applications - from the application architecture itself to the myriad testing technologies.
How modern custom applications can spur business growth
Learn how to create, deploy and manage custom applications without consuming or expanding the need for scarce, expensive IT resources.
Reducing security risks from open source software
Follow a few strategies and your organization can gain the full benefits of open source and the cloud without compromising the security of your applications.
Boost IT visibility and business value
How building a great service catalog relieves pressure points and demonstrates the value of IT service management.
Consolidation: the foundation for IT and business transformation
In this whitepaper learn how effective consolidation of IT and business resources can enable multiple, meaningful business benefits.