MakerBot demos 3D object scanner that fits on your desk
Printable garden gnomes in as little as three minutes
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.
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. ®
..before Games Workshop sues someone's ass off for 3D printing WarHammer figurines?
Re: How much you want to bet...
"some early adopter has already tried to stick his dick in this thing."
Since "The Digitizer works by placing an object on a spinning platform" that would involve chopping it off first.
I now have an image of it going around and around on a spike like a mini version of the dubious meat on a kebab shop rotisserie.
Re: This could be useful
Those knobs _do work_ if you learn how to feed them (partition models, simplify, unpartition). Indeed commercial games developement tools do use tens of millions on triangles for most scenes, and then bake those down to a simplified model and a normal map / parallax map / whatever other fake displacement technique you want to use for "in game use". I can pretty much guarantee that those low detail models are auto generated - no artist wants to hand generate three different level of detail models and keep the three in sync.
> The guys who make games for a living invest a massive amount of time and effort into squeezing things down, and doing smart things with textures to the point that the hardware can deal with it and still give a reasonable performance.
Yep, they invest a lot of time in learning how to use the frickin tools so they don't have to hand roll monotonous boring shitty jobs such as simplifying models. Their time is too valuable for that. Yes they will need some hand touch ups for some parts, but the tools do 95% of the grunt work.
> every vertex, every poly you add to that slows things down exponentially
No. Just no. If the game developer has any common sense this will be log<n> at worst, and most decent algorithms are linear time. You don't think they actually use the on-screen geometry for all of the CPU-side tests do you? Oh dear ...
Re: How much you want to bet...
> I now have an image of it going around and around on a spike like a mini version of the dubious meat on a kebab shop rotisserie.
That thought literally brought tears to my eyes. Ouch!
How much you want to bet...
..that some early adopter has already tried to stick his dick in this thing.