This March, MakerBot gave us a sneak preview of its Digitizer – a 3D scanner designed to create three-dimensional design files based on scans of physical objects. At the time, it was still in prototype form, and not many details were available. Now, however, it’s a done deal, with shipping expected to begin in mid-October.
The Digitizer features a turntable-style platform, which accommodates objects measuring up to 8 x 8 inches (20.3 cm), and weighing no more than 3 kg (6.6 lb). As the object is rotated on that platform, a camera and two lasers jointly scan all of its exterior surfaces.
After a few minutes and “just two clicks,” a smooth and complete 3D design file of the object (in a format of your choice) is automatically created. This can be used with one of MakerBot’s Replicators, or on any other type of 3D printer, to produce a physical model.
While the company states that no design skills or knowledge of modeling software is required to use the device, that would only apply to situations in which a direct copy of the scanned item were desired. If you wished to modify the file in any way (such as to add a handle to the printed version of the object, for instance), you would need to be at least a little proficient with some sort of CAD program.
The Digitizer is available now for pre-order, at a price of US$1,400 (an optional $150 support package can also be purchased). It can be seen in use in the video below.