MakerBot CEO Bre Pettis has announced a prototype 3D scanner, called the Digitizer, that his company is currently developing. The scanner was unveiled at Austin’s SXSW Interactive show and has been in development for some time.
One of the difficulties with 3D printing is designing the object that you need to produce and a laser 3D scanner is one piece of technology that will make it easier for people to engage in 3D printing.
“It’s a natural progression for us to create a product that makes 3D printing even easier,” Bre explained. “With the MakerBot Digitizer, now everyone will be able to scan a physical item, digitize it, and print it in 3D – with little or no design experience.”
The Digitizer consists of a turntable that rotates the target object which is then scanned by lasers and cameras. This data is translated into a digital 3D design file representation of the object, that can then be sent to a 3D printer for output.
Current laser scanners and the associated software is quite expensive and beyond the budget of most 3D printing enthusiasts, although a Microsoft Kinect can be used as a cheap 3D scanner.
There’s no word on when the Digitizer will be launched, nor how much it will cost but MakerBot will start taking orders in the fall.