3D modeling is difficult. This is what many people have discovered when they’ve just unboxed their brand new 3D printer. Matterform, out of Toronto Canada, realized that many people were limited to printing out other people’s objects that they’ve downloaded from services like Shapeways. So they decided to develop an affordable 3D scanner.
Both the hardware and software of the Photon 3D scanner has been developed from scratch over the last year and are now ready to enter production. The Photon is about the size of a small desktop printer which opens up to show its scanning bed which can scan objects as large as 9.75 inches tall and 7.5 inches wide. A circular turntable rotates as it uses a camera and dual lasers to collect the 3D data points which is fed into the modeling software. The 3D files that it spits out are compatible with all the major CAD packages and 3D printers.
Current commercially available 3D scanners are priced beyond the budget of most home-based 3D printer users, with many using a Microsoft Kinect and freeware software as a cheap alternative.
After the initial Indiegogo backers have received theirs, The Photon will is priced at around $399 and will allow users to utilize the real power of 3D printing, copying and modifying existing objects of their own.
Matterform says that The Photon will start shipping the first units in July, and the project has already raised C$50,000 of their C$80,000 target with 30 days remaining of fundraising.