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Affordable 3D Scanner That Shoots Freakin’ Lasers

Courtesy Mellisa Tolentino, SiliconAngle

3D printers may be a huge deal right now but if you really don’t know how to use it or have anything to print with it, it’s pretty useless.  And this is the reason why 3D scanners are as popular as 3D printers because it makes the task much easier.  Also, if you’re into 3D animation, I’m pretty sure 3D scanners would come in handy.

At SXSW 2013, MakerBot unveiled the Digitizer, a 3D scanner prototype that produces digital files for easy 3D printing.  With that, the focus on 3D scanners heightened.  It will be some time before we see the MakerBot Digitizer out in the market and other 3D scanners such as the NextEngine Desktop 3D scanner costs way too much – almost $3,000!  So does that mean we have to say goodbye to our 3D dreams?  Nope.

Like 3D printers, there are now more affordable solutions when it comes to 3D scanning.  Last month, Matterform launched the Photon 3D Scanner on Indiegogo in the hopes of raising C$81,000 to make their project available to people.  With three weeks left, Matterform has already raised more than C$250,000.  The 3D scanner was originally priced at C$350 but because of the huge demand for the futuristic device, the two-man team of Matterform decided to hire another human to make building the Photon 3D Scanner a much faster and bearable task.

The Photon 3D Scanner is able to scan objects up to 190mm × 190mm × 250mm or an object 5 inches in diameter and 9.75 inches in height in just three minutes. It has a sleek design that makes it easy to store and is aesthetically pleasing to look at.  Also, it uses lasers to scan items producing 3D images with a +/- .2mm accuracy.  The system generates a Point Cloud which you can turn into a mesh and import to your choice of 3D program and start printing or animating your 3D image.

As for 3D printers, environmentalists are backing up the project though some may think that it’s a new way of producing more plastic trash.  On the contrary, it is believed that 3D printer could eliminate mass production, thus reducing trash.  Also, 3D printers could help solve the problem in diminishing energy as they could be utilized to produce components needed to harness renewable energy.  And lastly, 3D printing materials can easily be recycled by using Filabot –  a machine that recycles plastics used in 3D printing back to its filament stage so you can use the plastic again.


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