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Makerbot Desktop 3D Scanner Goes On Sale 89

dryriver writes with this excerpt from the BBC about the latest device from Makerbot: "A desktop device that can quickly scan objects so they can be replicated using a 3D printer has gone on sale. The Makerbot Digitizer, which costs $1,400 (£900), will be shipped to the first buyers in October. Demand for the machine appeared to overload the company's store when it went on sale on Thursday evening. The Digitizer is the latest product looking to bring 3D printing to mainstream technology users — but experts are sceptical. The machine is designed to allow the replication of objects without any need for the user to learn any 3D modelling software or have any other special expertise. The time it takes to scan an object varies, but one demonstration involving a small gnome was said to take around 12 minutes. "The MakerBot Digitizer is for early adopters, experimenters, and visionaries who want to be pioneers in Desktop 3D Scanning," the company says. "This includes, but is not limited to, architects, designers, creative hobbyists, educators, and artists.""
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Makerbot Desktop 3D Scanner Goes On Sale

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  • by wjsteele ( 255130 ) on Thursday August 22, 2013 @03:12PM (#44646219)
    Seems kind of expensive to me for a rotating plate, two LED lasers and a camera.

    • by keltor ( 99721 ) * on Thursday August 22, 2013 @03:18PM (#44646299) Homepage
      You are perfectly capable of NOT buying it.
      • by Anonymous Coward

        This attitude is what is wrong with modern culture. People are attacked for questioning things as silly as the price of goods....

        Be a good consumer, don't argue with the market!

        Shit we need to question more things, fight the status quo.

    • by jandrese ( 485 )
      I'm guessing a fair bit of the price is from the software to convert all of that into a 3D printable model. Still, I would have liked to have seen an overhead laser for that price.
    • The 1980s called to remind you that there's a reason software costs money. You weren't planning on writing your own firmware for the device and software for the host PC driving the thing, were you?
    • Do you know a better offer for something like this?
    • Expensive? What about the $2000 wooden breadbox they sold me last year?
  • by ArcadeMan ( 2766669 ) on Thursday August 22, 2013 @03:20PM (#44646337)

    It seems to be like it's only a 2.5D scanner. Trying to scan a bowl would result in a half-sphere model.

    • Looks like your going to need a spoon then to dig the bowl out! I recommend using a metal spoon as its will more than likely last longer than a printed spoon?
    • by dgatwood ( 11270 )

      It seems to be like it's only a 2.5D scanner. Trying to scan a bowl would result in a half-sphere model.

      I think that might depend on how tall the bowl is. If it can see over the top, I would think that it could determine the shape of the inside, though if it only sees part of the inside, it might incorrectly make a bundt pan. :-)

      That said, even assuming that it can scan the inside of such an object (and that's an absolute requirement for pretty much any of the things I'd do with something like this), I thi

    • Simple solution - Mount the bowl on its side and scan it.
  • This product market has such a big potential as there are so many applications that it can be used for. I am very excited to see how the product progresses as time goes on. I hope that their funding will stay on track and that those who are able to purchase the item will to support further research and development. I can't wait until it eventually trickles down for purchase to the masses so that I can get one myself!
    • Am looking forward to how things will progress. While I think it might be a bit much to see a printer in every home; I could see it used in businesses and other places.

      Break a part on your car? Take the model to Kinkos and have one printed.

      • Yes, because a brittle PLA plastic replacement will totally work in most automotive applications....for about a minute.

        There is EBM/DMLS (metal powder + lasers) but that's nothing you're going to buy at 'Maker-Fair', those are 3000lb industrial machines with price tags to match.
        • Yes, because no more advances will ever be made in 3D printing, and the prices will always be prohibitively high. He also didn't say anything about buying a printer. He said go to a place like Kinko's

          You can print with ABS too, which is what a lot, if not most, of the plastic used in cars.

        • Actually the car forums are filled with people that have made perfectly functional parts with PLA. And the things Ive printed are a lot sturdier than I would have thought. The low melting point is more of an issue. Id like to make some specialty parts for the engine compartment for my old Triumph but wont work with the heat. Still, its easy enough to prototype form/fit/function and then send it off to shapeways or imaterialize and get it back in abs/resin/aluminum/steel/ceramic. There are lots of little fid
          • There are lots of little fiddly bits you cant get for classic cars, so a way to easily scan and reproduce would be immensely helpful.

            I quite agree. Unfortunately classic(*) cars typically don't contain all that much plastic. For iconic cars like ye old shoebox (55-57') Chevrolet you can get re-pops for pretty much everything, for an obscure Packard or a Nash, not so much, and that means hunting for yet another burned out shell to scavenge parts from, Road Warrior style.

            * if ('classic' = 1970)

          • <1970 that is...and may Lucas Prince of Darkness have mercy upon your soul.
          • One can instead print the parts @102% (or so) and do lost wax casting in aluminum for production oneself:


            • Nice write up! I'd always wondered about that. The downside (as you mentioned) is needing to blow out the ash and slag to avoid inclusions, something that you never have to worry about with wax.
        • by dbIII ( 701233 )
          Then you still end up with brittle metal full of holes :(
          Getting from powdered metal to finished tough and high strength components of the right size takes a few steps. Squeezing the stuff when hot does the trick with some aircraft engine parts and gets rid of the porosity (little holes) inherent to any powered metal fabrication process.
          If you only want the equivalent of the die cast crap of the 1980s those metal powder plus laser things can do it. To do better you need extra steps.
      • Am looking forward to how things will progress. While I think it might be a bit much to see a printer in every home; I could see it used in businesses and other places.

        I think there is a world market for about five 3d printers.

  • Matterform (Score:4, Interesting)

    by onezan ( 908534 ) on Thursday August 22, 2013 @03:28PM (#44646417)
    i'm going to wait for the scanner from Matterform. [] Looks very promising at half the price.
    • i'm going to wait for the scanner from Matterform. []
      Looks very promising at half the price.

      Roughly half the price for less than half the capability is not all that that compelling. Matterform only sells a 3D scanner, not a 3D scanner with a 3D printer.

  • Who's going to be the first to do the drunken office party trick equivalent of sitting on the copy machine with their pants down?

  • by Luthair ( 847766 ) on Thursday August 22, 2013 @03:32PM (#44646461)
    Didn't MarkerBot switch to a closed model for both hardware and software last year? If so, let's stop giving them free PR, they're no different than any of the other systems at this point.
  • Hmm, it seems I've read that story [] somewhere.

  • David Laser Scanner (Score:4, Informative)

    by gr8_phk ( 621180 ) on Thursday August 22, 2013 @03:44PM (#44646605)
    Can't you do this almost for free with the David Laser Scanner [] software?
  • When they combine a scanner and printer in one It would be like a Star Trek replicator!
  • 3D Tsunami (Score:5, Interesting)

    by EmperorOfCanada ( 1332175 ) on Thursday August 22, 2013 @04:21PM (#44647001)
    I don't think people realize the economic Tsunami that personal 3D printing technology is going to be. Right now it is equivalent to the point in a tsunami where the ocean goes out and the people run around picking up fish and marveling at the other bobbles exposed. Then the water rushes in and everything changes in a flash.

    At first 3D printing is going to be a novelty where we geeks will bounce up and down in our seats every time we hit the print button. Building showerheads and whatnot for all our families.

    To give a simple example of how this will end up looking when 3D manufacturing is mature take the case of Samoa. This tiny island country is damn isolated. Basically the way they earn foreign currency is coconut exports (not very efficient due to the distance), foreign aid, remittances from family abroad, tourism, and oddly enough wiring harnesses. This means that for every car part that is needed (including the whole car) Samoa has to export the equivalent value in coconuts and whatnot. Needless to say in order to live a modern life in Samoa they need to produce a huge amount which is hard when you are producing low value goods and desiring high value ones. Compare this to Germany which produces a huge surplus of very high value goods and thus has little problem importing the cheaper things (like coconuts) that they desire. But what happens when Samoa can fully produce all but the most advanced goods such as micro processors. This would massively reduce the imports of many many high value goods while not reducing the world's demand for their coconuts.

    Somoa is a simple example but there are many countries around the world that are presently producing little the rest of the world wants and others that produce too much. Greece would be an example. Many African countries would also be in this situation.

    This is where the economic Tsunami will end up. Countries that produce the raw materials that are required by others will either be fine or thrive. While countries that have traditionally produced high value goods but have few resources are going to find that they have a major change coming.

    So in the end there will be two groups who do well. Those who produce extreme high value items such as CPUs, Touch screens, etc. And those who produce commodities that the rest of the world wants.

    This is going to result in a tsunami of money moving to and from places that aren't the traditional norms.
    • If you try to run me over with your 3D printed plastic car, I'll shoot you with my 3D printed plastic gun.
      • Laser sintering is used to make 3D metal things that are fantastically durable. All these people have been blah blahing about plastic guns when the metal ones are right around the corner.

        At first I can see 3D printing being limited to fairly small objects; thus you could print all kinds of parts for a car but not the whole car. Also at first there are many parts that I suspect just won't lend themselves to 3D printing such as the finer electronics, the windows, etc. I can't see why you couldn't scale up
        • by dbIII ( 701233 )

          Laser sintering is used to make 3D metal things that are fantastically durable. All these people have been blah blahing about plastic guns when the metal ones are right around the corner.

          For a lot of things - fantastic, for guns not so much. Lots of little holes in the metal really sucks for gun barrels. So for the home gunsmith that just means a cheap hobby lathe, one cobbled together from 90% old sewing machine or just using lengths of forged pipe for that bit the 3D printer can't do.
          You could of course

    • I'm not sure I see this 3-D tsunami happening. What most people want to buy are things like food, TVs, cameras, phones, cars, AC units, computers, bathtubs, toiletries, etc. These are what make "a modern life" and none of these things can be printed. 3D printing is great for one-off items (e.g printing a small replacement part at home), trinkets, prototyping and making complicated plastic parts that are hard to machine. However, it will suck for making stuff in bulk because it's slow. Forming parts with mol
    • Producing plastic things that you can do with 3D printers has been no problem for decades. The machinery is expensive for home use, but quite affordable even for relatively small business. So no, I don't think this will change that much at inter-state trade level. It may change something in shopping patterns, but again - paper printers have been around for ages, and still it's not like everyone prints every printed item on them. Industrial scaling effects still apply.
  • "Expectations should be realistic," the machine's FAQ page reads. "You will not be able to, for example, scan a hamburger and then eat the digital design."

  • I don't know what, but I'm pretty sure someone will figure out how to use this to do something dirty.

    • by Daetrin ( 576516 )
      Judging from the comments above, it looks like it took them about -2 hours from the time you hit "submit."
  • Various forms of 3D scanners, using either light or physical probes, have been around for decades. It was a natural and simple extension of CNC technology, replacing the cutting head with a touch sensor. This product might be cheaper, or more user-friendly, or faster, but its capability is not revolutionary.

  • According to the company, the scanner is designed to be able to create a 3D model without the user having any knowledge of 3D modeling. The target audience includes ... architects, designers, creative hobbyists. Aren't these the type of people you'd expect DO have actual knowledge of 3D modeling? In fact, I'd expect this audience to, well, design something new - instead of scan-and-replicate something already existing.
    • 3D modeling is a pain.

      I spent ~ a week of evenings measuring and drawing up the tools (machinists' square, 3 hex keys, 8mm wrench, analog caliper, scribing point, micrometer, Starrett screwdriver, bit cases) for my milling machine and then making a file to mill it out of foam (working on a new version to do it out of wood): []

  • We will endeavor to provide our customers with the highest possible level of service using the best available computer technology in order to help them achieve their business and personal goals. We will do this with honesty and integrity offering only affordable and appropriate solutions to their technology requirements. We will treat our customers with courtesy and respect. We will work as a team with the customer's and our company's goals in mind providing quality hardware and software with old-fashioned

A committee is a group that keeps the minutes and loses hours. -- Milton Berle