On Friday, 3D printing startup Makerbot
demonstrated a new scanner that allows users to scan and then 3D print the objects. The Digitizer Desktop 3D Scanner is a prototype, but Makerbot says it plans to make the device available to consumers before the holiday season of 2013. The scanner can process objects between two and eight square inches in less than three minutes. The target device is placed on a rotor, and lasers scan the device from every angle.
"Now everyone will be able to scan a physical item, digitise it, and print it in 3D -- with little or no design experience," CEO of Makerbot Bre Pettis said. "This is something you would envision being science fiction, but in fact, it is real." Pettis used a garden gnome for the scan target during the demo.
While the device will not be the first 3D scanner to hit the market, Makerbot is aiming to offer a complete system of both scanner and printer, and make it accessible to all. Makerbot estimates it holds 25 percent of the US 3D printer market.
3D printers have been used to print parts for prototyping, surgical implants, and some limited success has been achieved in firearm printing. Piracy from devices such as the Digitizer Desktop 3D Scanner is expected to be limited due to both the cost of the raw materials, and the small size of the scannable area.