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And now, a 3D scanner

Posting in Design

Gnome clone. You can scan him in 720 seconds.

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You could call it 3D printing for dummies: Brooklyn-based MakerBot has introduced a no fuss, no muss 3D scanner.

Rather than wrestle with tricky modeling software and take the risk of creating plastic spaghetti rather than a replica of the Statue of Liberty or whatever it is you're after, you can now just scan your object of desire and print it.

"Demand for the machine appeared to overload the company's store when it went on sale on Thursday evening," the BBC reported.

The MakerBot Digitizer aims several lasers at an object that spins on a turntable. Digitizer gives designers a "jumpstart" because they "don't have to start from scratch," company CEO Bre Pettis says in a video (see below).

The MakerBot website notes:

With just two clicks, the MakerBot Digitizer Desktop 3D Scanner’s simple yet sophisticated software creates clean, watertight 3D models that are ready to 3D print. We’ve optimized the whole process to work seamlessly with MakerBot Replicator Desktop 3D Printers, but you get standard design files to use on the 3D printer of your choice. You don’t need any design or 3D modeling skills to get started, and it all happens in just minutes.

Users can also upload their design to a MakerBot website called Thingiverse, and share it. The BBC reported that it takes around 12 minutes to scan a small gnome.

The Digitizer costs $1400, or $1550 with customer support. The company is now taking "pre-orders" for shipment in October, according to a press release.

Shiny, reflective or fuzzy objects are not well suited for the Digitizer. So much for anyone trying to scan a bling business into action.

Put a tiger in your scanner:

Photo by Spencer Higgins, from MakerBot. Video from MakerBot via YouTube.

3D printing is not as easy or clean as you think:

Who is MakerBot?

An alternative to 3D printing - memory foam:

— By on August 22, 2013, 8:07 PM PST

Mark Halper

Contributing Editor

Mark Halper has written for TIME, Fortune, Financial Times, the UK's Independent on Sunday, Forbes, New York Times, Wired, Variety and The Guardian. He is based in Bristol, U.K. Follow him on Twitter. Disclosure