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Makerbot Digitizer – 3D desktop scanner goes on sale

A desktop device designed to replicate 3D objects for creation via a 3D printer has went on sale. The Makerbot Digitizer is priced at $1,400 (£900) and is going to be shipped to first buyers in October.

The demand for the scanner is very high, it went on sale Thursday evening and overloaded the store.

The scanner has been designed to allow ‘replication’ of objects without any need for the end user to learn 3d modelling software, or in fact to have any other technical expertise. The 3D scanner simply does everything itself. Experts have discussed their reservations with the device however.

The scanner directs several scanners at the object and detects contours on the surfaces. Users can also upload 3D designs directly to Thingiverse, a 3D design sharing website.
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The time involved for the scan process is longer than a standard 2D scanner. A test scan of a small gnome took around 12 minutes. The company said “The MakerBot Digitizer is for early adopters, experimenters, and visionaries who want to be pioneers in Desktop 3D Scanning. This includes, but is not limited to, architects, designers, creative hobbyists, educators, and artists.”

Makerbot are keen to point out that the 3D scanner is not suitable for very intricate object scanning and users should not ‘expect too much’ from the device.

The FAQ page on the product reads “Expectations should be realistic. You will not be able to, for example, scan a hamburger and then eat the digital design.”

Objects that are shiny, reflective and ‘fuzzy’ are not suited for the scanner. 3D printing has not really taken a huge chunk of market sales, with only a small audience of early adopters interested in the technology.

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