We’re constantly singing the praises of 3D scanners because they extend the reach of digital fabrication to new boundaries in such a graceful manner. In varying degrees, they remove one of the more difficult-to-learn elements of 3D printing: 3D modeling in CAD/CAM software. There are easier-to-use interfaces like Tinkercad, but it’s still a process that some do not care to go through. Take sculptors for example, who are adept at working in three dimensions with physical mediums like clay, wood, or metal; if they want to 3D print their designs without 3D scanning they’d have to learn how to model in some software, which could take weeks, months, or years depending on the software and the proficiency level they’re shooting for. With a 3D scanner they can work in their desired mediums and have a digital, 3D printable format generated automatically.
There have been a handful of affordable 3D scanners developed recently, though none yet available. First was the Lynx A ($1800-$3000), a handheld 3D scanner that can capture entire bodies and rooms. Soon after, MakerBot announced the Digitizer ($1400), a desktop turntable 3D printer that’s exceptionally user friendly. Then came along the Matterform ($599) desktop turntable scanner that’s portable and fully automated. The latest (pure) scanner was the Fuel3D ($1000), a handheld photograph-based model. There are also 3D printers with built-in 3D scanning hitting the market soon. Clearly there’s a high demand for 3D scanning. And now there’s an entrant that’s determined to make it truly accessible, the Rubicon on Indiegogo.
It’s $199. That’s accessible. Now, that doesn’t include the webcam, but an HD Logitech can be had for less than $75, if you don’t already have one. Still, that’s a great price. It’s claimed to scan four times faster than the Digitizer too, and at less than a quarter of the price.