Copying objects in 3D

photocopier

[Pulse 9] sent in a very interesting project he just finished up at an internship. It’s a 3D photocopier that scans an object and then mills said object into floral foam.

The copier is made out of material [Pulse] found sitting around – PVC, drawer slides for the X and Y axes, acrylic for the structure, and broken printer parts for the Z axis.

To scan an object, [Pulse] puts an object down on the bed and scans it with a laser and webcam. The images recorded on the camera are fed into MATLAB. The output from MATLAB is sent over serial to a custom board containing a PIC18F4620 that controls the axis motors. The spindle for this floral foam router is a simple drill; one layer at a time, the drill mills out the unneeded foam which can be sucked up by a vacuum when the object is complete.

Below you’ll find [Pulse]‘s demo of his photocopier and a piece the local news did on the project. If anyone is willing to translate that story, feel free to do so in the comments.

Comments

  1. Dollar Store Junky says:

    I noticed small pieces of floral foam at the dollar store a couple weeks ago. It’s a potential source.

    Also of interest was dollar foam poster board. You could laminate that together, or use as-is.

    Though I think I like the dollar calculators best. They come in many types, from basic ones with nice big buttons, to scientific calculators. Very handy around the unfriendly shop environment.

  2. Hack Man says:

    It’ a good start.

  3. Wazzco says:

    What about using the floral foam as a mould for a copy? PRess in the object into the foam and then pour plaster in: no machine needed and much better resolution…

  4. voxnulla says:

    That must be one of the most annoying piano scores ever produced…
    Anyhow, is this material suitable for lost foam casting?

    • It’s daft punk, yo.

      And floral foam will work for lost foam casting, but it’s not the ideal material. It’s *extremely* soft and crumbly foam. You can do it, but blue (or pink) insulation foam is a much better material.

      • voxnulla says:

        Daft punk, really! Well, albeit an act that has produced a number of memorable tunes while being French, making them the exception to the rule, they remain in fact… French, and thus will at various stages produce utter a-musical garbage.

        Could this mill deal with blue or pink foam? Or is that to stringy?

  5. rue_mohr says:

    I wonder whats with the lack of resolution, I was gonna do this myself with a laser line genorator at 45* to the camera, I worked out the math, but at the time fell down on being able to pick the line out of the image :)

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