Makerbot Shows Off 3D Scanner


We’ve said our piece over Makerbot and their interpretation of what Open Source means, but the fact remains if you’re sourcing a 3D printer for a high school shop class or a hackerspace, you really can’t do much better than a Makerbot Replicator. Apparently Makerbot is looking to expand their 3D design and fabrication portfolio; they just announced an upcoming 3D scanner at SXSW. It’s called the Makerbot Digitizer, and it takes real, 3D objects and turns them into CAD files.

Since Makerbot and [Bre Pettis] didn’t give out much information about the 3D scanner they’re working on, the best information comes from Techcrunch. The Makerbot Digitizer uses two lasers to scan real objects and turns them into 3D CAD files. The hardware isn’t finalized, and the prototype is made of a few pieces of laser cut plywood. No details are available on how much the Digitizer will cost, when it will be available, or what its resolution is.

Of course 3D scanning of real objects to translate them into CAD files is nothing new for Hackaday readers. We’ve seen our fair share of desktop 3D scanners, including one that was built in a day out of junk. Even the Kickstarter crew has gotten into the action with a few desktop 3D scanners, some of which scan in full color.

27 thoughts on “Makerbot Shows Off 3D Scanner

  1. Their “MakerBot Digitizer” is most likely based entirely on open source technology or readily available hardware that people have already been using for several years. And I’ll take some issue with the statement “the fact remains if you’re sourcing a 3D printer for a high school shop class or a hackerspace, you really can’t do much better than a Makerbot Replicator.” Everyone I know who has used Replicators has had to do just as much tweaking and tuning as anyone using other Reprap-based 3D printers. In fact, you often have to throw away their software and use community-developed software to get good results. It’s not better than many of the other, cheaper options, even in the realm of pre-assembled printers. Example: they still use a plunger and thumbscrew to force the filament against the feed rollers. Everyone in the industry knows this just isn’t reliable, especially in MakerBot’s implementation. For years, people who buy MakerBots have had to modify or replace the extruders to get consistent results, with a pinch roller made from a bearing. And if you think I’m just being sour, MakerBot just two weeks ago acknowledged this (defensively) on their blog and “adopted” an open-source improvement, which they’ll be selling extra to make their closed-source printer work:

      1. I’ll add that they certainly aren’t *worse* than the average hobby-level 3D printer, and you can get their technical support if you pay for it. Just don’t expect much help from the RepRap community (not out of malice…they just don’t have the necessary info about the hardware).

        1. I got a printrbot, holy shit i got maintenance on this thing. But as soon as i get a bed leveller and a duct fan I’ll have 100 microns down easy. And that’s a 700 dollar investment vs what 2000?

          1. No kidding? Only $700? I couldn’t get over the price of most of the offerings for what you get. I’ve not been following the development nearly as much as I ought to, but it seems to me that the prices should be MUCH lower if you can’t reliably use it out of the box. It’s been far too long for some of these to still be in the ‘developmental’ stage.

    1. or in other words, at this point makerbot is in the technology PACKAGING business. just package it in a shiny box with the logo on it, don’t even bother with proper instructions.

    2. Yeah so those t&cs that Prusa was complaining about on thingiverse that Makerbot would never possibly abuse and were only for the purpose of managing the objects on the site. Turns out, yes they are evil.

  2. omygoshness the genius invention scientists in the makerbot corporation science labs invented this new technology never seen before!

    sarcasm aside, watch these guys and LEARN. these guys have mastered the science of public relations. we are tesla, and they are marconi.

  3. Makerbot spit in the faces of the community they owe their origins to. A FORM1 would be far better suited to a school or university at much the same price with full support and better software. Bre Pettis still has many friends in the NYC maker community thanks to his links to make magazine, his makerspace, etc. but the machine is no better than any other extrusion based printer.

    Pettis has a real problem with attribution, and giving the projects/contributors the proper credit by name. A la the blanket exemption for attribution rights to Makerbot in the Thingiverse TOS,

    It’s sad to see a small community split over this though, hopefully it will encourage competition, and more rapid development of the technology in the future. Then perhaps at least some good will come from it.

  4. The worst is the hubris of Bre Pettis and friends in that piece in Wired about how they were single-handedly changing the world.

    Stuff MakerBot didn’t invent:
    extrustion 3D printer
    3D printing
    DIY 3D printing
    “open source” hardware
    plastic junklets

    Stuff MakerBot did invent:
    repackaging community products with smugness

    The maker community sucks. The 3D printer, arduino, and raspberry pi noise is so tiring. 3D printing is not even close to new. The filament sort is around 30 years old now, and if you include CNC it’s more around 50 or so. It hasn’t “changed” the world. Look, I don’t care if people want to make money, we live in a free market. But, PLEASE PLEASE PLEASE, cut out all the faux-humanitarian revolutionary bullshit. Why is it that it’s no longer about playing around with electronics, microcontrollers, and fun stuff like that, but fodder and pandering to megalomaniacs who think repackaging an AVR or selling shoddy imitations of expired patents is going to lead us to some sort of techno-utopia. Call me when the 1/3 of human society that doesn’t have running water or electricity gets the news that toys making plastic crap are going to make malaria go away

    Look, I’m not saying that we should focus all of our resources on Africa, or AIDS, or malaria, or cancer. In fact, I hate that argument. That being said, for the love of god, stop pretending like making plastic blobs is equivalent to that.

    1. I blame California. Don’t know why, don’t know how, it is just the Californian culture’s fault. Happens all the time. Has been a problem for a long time. Californication and all that. Unfortunately many perceive regional attitudes as national ones. It is hard not to be sympathetic towards people that hate the USA when the only states that get attention are either smug and wealthy or radically religious and hostile.

    2. YOU sir, are a man after my own heart. I couldn’t have said it better. I’m all for the educational side of things as well, especially to make everyone more capable, but I have to agree. You can polish (re-brand) a turd, but it’s still a turd. I’d be more willing to get involved / support the ‘maker’ community if it wasn’t full of so much pomp-and-circumstance.

      I’m glad to see that those of you who have been ‘in the know’ for so many years find this somewhat offensive. That being said, I still think there is room for improvement. ;)

  5. I’m looking forward for the price, because you already can build your open-source 3D scanner (with colored texturizing) from a turntable and a Kinect sensor. And there are a lot of DIY low-budget scanners as well, when it’s about small objects you also can use your phone with a circular flash. Btw it’s really nice to see that reverse engineering and 3D scanning is getting more affordable, although I feel a little bit sceptic about the quality…

  6. I went to Printrbots site and didn’t see any immediate number about the resolution. At this point, I’m either getting the printrbot or one from lulzbot. Any ideas?

  7. If Makerbot is closed source then why can I go to their github page?

    According to this, the only thing closed sourced about the Replicator 2 is the metal frame it’s made from:

    Also, I’d like some citations where they claim they invented 3d printing or the technology they use. I’m sorry guys, you don’t speak for me.

  8. Dear Skeptical:
    MakerBot is all *new* products closed-source. Any old products that it 100% provable built on Open Source design has to stay open source, including improvements. That is unless they want to get sued. The closed source stuff include the metal frame or the Replicator 2, MakerWare UI, MakerWare Installer and other guts of their 3d printing tools.

    The demo they gave looks a lot like one of the DIY turntable scanners. It looks very close to or Just 2 examples found googling, there are more.

    Most people are upset because they supported Makerbot and did a lot of free PR for them because MBI was Open Source. MakerBot played themselves up as a flagship Open Source company. As they got their $10million VC funding, the closed things. People feel used.

    Hell at OHS 201 MB’s CEO was the keynote speaker (just before the 10 million). At OHS 2012 the CEO’s was back, his entire presentation was ‘We aren’t Open Source, except the stuff we are required to.” People are upset because MakerBot sold out, literally.

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