Makerbot Brings Us One Step Closer To At-Home Replicators

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News Posted: Sat, Mar 9 2013 11:30 AM
If 3D printing wasn’t intriguing enough already (just check out our roundup), there’s now technology in the works that lets you scan and replicate a real-world device in 3D. MakerBot’s Bre Pettis made the announcement at the SXSW festival in Austin, Texas, where he said, “It’s a natural progression for us to create a product that makes 3D printing even easier. With the MakerBot Digitizer Desktop 3D Scanner, now everyone will be able to scan a physical item, digitize it, and print it in 3D – with little or no design experience.”

The scanner will work just as you’d expect: You place an object in the scanning area, let the machine take its readings, and then you can take the file and print it on a replicator. MakerBot didn’t reveal any technical details, but it did say that the scanning will use lasers and cameras.

MakerBot 3D scanner

The MakerBot Digitizer Desktop 3D Scanner is just a prototype at this point, but it’s not hard to imagine that it will soon join MakerBot’s 3D printers, MakerBot Thingiverse store, and software as products you can buy and use at home.
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It's definitely a great step forward, but there's a long way to go yet.

Looks like we can make 3-D plastic bits, all in one color. Can we make metal things like springs, and items of multiple colors and differing strengths?

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There are lots of great devices for recreating the objects, and @DaveReggie, yes, you can build most any part that is monolithic. Cost is the only challenge. 3D printers are very well developed, but the materials are limited, as they sort of build and stack material sort of like playdough bit by bit, and many end up brittle but visually perfect and multi-colored. CNC machines can build any metal part given the metal stock. These techniques are greatly improving though.

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4L1G8R replied on Mon, Mar 11 2013 5:43 PM

Can't wait to see what physical DRM looks like... Tongue Tied

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Dorkstar replied on Mon, Mar 11 2013 8:48 PM

I was checking this article out earlier on my phone (way too difficult to post from that thing), and thought how awesome this is.  I'm sure the tech has already been out there for a while, but for it to be revealed is just awesome.  We're one step closer to never needing to go to the store!  


Now we just need to figure out how to fuel our cars off of beer and banana peels.

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