MakerBot Unveils a Desktop 3-D Scanner for $1,400
Beam me up, Scotty!
Brooklyn, N.Y.-based 3-D printing company MakerBot announced today that customers can purchase a 3-D scanner for $1,400. Called the MakerBot Digitizer, the scanner is for sale at makerbot.com/digitizer and will begin shipping in October.
MakerBot says the scanner can create "clean, watertight 3-D models" with just two clicks. Users don't need any special design or modeling skills to operate it. “We focused on making the MakerBot Digitizer super easy to use, intuitive and simple," said MakerBot CEO Bre Pettis, in a statement.
The scanner makes use of a camera and two lasers to generate a 3-D digital file on your computer of whatever item you scan. From there, you can manipulate the scanned object on the computer with third-party software.
Say, for example, you scan a toy gnome. Once you scan your gnome, you can then use software to tinker with the gnome, perhaps adding a hat or message the beard (see below). To actually print a 3-D version of the new version of the gnome you generate on screen, you would need a 3-D printer which, if you buy it from MakerBot, starts at $2,199.
MakerBot's device may be the newest, but it's hardly the only 3-D scanner on the market. Santa Monica, Calif.-based NextEngine offers a 3-D scanner that is a bit more expensive, running for $2,995. And Greenville, N.C.-based Fuel 3D has raised almost four times its goal on Kickstarter for a handheld point-and-shoot, full color 3-D scanner which it promises to market for less than $1,000.
Catherine Clifford is senior entrepreneurship writer at CNBC. She was formerly a senior writer at Entrepreneur.com, the small business reporter at CNNMoney and an assistant in the New York bureau for CNN. Clifford attended Columbia University where she earned a bachelor's degree. She lives in Brooklyn, N.Y. You can follow her on Twitter at @CatClifford.