MakerBot Industries has announced more details about its first 3D scanner, the MakerBot Digitizer, including its price. The dual-laser scanner, first announced at SXSW, is available for pre-order now for $1,400 and will ship in mid-October. At that price, it's clearly targeting early adopters and 3D modeling/printing enthusiasts who will make the most out of the technology--not unlike Google's Glass Explorers program. The scanner will be manufactured at MakerBot's factory in New York. Watch this short video of Bre explaining what the Digitizer can do.
According to MakerBot's FAQ, the Digitizer is suitable for creating "medium-quality" scans of stationary objects, with the max size of 8-inches tall and 8-inches in diameter. The scanner bounces two lasers off of your object and onto a sensor, which processes data points to create a 3D model of up to 200,000 triangles. MakerBot claims scan accuracy within 2mm of the object, and scanning will work best under indoor lighting on bright objects without any shiny, reflective, or fuzzy surfaces. Scans take 12 minutes to complete, and the Digitizer outputs an STL file that can be read and edited by just about any modern 3D modeling program. The Digitizer software also integrates with MakerBot's MakerWare, so if you don't want to make any model tweaks, you can go from scanning to printing with just a few clicks. That's close to a 3D copier!
Just as the desktop 3D market is littered with competitors, there are a few companies creating desktop 3D scanners as well. The Canadian-based Matterform ran a successful Indiegogo campaign earlier this year for its own portable 3D scanner, which cost early adopter $400. That scanner is still in pre-production, and the first backers will receive theirs in the Fall. Another 3D scanning project, the mobile app-based Moedls, failed to raise its $100,000 Kickstarter goal, but it looked promising when we saw it at this year's Engadget Expand event. We expect to see more 3D scanning startups at this year's World Maker Faire in September.