Archive for the ‘Digitizer’ Category

MakerBot Digitizer | A Scantastic Deal


Make 3D Models Fast—for Less!
Now, for only $799, you can create, scan, and share your very own 3D models. With no design or 3D modeling experience required to get started, the MakerBot Digitizer lets you:

— Digitally capture and preserve your 3D mementos, creations, and precious objects.

— Explore the frontiers of 3D scanning. Share adventures with enthusiasts of all ages.

— Participate in educational and entertaining 3D scanning projects and challenges.

— With our easy-to-use software, you can create clean 3D models in just two clicks.

Check out our blog post that shows examples of beautiful scans as well as helpful tips on using your MakerBot Digitizer. We can’t wait to see what you make!

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MakerBot Digitizer | Beautiful Scans + Education Recap


An Amazing Collection
It’s been just over four months since the MakerBot Digitizer Desktop 3D Scanner was released, and the results have been incredible. We’ve collected some of our favorite scans on MakerBot Thingiverse. Here are some of the highlights:

Bored Turtle is an ideal object for 3D scanning on the MakerBot Digitizer. It required no preparation because it’s a great size (fits easily in an 8”x8” cylinder) and good color/texture (grey stone). It scanned well, and came out nicely on a MakerBot Replicator 2 Desktop 3D Printer.


The Waving Cat was also a success on the MakerBot Digitizer. It’s also the right size for scanning, but it needed a little work to manage its shiny exterior, so it was painted grey. You can see it came out well and the 3D prints were fun to paint!


This Swedish Moose  (Thing # 188003) was a good object for the MakerBot Digitizer. It’s a correct size, and it required just a little powder to prepare it for scanning. The video below shows how it was scanned and gives an excellent example of what it’s like to create 3D models with the MakerBot Digitizer.

YouTube Preview Image

Inspired? Now It’s Your Turn.
If you own or plan to purchase a MakerBot Digitizer, take a look at the following blog posts from the Digitizer Education Series. They will teach you great tips and tricks for making high-quality 3D scans like the ones above. Topics include:

Part 1: Introduction

Watch a video taking you through the basics of MakerBot Digitizer.

Part 2: Placement, Calibration, and Lighting

Get important information on setting up your scanner and objects for scanning

Part 3: Materials for 3D Scanning

Learn what materials can be scanned as is, and which ones need some preparation.

Part 4: Size and Stability of Objects

Determine how big or small, and what shape your objects should ideally be for scanning.

Part 5: MakerBot MultiScan Technology

Use this amazing capability that allows you to scan an object from several angles and have the images combined into a more comprehensive 3D model.

We hope you’re as excited to create 3D models with the MakerBot Digitizer as we are to see them. Keep submitting your work to MakerBot Thingiverse, and make sure you tag your entries with “Digitizer.”

Happy scanning!

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MakerBot Digitizer | Limited Time Holiday Discount


Save Big Till the New Year
The MakerBot Digitizer is an amazing tool that quickly turns things in your world into 3D models you can modify, improve, share, and 3D print.  When you order one from now until December 31st, you’ll get it for only $949. That’s a savings of over $450 from the usual retail price of $1400.

This deal extends to the Complete Desktop Bundle too, which includes:

— One MakerBot® Replicator® 2 Desktop 3D Printer
— One MakerBot Digitizer
— Two spools of MakerBot® PLA Filament
— MakerBot® MakerCare™

Buying each item separately would cost you $4,213. This holiday discount reduces it to $3,162, which is a total savings of $1051!

Don’t Miss Out
This is a perfect opportunity to start 3D scanning with the MakerBot Digitizer at a fraction of its regular retail price. Take advantage of this holiday discount, and start showing off the cool things you can create—right on your desktop.

We hope you’re having a wonderful holiday season. Happy Scanning!

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Wired Pop-Up Store | MakerBot is in Good Company


Partners in Creativity
What happens when the standard in 3D printing and 3D scanning joins forces with the world’s leading-edge tech magazine? Find out today when MakerBot teams up with Wired at the annual holiday Wired Pop-Up Store. It’s located in New York City at 353 W. 14th Street (at 9th Avenue) from December 4th through the 22nd.

An Array of Innovation
At the Wired Pop-Up Store, you’ll be able to see the MakerBot® Replicator® 2 Desktop 3D Printer and MakerBot® Digitizer™ Desktop 3D Scanner on display with other elegant futuristic products. All that clever design combined with the spirit of the season might inspire you to invent your own cool gadgets. But what tools could you use to help make them?

Hmm, let’s think….


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Digitizer Education | Part 5: MakerBot® MultiScan™ Technology


A Revolution in 3D Scanning
We’re thrilled to announce that today’s MakerBot® MakerWare® 2.4 release includes MakerBot MultiScan Technology, a feature that will forever change the way you create 3D models with the MakerBot® Digitizer™ Desktop 3D Scanner.

We developed MultiScan so you could scan objects from multiple angles to create the best possible 3D models. Now you can capture the top, bottom, and hidden parts of your object, and experiment to optimize your 3D models.

More Complete Coverage
MultiScan improves scan coverage by allowing you to “merge” two or more scans of an object, each taken from a different position. You can scan an object vertically and horizontally, or from any angle that the object can be positioned on the turntable.



MultiScan takes your MakerBot Digitizer experience to an exciting new level. Now you can capture more data from objects with complex geometry and occlusions, which are parts of the object that block the laser from other parts of the object. For example, you can grab more detail off this figurine by scanning it several times tilted in different positions.


Broader Capabilities, Increased Versatility
MultiScan opens up new categories of objects to scan, particularly ones that would have come out less detailed if they had only been scanned once from one position.

In the image below, the angel wings occlude other parts of the object. When scanned from one position, much of that detail is blocked or not picked up. But when scanned four more times,—once from each quadrant of the turntable, and facing the same direction every time—the laser is able to reflect once-blocked sections of the object back to the camera. Then MultiScan combines all the data to create a more robust 3D model.



A quick note: We’ve found that after five scans, the quality of a 3D model doesn’t improve much more, and could even degrade. For most objects, two or three should do the job.

Revived by MakerBot MultiScan Technology
A cool story of how MultiScan makes 3D scanning even more awesome comes from a member of our MakerBot team. His favorite radio-controlled car was missing a wheel, and he couldn’t find a replacement.


To fix it, he removed one of the wheels and prepared it to be scanned on the MakerBot Digitizer.


Using MultiScan, he scanned the wheel, resulting in a great 3D model of the wheel. He then printed it on his MakerBot® Replicator® 2 Desktop 3D Printer with MakerBot® Flexible Filament. After a few minutes of prep work to make sure the new tire fit the axel, his radio-controlled car was ready to roll.


Accelerate Your MakerBot Digitizer Experience
Now that you have a taste of how MultiScan can expand the possibilities of 3D modeling, we hope you’ll explore and share what you create with the Thingiverse community. The methods you discover and designs you produce are the fuels that keep the Next Industrial Revolution moving forward at full speed!

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Digitizer Education | Part 4: Size and Stability of Objects

In this post, we’ll discuss several factors that could affect the quality of the 3D models you get from the MakerBot® Digitizer™ Desktop 3D Scanner, and some tips and tricks on how to improve them.

Maximum Size
The MakerBot Digitizer can scan things within an 8”x 8” cylinder (that’s 8” tall by 8” diameter). If an object can fit in this cylinder, then the camera can pick up its exterior surface.

Maximum scan volume

Minimum Size
If an object is smaller than 2” x 2”, the MakerBot Digitizer will not be able to pick up much detail from it.

You might be able to improve the scan by placing the small object upon a transparent or dark platform on the turntable. This will lift it closer to the center of the camera’s line of view, which should allow it to capture more detail than it would have otherwise. You can always crop the platform out later.

The MakerBot Digitizer can pick up details larger than 500 microns (1/2 mm). Anything less will not make it into the 3D model.

Gnome comparison

Dimensional Accuracy
An object’s scan may not match the exact outer dimensions (+/- 2mm) of the original physical object.


Dimensional accuracy

You’ll get the best possible 3D model if an object stays in one position while the turntable is active. Therefore, you will want to make sure your object doesn’t move while it’s scanning.

First, make sure the MakerBot Digitizer is resting on a stable surface, and not sharing a surface with a moving or vibrating object—like an active 3D printer, for example.

Then check if your object is heavy enough to remain stable during a scan. Objects placed on the MakerBot Digitizer must weigh less than 3 kg (6.6 lbs), but if they are too lightweight, they may slide around the turntable during scanning. And any object—despite its weight—may shake, rattle, or roll, depending on how it is constructed.

One way to stabilize an object like this is to anchor it in some modeling clay or another malleable substance. This will create a sturdy surface that holds the object steady throughout the entire scan.


We hope you’ve enjoyed learning more about the MakerBot Digitizer and find this information helpful. Happy scanning!



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Digitizer Education | Part 3: Materials for 3D Scanning

Two Types of Objects
The MakerBot® Digitizer™ Desktop 3D Scanner is an amazing tool that quickly turns things in your world into 3D models you can modify, improve, share, and 3D print.  Scannable objects fall into two categories: Ready-to-Scan and Prep-to-Scan. In this post, we’ll help you determine which category an object’s in, and share some expert tips and tricks to help you create the best possible 3D models.

A Ready-to-Scan object is exactly what it sounds like. You can put it on the MakerBot Digitizer’s turntable and start scanning it right away. When the laser line hits the object, the laser will bounce back to the camera in a focused line producing a good 3D model.


Ready-to-Scan objects are:

Matte: A matte-like or dull surface texture creates a sharp visible line that the MakerBot Digitizer’s camera can easily detect.  This lets the camera pick up a lot of data about the object’s position. Conversely, if the object is shiny or reflective, it will reflect the laser away from the camera, which makes it hard to detect.

Opaque: Things that aren’t translucent or transparent will scan better. If the object is too clear, the laser will pass through it instead of bouncing back to the camera.

Single Colored: Light colored and red surfaces are best for reflecting the lasers back to the camera. Dark colors, including darker greens and blues, tend to absorb the lasers.

Multiple Colors: If an object’s surface has more than one color, choose the setting in MakerBot® MakerWare™ for Digitizer that represents the object’s darkest color. Or, prepare only that dark-colored part of the object for the scan (see next section).

Close-cropped: If your object has hair, fur, carpet, or any kind of pile, it’s best if the fibers are very short. If the fibers are too long, the laser will get scattered too broadly and won’t convey accurate information to the camera.

A Prep-to-Scan object is an object that doesn’t meet one or some of the Ready-to-Scan criteria. You’ll need to prep it to create a good 3D model.

A few months ago we wrote a post that showed how to prepare a shiny object to achieve better results. Here we’ll take a look at two more Prep-to-Scan objects and see how they were improved for scanning.

A dark object
Look at the contrast between the laser line reflections from a light-colored object vs. a dark-colored object. When the dark object is scanned as is, it generates a below-average 3D model.


When the dark-colored object is prepared for scanning, the laser line becomes focused, creating a good 3D model.


A transparent object
Most of the laser line passes through or deflects away from the glass, so the camera doesn’t get enough data to generate an accurate model.


When it’s prepared for a scan though, the difference is impressive.


More Tips and Tricks
Improving an object’s scannability often means putting something on it. Here are some further suggestions for setting up Prep-to-Scan objects for the MakerBot Digitizer:

If you’re going to place powder on a dark or shiny object, we’ve had success using cornstarch, flour, talc, or dry shampoo. You might want to check its effect on a small part of your object first before you commit to covering the whole thing though. These powders tend to wipe off easily, and you can wash them off if water won’t damage the object.

Developer’s spray is an aerosol that leaves a fine white coating on your object. We’ve found it to be very effective for improving the scannability of Prep-to-Scan objects, and it wipes off well when you’re done using it.

Painting an object white, matte gray, or red works well too. Because most paint doesn’t come off easily, we suggest experimenting with tempera paint. Tempera is safe, makes a great scannable surface, is water-soluble, and washes off easily.

 We’re discovering more helpful tricks every day, and encourage you to find new ones to share with the community. Keep experimenting with your MakerBot Digitizer, and have fun taking 3D scanning to a whole new level!


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Digitizer Education | Part 2: Placement, Calibration, and Lighting

Now that you’ve gotten an overview in part 1, you’re ready to use your MakerBot® Digitizer™ Desktop 3D Scanner to jumpstart the modeling and prototyping process, and have fun experimenting. Here are some tips and tricks to help you get the best possible results.

Find a Solid Spot
Place your MakerBot Digitizer on a flat, stable work surface, and make sure no part of it extends over the surface’s edge.

  • Set up your Makerbot Digitizer facing the nearest wall. The darker the wall, the better.
  • Ideally the lasers should point toward the wall while avoiding any windows or other bright light sources. Bright light or reflective things shining in the camera can interfere with your scan, causing noise and halos.


Digitizer Ideal Placement

Ideal placement of the MakerBot Digitizer

Calibration is Crucial for Good Results
Calibration ensures the position of the turntable and lasers are recorded accurately so your MakerBot Digitizer can produce the best possible scans.

  • Calibrate your MakerBot Digitizer in normal-to-bright indoor lighting.
  • Avoid direct overhead light though (as seen below). The light source should come from behind your scanner so it’s not shining right into the camera.


Bad Scan Background

Example of too much overhead light in the camera


  • If you must calibrate in a dark space, illuminate the calibration tool with a lamp or flashlight behind your scanner so it’s not pointing into the camera.

For detailed instructions on the calibration routine, please read pp. 31–33 of the MakerBot Digitizer User Manual.

Lighting for Better 3D Scans
To get the best results, scan objects in the same lighting conditions you calibrated in, or anything darker—including total darkness.

  • Scanning in low light is best, but you don’t need to turn the lights out. However, if you’re having trouble scanning something with the Dark setting, try shutting off the lights completely. The only time you must have light is during the calibration routine.
  • In order to capture the most detail of your object, the Preview screen should be as black as possible when the filter is on, as seen below.


Ideal Preview Scan

A good Preview screen view of a 3D scan


  • Recalibrate your MakerBot Digitizer if you’re not happy with its scan results. During recalibration, you want to be able to see the entire checkerboard pattern on the Calibration Tool on your screen, as seen below.



Optimal view during recalibration


Finally, here are a few cool tricks we discovered:

  • If you need to capture more detail, set the option to Dark mode—even if the object is light colored. Be prepared for your scan to have some extra noise though.
  • Hang black felt on wall facing your MakerBot Digitizer to darken the wall’s surface. That way any light in the room won’t bounce off the black background and cause bright spots the camera might think are part of the laser line.
  • Place an open umbrella behind your MakerBot Digitizer (i.e. not in the direction of its lasers) to improve scan results. Don’t do this during calibration though.


We hope these tips make your experience with the MakerBot Digitizer even better. See you soon, and happy scanning!


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Digitizer Education | Part 1: Intro

An Amazing Creative Tool

The MakerBot® Digitizer™ Desktop 3D Scanner is an incredible piece of technology that was recently praised by Popular Mechanics as one of the top 10 breakthrough products of 2013.  There are already many people using the MakerBot Digitizer to quickly turn the things in their world into 3D models they can modify, improve, share, and 3D print.

We encourage you to experiment with the MakerBot Digitizer, and share your 3D models with the MakerBot community on Thingiverse.  But if you’re just getting started, please watch this short video that will help you set up your MakerBot Digitizer and get you 3D scanning right away.

See you soon, and happy 3D scanning!

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MakerBot Products | A Big Day At MakerBot

MakerBot has been known to release groundbreaking new products, but today, we’re releasing three. That’s got to be a record.

Today, we’re shipping two new types of filament, and releasing a new version of MakerWare for download. Tomorrow, October 1st, a little invention called the MakerBot® Digitizer Desktop 3D Scanner will ship from our factory in Brooklyn to 3D pioneers around the world. Visit the posts below to learn more about this massive triple-headed release.

1  2 (1)

34 (1)


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