Posts Tagged ‘3d scanning’

Pictures from the Met MakerBot Hackathon

Posted by on Friday, June 1, 2012 in Uncategorized

[flickrslideshow acct_name=”makerbot” id=”72157630000129466″ width=”650″ height=”433″]

We’ll keep adding pictures to this Flickr set throughout the day.


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R-e-s-p-e-c-t The Religious Art, Says Met’s Oceanic Curator

Posted by on Friday, June 1, 2012 in Uncategorized

This is how insanely cool the Met is: several of the curators for the different departments we are 123D-Catching things in today are taking time to show us around and answer questions about the art and the entire concept of the Hackathon.

I thought one comment in particular from Associate Curator for Oceanic Art Eric Kjellgren was worth throwing up here on the blog for people to consider.

After several questions about the art, patiently answered by Mr. Kjellgren, the creative mind behind Project Shellter Miles Lightwood (aka TeamTeamUSA) asked how this expert felt about the Met MakerBot Hackathon. He said he was very interested to see what would come out of it, and said his only caution would be this: most of the pieces in the Oceanic Arts collection were religious in nature, and that the art we make from them should keep that in mind.

That’s definitely something to remember when using technologies like 123D Catch and MakerBot to make art based on art. For example, when you start capturing things in your town for the Capture Your Town challenge, keep it real.

Here’s Mr. Kjellgren’s bio:

Evelyn A. J. Hall and John A. Friede Associate Curator for Oceanic Art, Department of Arts of Africa, Oceania, and the Americas, at The Metropolitan Museum of Art.  His specialized research interests include the art, culture, religion, and oral traditions of Oceania. Prior to joining the Metropolitan Museum, he was Assistant to the Associate Curator of North American Collections at the Peabody Museum of Archaeology and Ethnology, Harvard University (1985-86), and Research Assistant at the Bernice P. Bishop Museum in Honolulu (1990-93).


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Digital Artist Sees Future In “Sampling” And Remixing Objects

Posted by on Friday, June 1, 2012 in Uncategorized

Today a group of artists with a knack for taking things from the digital world into the physical world will spend some time first doing the opposite: looking at real physical objects and capturing them with cameras and software and making them become digital. It’s that digital space where the new shaping and changing may take place.

Last month, I had a chance to ask some questions of another great artist, who is not part of today’s event but who has certainly thought a lot about this type of art.

Matthew Plummer-Fernandez likes to think in terms of “sampling”. This concept is familiar to us in music, where one bit of a song might be pulled out and repeated with a new beat underneath. This is a mixing of familiar stuff and new stuff, which is what Matthew sees in some of his work, like this tea set.


It’s based off a blue vase he found in a flea market once, seen below. I just grabbed a still image off my screen, but you can see the actual model on That site provides a free scanning service that allows someone to upload some digital photos of an object and convert them into a 3D mesh with a texture file. Matthew says the process is done within minutes, and he’s had good success with it. Hypr3D was a handy preservation tool in this case: he had dropped the vase and broken it, so creating this mesh was a way of keeping it around.

Read the rest of this entry »

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We Capture The Met, You Capture YOUR TOWN

Posted by on Friday, June 1, 2012 in Uncategorized

People who subscribe to our newsletter (check the top right corner of this blog to sign up!), already know that what we’re doing at the Met today is the start of something huge. Like, super huge. The size of the Earth, and we’re putting all of it on Thingiverse.

Or rather, you’re putting it on Thingiverse!

Today is the beginning of the MakerBot Capture Your Town initiative. Just like the artists at the Met this weekend are using their cameras to pick out amazing pieces of art to photograph and process with 123D Catch, you can find the things where you live that make it your home. Maybe it’s an old water fountain in the park, or the office building you drive to every day, or your City Hall, or a statue, or your cat. Maybe it’s a model of the Waldo Emerson Inn in Kennebunk, Maine, that I noticed on Tinkercad yesterday.1


Or this awesome Arch, already on Thingiverse.

Delicate Arch, captured with 123D Catch by ShaanHurley


This is everyone’s chance – my chance, your chance, your grandma’s chance – to realize that we are living in a time where the limits on what we can do with the things around us are dropping like flies. Even if you don’t own a MakerBot, you can contribute to the museum of the future, or #futuremuseum on twitter, that Thingiverse is becoming.

All you need is your camera, a steady hand, and the free software 123D Catch from Autodesk.

Let’s build a map of the world that the MakerBot Community lives in, starting with your town. Watch this blog and our twitter for updates and guidance. Once you are ready to share your models, be sure to tag it on twitter (#futuremuseum) and on Thingiverse (futuremuseum). Get your gears turning and go!



  1. Hey, did anyone notice you can now embed things from Tinkercad?! []
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More ReconstructMe Magic

Posted by on Sunday, May 13, 2012 in Uncategorized

There’s a new post up at [email protected], the blog about the MakerBotting adventures of a couple faculty members at University of Mary Washington in Virginia. I hope Tim won’t mind me nabbing his picture; this result from a Kinect scan is just too good.


The post says he sat in a spinning chair and turned slowly while the Kinect grabbed the image, and then used Christoph Heindl’s program ReconstructMe to turn the scan into a 3D mesh. The bust you see above was made on a TOM. Nice. It’s good enough for me to read the expression on Tim’s face, and I would bet he ruffled his shirt a bit to show how well the combination of Kinect, ReconstructMe, and a Thing-O-Matic could capture reality. Tim also gives fair credit to the pretty fantastic instructional video from our Tony Buser on how to clean up a model.

Also, I love this closing thought:

In many ways it feels like the advances being made in this field are so incredibly fast moving that it’s hard to keep up. The great thing is it feels closer to magic than reality, and how often do you get to say that about the work you do in higher education?

“Magic” seems to be a bit of a theme on this blog.

3D printing is one of the truly revolutionary things you can witness. I’m reminded of Arthur C. Clarke’s third law “Any sufficiently advanced technology is indistinguishable from magic.” While showing the devices to undergraduate art students in a sculpture class those words rang truer than ever as their eyes lit up in wonderment. The power to create objects in a virtual space, print them, and hold them in the physical is unbelievable.

I’m really looking forward to seeing what comes out of this group when they get their Replicator in the fall. Make on, UMW!


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MakerBot & Miniatures: 123D Catch

Posted by on Friday, May 11, 2012 in Uncategorized

I’m taking a short break from the blog series this week, but I didn’t want to leave you hanging.  I’ve put together a short screencast on how I use the creation tools in 123D Catch, specifically reference points and reference distances, to create scans that print in my desired scale.  This tip is great for anyone who wants tight control over print size, whether you’re working in scale or not.

YouTube Preview Image

A Quick Note: I’m running Autodesk 123D Catch on my mac through VMware Fusion.  Autodesk just released a web version, which is great for mac users, but it lacks some of the advanced features like creation tools.  So to use this tip, you need to use the desktop application on Windows.

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What Is A “Real Manufactured Good”, Anyway?

Posted by on Thursday, May 10, 2012 in Uncategorized

Need everyone’s input on this. Someone just posted a comment on a BusinessWeek feature on MakerBot and our CEO Bre Pettis.

I Like Bre…Great Charisma and energy. I wish him well. I think his printers will be successful but ultimately real manufactured goods will still be made with industrial 3D printers. I believe that his equipment is perfect as an educational piece, hobbyists or even classrooms.

Is this true? This sounds like the commenter is taking for granted that manufacturing will never change, as if it’s always been the same. We make MakerBots so that people can make the things they want and need, not just one copy of something that was made a million times. The way things are done now satisfies the broadest base of customers.

What does it mean to say something is a “real manufactured good”? Does that mean that something you make for yourself can’t be just as good as something that was made for you? We totally disagree.

By the way, the article in BusinessWeek today is great. And in case you’re wondering, you can now scan yourself in a number of ways that don’t involve cornstarch! But the cornstarch method is still fun. 4Chan founder Moot and new media guru/Internet philosopher Clay Shirky were into it! Watch the video of their scans below.


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Calendar Update: MakerBot Education @ Tekserve

There’s one week left to sign up for our third class in the “How to MakerBot” series at Tekserve in Manhattan. Liz Arum, our education specialist, will be leading the class.

This class is focused on the program modeling program Blender. In order to participate, those attending the class should take some time to download the following programs before class:


And then you should bring that computer, a 3-button mouse, and a desire to learn some awesome stuff about 3D modeling and MakerBotting!

RSVP now to reserve your spot! You can view the invitation here.

Tekserve – Seminar Room
119 W 23rd Street
NY, NY 10011

Thursday, May 10; 6:30 p.m. – 8:00 p.m.


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Bigger On The Inside

Posted by on Wednesday, March 7, 2012 in Uncategorized
The Thomas Jefferson statue from Monticello, scanned, 3D printed, reassembled, and painted bronze

The Thomas Jefferson statue from Monticello, scanned, 3D printed, reassembled, and painted bronze

Consider, for a moment, going to a museum and being told you could only see 2% of the collection.  Despite the incredible sprawling buildings devoted to showcasing the Smithsonian’s collection only this very small percentage of their 137,000,000 piece collection is available for viewing.  Now that the Smithsonian has contracted with a company to begin scanning their collection, more of those pieces tucked away in their archives will be available to the viewing public.

This is really such an exciting development.  While it would be very cool to be able to visit the Smithsonian online and examine digital scans of their collection, it would be so much more amazing to be able to download those 3D scans for printing out.  I can’t wait for the day kids can actually print complete dioramas, examine a physical copy of a feature of a statue, bring a life-size Allosaurus claw replica for show-and-tell, create a giant version of some tiny little sea creature, or a model showing the relative scales of a person and a woolly mammoth.

Museums of the near future could even use 3D scanning to augment their collections on display or traveling exhibits.  A few years ago I was fortunate enough to see the King Tut exhibit in Chicago.  The collection and presentations were amazing – but instead of King Tut himself we saw a life-sized projection of the tomb, the sarcophagus, the mummy, and his bones.  While this was interesting, it would have been more interesting still to have been able to view a life-sized replica created in the same way as the Monticello Jefferson statue.  Now that computing and internet access are nearly ubiquitous, you could even use a smartphone or tablet computer to better examine some feature of an exhibit while you were still inside the museum.1

Thanks Slashdot!

  1. What, were you expecting another post about Doctor Who or something? []
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From photos to print with Autodesk 123d Catch

Posted by on Thursday, February 23, 2012 in Uncategorized


There’s been some excitement recently about a clever (and effective) way of turning objects into 3d models from photographs: Autodesk 123d CatchMakerBot Support’s own Brian Stamile has used it to get some very good results, and has even spawned a project idea (in a tweet):

Shopping for fun items to scan at Goodwill. Buy it, scan it, print it on a #MakerBot, donate it back. That’s the plan. Project Scancycle.

Here’s how it works: take photos of your item on a neutral background.  Rotate around the object, snapping a photo every 15 or so degrees, from a few different heights: above, below, from the side.  It’ll take about 40-75 photographs for 123d Catch to create a good 3d model.  It doesn’t work well with objects that are very shiny.  You’ll also want to open the resulting .obj in your favorite 3d modeling program (MeshLab, MeshMixer or Blender, perhaps) to clean it up and export to .stl.

123d Catch is currently a free beta, so try it out now…unfortunately it runs only on Windows at this time.  If you want to participate in Project Scancycle, just tag your Thingiverse item with “Scancycle” and/or tweet it with the hashtag #Scancycle.

Error - could not find Thing 17887.
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