When we were looking for scannable objects to showcase the MakerBot Digitizer, there came a moment where we asked, “What goes well with lasers?
Cats go well with lasers! We found a ceramic cat on eBay and put it in the announcement and named it… LASER CAT!
What makes this a great thing to digitize? LASER CAT is a great candidate for scanning because it’s all one piece, and as the MakerBot Digitizer spins it around, the laser can see all the parts. LASER CAT has no occlusions, which are parts of a model that obscure other parts of the model. If the camera can’t see the laser, then it can’t render that part. Occlusions form the internal harbors of an object, like the armpits of objects… always there, but not always seen. One of the superpowers of the MakerBot Digitizer is the ability to deal with hidden geometry— the software will fill in the holes— but we don’t need that superpower for this model.
What is the challenge? So LASER CAT does present a challenge to the MakerBot Digitizer because LASER CAT has a reflective surface. If you scan things that are reflective without dulling the surface, you may get some weird results. To make LASER CAT non-reflective, I sprayed it with some dry shampoo, which is basically an aerosol can of rice starch. I did this in a well ventilated area and the result was a fine layer of powder over the whole thing. Now the lasers won’t reflect off of the object and I stand a much better chance of getting a clean scan. I washed the dust off the cat when I was done digitizing it.
Result: LASER CAT scanned beautifully on the first try. Here is a close up of the mesh so you can get an idea of the density of the 211,034 triangles that make up this model. It didn’t require any post processing. It’s a nearly perfect copy. The MakerBot Digitizer software made it easy to share LASER CAT on Thingiverse and just because it came out great, don’t be afraid to post process and make a derivative.
We went ahead and made a derivative with actual lasers, which you can check out on Thingiverse as well.