A 3D scanner that replicates in digital form a small object in as little as 12 minutes for a 3D printer is now on sale.
Makerbot said its new Digitizer 3D Scanner will retail for $1,400. The company is charging an additional $150 for MakerBot Digitizer MakerCare, a service and support program.
What makes Makerbot's 3D Digitizer different from other consumer 3D printing technologies is that it does not require any experience with 3D modeling software. A user places an object on a turntable, presses a button and a camera and two lasers scan the contours of the object, creating a digital file that can then be used to print an original object on a MakerBot 3D printer, as well as other third-party printers.
The Digitizer 3D Scanner can scan physical objects that are up to 8 inches in diameter, 8 inches tall and weigh up to 6.6 lbs.
The scanner creates a file that can be printed out on a MakerBot Replicator 2 Desktop 3D Printer and outputs standard 3D design file formats that can be modified using third-party modeling programs, such as Autodesk's free software MeshMixer.
"Bringing the MakerBot Digitizer Desktop 3D Scanner into the world has been a big goal of ours this year," Bre Pettis, MakerBot's CEO, said in a statement.
Pettis said the Digitizer Desktop 3D Scanner is aimed at early adopters, educators, creative hobbyists, 3D sculptors, organic modelers, designers and architects who want to be "the first to become an expert in Desktop 3D Scanning."
MakerBot also published some qualifiers on its FAQ page telling potential buyers that it's not able to copy highly intricate objects and suggesting that users not expect "too much" from it.
"Expectations should be realistic. You will not be able to, for example, scan a hamburger and then eat the digital design," the company's FAQ page states.
Lucas Mearian covers storage, disaster recovery and business continuity, financial services infrastructure and health care IT for Computerworld. Follow Lucas on Twitter at @lucasmearian or subscribe to Lucas's RSS feed . His e-mail address is email@example.com.