Saturday, 10 September 2011

Once I get my 3D Printer working, what should my first print job be?

I know this is all a bit premature - but I've been wondering: Once I have got my 3D Printer working, what should my first print job be? Spare parts / upgrades for my Prusa? Little plastic widgets and gizmos  (like bottle openers and key rings etc) to hand around, to spread the word about the RepRap goodness?

And then it struck me (it’s obvious really): What I really need is a 3D Photocopier!

Here’s a “home brew” 3D scanner (plastic parts created with a desktop 3D printer) called SpinScan :

  1. Place object to be copied onto the SpinScan turntable
  2. SpinScan creates a 3D “point cloud” which you can convert into an STL file using the free (open source) MeshLab software 
  3. Load the STL file into the 3D Printer host software 
  4. Press “Print”
 Voila! 3D photocopying in your own home!
Beam me up, Scotty!

Edit 15 September 2011:
This just gets cooler and cooler – it turns out you don’t even need to BUILD a 3D scanner – all you need is a digital camera (even your phone will work!) to take a bunch of digital photos (or short video) as you move around your target, and then you upload to this site to generate a “3D point cloud” from your digital photos / video for free:

(This MIGHT even have some applicability for work – it won’t be “survey accurate”, but when you can create a 3D pdf file like the attached for free, it definitely has some potential for visualisation purposes!)