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MakerBot 3D Digitizer Scanner lets you create 3D-printable designs from actual objects

Create 3D blueprints without having to learn computer-aided design

Published: October 01, 2013 05:00 PM
MakerBot's Digitizer 3D Scanner scans objects and turns them into digital blueprints.
Photo: MakerBot

Early adopters, hobbyists, and tech enthusiasts rejoice! The MakerBot Digitizer 3D Scanner can help you "print" objects in 3D without having to design them yourself. It started shipping today at the not-insignificant price of $1,400—but if you've already coughed up the cash for a 3D printer, that may not be an obstacle for you.

Here's how it works: You place an object (up to 8 inches in diameter and 8 inches tall, no more than 6.6 pounds) on the scanner's platform. The Digitizer slowly rotates, scanning the object using two cameras and a laser. Once it's complete, you have a 3D digital design file that you can use to recreate the object on your 3D printer; you can use your MakerBot Replicator 2 Desktop 3D Printer or actually, any other printers, as the files are in a standard format.

Once you have the design, you can share it with the 3D printer community at thingiverse.com. If you do happen to have CAD (computer-aided design) skills, you can alter the design as you wish.

Consumer Reports has been investigating the brave new world of 3D printing. Find out more about the MakerBot and two other 3D printers we tested, in our report "Desktop 3D Printers Offer Gee-Whiz Technology With Mainstream Potential." And get inspired by "10 Cool Things You Can Do With 3D Printers."

—Carol Mangis

 

   

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