MakerBot Replicator Turns Physical Objects Into Digital Designs

AUSTIN (Laptopmag.com) — Bre Pettis, the CEO and cofounder of MakerBot, unveiled the company’s latest offering, the MakerBot Digitizer, during the opening remarks of the 2013 South by Southwest conference. The MakerBot Digitizer is a 3D scanner, which can scan objects approximately six inches wide by eight inches tall, turning objects in the physical world into digital blueprints which can then be manipulated or printed using a 3D printer.

The Digitizer uses two lasers and a webcam in order to capture surface details of an object that is set onto a rotating tray. The laser beams are reflected off of the object’s surface and captured by the webcam, which turns these reflections into a digital format using MakerBot’s desktop software. According to Pettis, the scanning process takes approximately three minutes and is sent to a computer via USB.

Pettis showed off a prototype of the new MakerBot Digitizer during his opening remarks speech kicking off SXSW. He assured the audience that the consumer ready product, which will be available this fall, will have a different design than the prototype, which appeared to be made of wood with a plastic spinning tray and had numerous loose wires. Pettis showed off the replicator by scanning a garden gnome before revealing a smaller replica of the same garden gnome as a 3D printed object, which was printed earlier.

This new project is an example of MakerBot’s growing value in the burgoning market of 3D printing. MakerBot is no longer simply offering products that output objects, such as printers, but also machines that can easily create 3D designs. Users with no digital design experience can now turn their non-digital objects into 3D models. “The MakerBot Replicator goes hand in hand with the MakerBot Replicator 2,” said Pettis. “Scan [an object] and then make as many as you want on the Replicator 2.”

Pettis was fairly dismissive regarding the high potential for copyright problems, such as users who might want to duplicate LEGO blocks instead of purchasing sets from LEGO itself. He said that the power of the MakerBot comes from being able to take a 3D scan of your head and attach it to a LEGO body, rather than individually printing LEGO blocks yourself. Pettis did express, however, the ease of which it would be to print an actual LEGO block.

There was no mention of the price of a new MakerBot Digitizer. This new product, however, should be available in the fall and is expected to keep in line with MakerBot’s commitment to making 3D printing relatively affordable. The Replicator 2, for example, costs $2,200, which is significantly less than other 3D printers that can range from the tens of thousands to millions of dollars.

AUTHOR BIO
Dann Berg
Follow Dann Berg on Twitter ,Google+. or at Novice No Longer. Follow LAPTOPMAG on Twitter, Google+ or Facebook.
Dann Berg on
Google+
LEAVE A REPLY
Name*
Email* (will not be published)
Website
*Indicates required field
Comments*
Submit Comments

FIND A REVIEW
Laptops
All Product Types Accessories Cars Digital Camcorders Digital Cameras eReaders GPS Laptops MP3 & Video Players Projectors Smartphones Software Storage Tablets / MIDs VoIP Wi-Fi
All Subcategories
All Subcategories All-Purpose Budget Business Desktop Replacement Gaming Multimedia Netbook Nettop Rugged Student Tablet PCs Ultraportable
Brand
Acer Alienware Apple Archos ASUS Averatec BenQ CTL Corp. Dell Digital Storm eMachines Emtec Everex Fujitsu GammaTech Gateway General Dynamics Getac Gigabyte Hercules HP HTC iBuyPower Intel Lenovo MSI Nokia Nvidia OCZ OLPC OQO Origin Panasonic Sager Samsung Sony Sylvania Systemax TabletKiosk Toshiba Verizon Viewsonic Viliv VooDoo Workhorse PC ZT Systems
Minimum Rating
Any Rating Editor's Choice 4.5 Stars 4.0 Stars 3.5 Stars 3.0 Stars
Screen Size
10 11 12 13 14 15 16 17 18 20 4 5 6 7 8 9
Resolution
1024x576 1024x600 1024x768 1200X800 1280 x 720 1280x1024 1280x768 1280x800 1366x678 1366x768 1440x1050 1440x900 1600x768 1600x900 1680x1050 1680x945 1920x1080 1920x1200 800x400 800x480
Weight Range
10.1 - 12.0 pounds 12.1 - 14.0 pounds 14.1 - 16.0 pounds 2 lbs 2 pounds and under 2+ lbs 2.1 - 4.0 pounds 4.1 - 6.0 pounds 6.1 - 8.0 pounds 8.1 - 10.0 pounds Over 16 pounds Under 2 pounds
more options
SUBSCRIBE