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A Copy of a Physical Object


Recently, I purchased a 3D scanner.  The scanners that we all know convert two dimensional objects like paper, photos, or maybe if you’re feeling a little ‘cheeky’, a 2D representation of a 3D object like your…  hand, into a computer readable file.  You can then take that file and do all kinds of things with it.  Drop it into animations, change it, resize it, print it on a 3D printer.

A 3D scanner is conceptually similar except that it converts an actual physical object into a computer readable file.  You’re probably more familiar with this type of technology than you’re aware.  Among other things, it is commonly used to capture actors facial gestures in the computer animated movies we all love.  

The 3D scanner I purchased is a David 3 SL-1 system.  It uses solid light restructuring.  That’s a mouthful, but essentially, it just projects a series of grid patterns onto the object you are scanning, evaluates the curvature of the projected lines, and runs some calculations to convert that into a series of computer files that can then be merged together to make an object.  

Sound complicated?

Enough talk.  Time for pictures!

Here is a shell that my wife and I found at the beach while on vacation a few years ago.  


Here is a screenshot of the computer model that I generated by scanning the shell.


As I’m sure you’ve guessed by now, you’ve already seen a picture of the shell sitting next to the results a scaled down copy of the shell that I printed using white ABS at 100micron resolution on my Makerbot Replicator 3D printer.  I chose to scale the size of the 3D printed shell to demonstrate manipulation of the model.  It is also possible for me to print it at the exact same scale as the original or bigger.  Here are a few more pictures.  




The printer and scanner did an awesome job at really capturing all of the surface detail of the shell.  

So now I need to figure out what to do with this stuff!

Do you have any ideas?  I’d love to scan and/or print your project.  Send me a message with any ideas and we’ll chat.  


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