Tag Archives: Kinect

3D Scanning for 3D Printing: How Kickstarter is Changing the Game

3D Scanning 3D Printing

3D Scanning Makes 3D Printing Possible

Last week, two 3D scanning projects were launched on Kickstarter, looking to raise crowdfunding.

  • Fuel3D, which bills itself as “a handheld 3D scanner for less than $1000″ rocketed past its target of $75,000 and is now over $200,000 raised with 23 days to go.
  • Volumental’s 3D Scan-to-Print Web App, on the other hand, is still short of its $20,000 goal (they’ve raised about $12,000 so far).

Let’s take a deeper look.

First, why is 3D scanning important?

While the popularity around 3D printing continues to rise, sourcing good designs to print remains a challenge. Sure, you can buy a MakerBot 3D printer and download some 3D designs from Thingiverse, but what if you wanted to capture something in your home or office? That’s where 3D scanning technology comes in.

New entrants to 3D scanning

On the high end, there is expensive software and equipment used by professionals. Fuel3D is directly competing in this area of the market with a much more affordable solution.

Hardware innovation blog HackThings wrote, “Fuel3D is a handheld 3D scanner that’s capable of capturing extremely high resolution mesh (250 microns) and color information of objects in 3D, for around $1000.  According to the creators, that’s an order of magnitude less than today’s commercial solutions of comparable resolution.”

On the low end, there is free software such as Autodesk 123D Catch. And MakerBot has announced plans for real-world copy and paste technology. This is the area that Volumental is competing. The web-based software connects to a depth camera, like a Kinect, and builds a model on the fly.

HackThings wrote about this solution, “It works as a combination of inexpensive sensor hardware and sophisticated cloud-based software.  Log in to their web service, plug in a $300 depth sensor via USB, walk around the object you want to scan, wait for processing and then click “print” to get a clone either via an online printing service or on your own 3D printer.”

Kickstarter campaigns comparison

It might seem surprising that the higher priced solution has raised more money to date on Kickstarter, but this side-by-side comparison gives us some insight into the mentality of crowdfunding. Supporters don’t want to fund things that are perceived to be free; instead, they want to pledge to campaigns that are changing the market. Fuel3D is reducing the cost of high end 3D scanners by an order of magnitude, while Volumental is competing with free.

If you want to back either campaign, or both, here are videos and links to each project.

Fuel3D: A handheld 3D scanner for less than $1000

The 3D Scan-to-Print Web App by Volumental


Inside 3D Printing Chicago Conference – A Full Retrospective

Inside 3D Printing Chicago

Inside 3D Printing Chicago – What We Saw

Looking ahead to the next Inside 3D Printing conference in San Jose (September 17-18, 2013), we’ve identified some of the key takeaways from the most recent Inside 3D Printing Conference and Expo in Chicago.  The below summary lays out both what we learned during the conference about recent developments in the 3D printing (additive manufacturing) revolution and some of the core challenges still facing the industry.  Through their insightful remarks, Inside 3D Printing’s speakers made clear that this technology is capable of unleashing human creativity beyond the limits of what we consider possible today.

Inside 3D Printing Chicago

Professor Hod Lipson emphasized during his lecture that the future of 3D printing is one of portable, instant manufacturing where complexity is free, and we can create any object we are capable of imagining with zero constraints and zero lead time.  Prof. Lipson’s lecture, along with keynotes by industry heavyweights and a range of tutorial presentations, made clear that the industry continues to make significant strides forward.

Among these positive developments is the fact that, according to Lipson, better, cheaper and faster machines continue to be introduced in a wider range of materials.  Conference exhibitors presented machines capable of printing in alternative materials like copy paper, wood, and rubber-like plastic materials, among many others.  Speakers also emphasized that makers and scholars are working to increase the use of natural raw materials in 3D printing processes, which now include sawdust, salt and wood, among others.  It is also possible to print in more environmentally friendly materials such as bioplastics and in live materials such as human cells.

It is also worth noting that today’s 3D printers can print functional parts in multiple materials seamlessly and with no assembly required.  These parts have already met with a wide range of applications, including engine parts, prosthetics and outer casings for electronic components, among others.  Prof. Lipson anticipates that future printers will be able to create and combine new forms of materials, as well as print integrated systems containing electrical and later digital components.

3D Printed Fashion Dita Von Teese

Importantly, 3D printing has allowed designers to consider a new approach to design.  Inside 3D Printing made clear that the concept of “design for manufacture” is starting to fade with the onset of 3D printing.  Conference presenters Isaac Katz, Michael Schmidt and Francis Bitonti noted that artists and designers are now able to design and 3D print virtually any geometric structure their minds can conjure.  This ability, when paired with the high precision capability of virtual effects and CAD software, now allows designers and makers to think about creating as nature does.  The ultimate impact of this exciting development is that the objects we make can now reflect the organic, layered, fluid and undulating structures found in nature – structures that would be cost prohibitive or impossible to make otherwise.

Inside 3D Printing also provided an opportunity for Michael Raphael of Direct Dimensions to update participants on the impressive capability of 3D scanning technologies.  Raphael noted that, 3D scanning technology has also seen ”massive change” over the past three years thanks to the growth of the 3D printing industry and other technologies like smartphones and GPS.  Scanning equipment has become more powerful, portable, and affordable.  In the past three years, the price of high end scanning equipment has decreased dramatically, with gear that formerly carried a price tag of over $100,000 now available for purchase for under $1,000.  Mobile and video game applications like 123D Catch and Microsoft Kinect have also made 3D scanning technology more widely available and this trend is expected to continue with the release of the Kinect 2.  Applications for 3D scanning technologies are also wide ranging, from current uses in high definition surveying to potential future uses in mass customer apparel.

Avi Reichental Keynote Inside 3D Printing Chicago

At Inside 3D Printing Chicago, attendees were able to watch industry leaders engage the market in new ways.  For example, 3D Systems CEO Avi Reichental announced during his keynote speech a new strategic alliance with Deloitte to assist companies in adopting 3D printing design and manufacturing solutions.  Disney Entrepreneur in Residence Cydni Tetro also evaluated the role of 3D printing in retail and illustrated how the Disney Company has applied 3D printing technology to create premium retail experiences like the “Carbon-Freeze Me Experience,” which allows Star Wars fans to purchase a 3D printed image of themselves appearing to be frozen in carbonite.

In addition to highlighting these and many other exciting developments in the industry, Inside 3D Printing also raised a number of questions about the future of the technology and its impact on existing processes.  As the technology develops, 3D Printing has identified several key questions for industry participants to consider moving forward:

  1. How will materials experts within the industry, as well as the maker community, continue to harness the technology into practical applications and make it widely accessible?
  2. What will be the environmental impact of 3D printing, and how will the ability to print objects in more varied and earth-friendly materials develop?
  3. What will be the social impact of this technology?

Ultimately, despite the naysayers, Inside 3D Printing provided an opportunity for speakers, exhibitors and attendees to share their progress, identify key priorities, and show how 3D printing will transform our future.


Authored by On 3D Printing contributor Lisa M. Pérez, co-founder of Heart Design Inc.

For more coverage on the conference, read our top stories from Day 1 and Day 2.

3D Printing Presents Long-Term Threat to Otherwise Healthy Toy Stocks

Hasbro 3D Printing Threat

Back in April, we discussed how 3D printing could disrupt the toy industry, and in May featured a story about a father printing the Rosetta stone for kids toys.

The analysts at Seeking Alpha have put together an interesting perspective of how an otherwise appealing dividend growth stock might be a failed investment because of the emergence of 3D printing. The stock is Hasbro (NASDAQ: HAS), the owner of brands such as Tonka, G.I. Joe, Transformers, and My Little Pony.

As an investor who is interested in dividends, I look at these metrics to begin my analysis.

  1. Dividend: $1.44
  2. Yield: 4.1%
  3. 5 yr. DGR: 17.2%
  4. Payout Ratio: 44%
  5. Debt Coverage Ratio: 6.1

This is just a quick peek at a few data points, but upon deeper analysis, the company looks relatively healthy with plenty of room to increase its dividend in the near term. Additionally, the recent success of the Avengers movie is expected to translate into revenue for Hasbro. What has me worried is the future of the company five to ten years out. Why? 3-D printing.

The analyst goes on to say that once 3D printing becomes ubiquitous, it will become a threat to traditional toy makers, and we won’t be able to get the genie back in the bottle. He cites some examples of 3D printed substitutes and complements.

  1. The following is a video of a student at a community college who created a STAR WARS TIE Fighter. There are 2 important additional points to note: Hasbro owns the rights to sell STAR WARS toys, etc. I don’t believe that this is an exact/scanned replica because it is not as detailed as the real one would be.
  2. Soon, owners of Microsoft’s (MSFT) XBOX Kinect will be able to use it to scan objects and create 3-D models. This will make it very easy to create the schematic (instructions) that the printer needs.
  3. Also, the Pirate Bay (an illegal file-sharing website that has successfully fought against being shut down) recently created a section for sharing the 3-D schematics. There are already a number of possible cases of patent infringement. The Huffington Post notes one case where someone has shared a file that is probably a copy of a “Warhammer 40,000 Space Marine Dreadnought.”

In my eyes, this is just the first evidence of what will be gaining speed throughout the next couple of years.


Read the full article at Seeking Alpha.

Read more coverage about 3D printing and toys.

Hasbro booth photo by Gage Skidmore used under Creative Commons license.