After an initial disclose in March, MakerBot ultimately reveals price for its 3D scanner, which goes on sale today. Is it worth $1,400?

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Geek rockstar Bre Pettis first wowed crowds with his upcoming 3D scanning device in March in ~ the southern by Southwest interaction Festival in Austin. Yet it was no an ext than a tease — a homemade-looking gizmo that showed up to work, however for i m sorry he detailed no price.

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Pettis, CEO of 3D press manufacturer MakerBot, provided only the promise the you might place on the machine any thing (that would fit in ~ a digital cylinder 8 inch in diameter and also 8 inch high) and get a digital file of great enough quality to send ideal to a 3D press to make an accurate copy — essentially promising a 3D Xerox machine. MakerBot calls its new machine the Digitizer.

Digitizer price may be palatable

Today (Aug. 22), the biggest question to be answered: What would certainly it cost? at $1,400, the digitizer is a pricey item, yet it"s possibly inexpensive enough for a curious tinkerer. After all, MakerBot"s latest 3D printer, the Replicator 2, has actually had great sales (so states MakerBot, i beg your pardon hasn"t yet released numbers) the steep price of $2,199 — do it among the pricier consumer 3D printers the end there. The well-known Cubify Cube 3D printer, for example, sell for about $1,500. And also the RepRap build-it-yourself models can be purchased as cheaply as $500.

MORE: 10 good 3D-Printing ProjectsWith that in mind, $1,400 may be a palatable price allude for enthusiasts, specifically if they opt because that a printer that"s cheaper than the MakerBot Replicator. After utilizing a laser come scan objects that rotate on a turntable, the Digitizer spits out standard 3D papers that occupational with any type of 3D printer, not simply MakerBot models. And the Digitizer is radically cheaper 보다 the skilled 3D scanners that expense $10,000 or more (and are not known for lull of use).

Is the MakerBot Digitizer worth it?

Still, the digitizer raises the same concern that 3D printers themselves do: What"s it great for? in ~ Pettis" demo and now top top the MakerBot site, the Digitizer is shown scanning a garden gnome, enabling endless plastic duplicates to it is in made. A new video on the MakerBot site shows Pettis scanning a statue that a tiger.But space garden gnomes and also tigers the most compelling applications MakerBot can think of? If so, the Replicator is essentially for acquisition something cheap and making also cheaper copies of it, due to the fact that most customer 3D printers are limited to plastic that, even at the highest quality settings, have the right to still have actually a stormy surface.

Another option, however, is come send the digital records to a 3D printing company such as Shapeways or Sculpteo; such companies have the right to make copies in finer materials including ceramic and even silver. In that case, the plastic gnome you buy top top Amazon might get one upgrade.

More likely, the Digitizer, if the works as well as advertised, would allow an artist that doesn"t know or care to find out 3D design software come churn out copies of his work, such together jewelry piece or sculpture.

MORE: how 3D printing Is an altering EtsyFor now, in ~ least, artists don"t need to worry about people take it off their designs through the Digitizer or other scanners. It costs more to publish a silver ring, for example, than to to buy one indigenous Tiffany"s.

What other 3D scanners room out there?

The Digitizer is not the only 3D scanner. However for now, at least, it might be the best. As well as the ultrapricey and also user-unfriendly pro models, over there are cost-free and supercheap apps (mostly for iOS devices), such together AutoCAD"s 123D Catch, that create a 3D version from dozens of photos of an object that you take it from different angles. Yet the outcomes — in our tests, at the very least — were abysmal. Multiple attempts to record a Spiderman PEZ dispenser caused only blobs storage of Salvador Dalí creations.

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Our scan that a Spiderman PEZ dispenser through the 123D record app.

However, the Digitizer could look fairly expensive and restricted when a new batch that scanners come the end soon. In September, Matterform will start accepting orders for its $599 turntable-based scanner that was crowdfunded as an Indiegogo project. Like the MakerBot Digitizer, Matterform is restricted in size, able to scan only objects that would fit in a digital cylinder that"s 7.5 inch in diameter and also 9.75 customs high. On Kickstarter, a agency called Fuel3D is gathering funding for a handheld scanner that have the right to scan much larger items (including people) and also capture the color of the initial (which the MakerBot Digitizer can"t do). It will cost $990. Fuel3D to plan to begin shipping its machine in may 2014.Another Kickstarter project, Volumental, will provide a 3D scanning internet browser plugin that uses its cloud service to process scans. A patent will sell for $100, yet you deserve to download the beta software currently for free. Volumental calls for you to lug your own Xbox Kinect or comparable depth camera (models offer for about $300 online). Favor Fuel3D"s device, Volumental can additionally scan lot bigger subjects than the components of one 8-inch cylinder in the instance of the MakerBot Digitizer.If girlfriend don"t check out an immediate need for a 3D scanner, limited to small objects, you might want to wait ~ above these and other scanner projects rather than rushing the end for the Digitizer. However MakerBot is well-known for fairly easy-to-use products and also software. For this reason if you"ve been craving such a device, it"s most likely worth a try.