3D Banana

If you are looking for a 3D scanner, then there are several choices. I have tried two so far.

The first, having been impressed with Makerbot, was their laser scanner. It costs around £1000+VAT, and is a turntable laser scanner. It does a reasonable job, but I have to say I was disappointed on a couple of counts.

  • The first was that it is very fussy over the colour/lighting of the object. Dark objects are very hard to scan. There are settings to pick light, medium or dark, but even then it is not obvious.
  • The size of scan is very limited, around 8 inches cylinder. This is fine if you want to scan something to print life size on a makerbot, but there are many things to scan that print smaller very well.
  • The resolution was disappointing, I felt.
  • It takes a long time to scan (around 9 minutes).
This is a banana, scanned in Light mode, as a banana is light.

I scanned again in medium...

It is not too bad.

The second scanner I tried is basically the Asus version of a kinect, the Asus Xtion Pro Live, which is available from around £110+VAT, and the Skanect s/w for my mac which was around £60+VAT.

It is not actually intended as a 3D scanner even, but captures depth data for a whole scene. You can move around an object and get all sides within a few seconds. I scanned the same banana on the bed of the Makerbot digitiser in under a minute.

It looks to be around twice the file size, so around twice the detail.

But what is really clever is that you can scan anything that will sit still, even people. So making a bust is really easy. But if you want to scan a room, you can. It also fills in colour at the same time if you need (not useful for 3D printing) and is a fraction of the cost. A definite winner.


  1. It's impressive that a kinect clone and a bit of software to go with it at £170 can do a better job than a £1,000 laser scanner (and a bit shaming for Makerbot too)

    I'm looking forward to seeing little RevK figures (perhaps with a speech bubble saying "NAT is evil") being packaged with routers :)

  2. Is that you after a good day in the last image? Or are we all now waging war once again with Diablo!

    LVL 70 Paragon 150 Demon Hunter myself...

    I'm loving your blogs,I do read them! - it's the only way I can quickly keep in touch with reproduction technology that's within the > £20k budget.

    Jack thinks you're awesome btw for his email addy and thanks again!
    I think he should spend a weeks work experience with you instead of school - he might be engaged for the first time in his life! I can pay in cash for 2 weeks respite lol

  3. This 3D printed banana reminds me of my son’s Fruitylicious Fruit Bouquets art project which was made from this material http://www.3d2print.net/shop/3d-printer-filament/pla-filament/. Anyways, I was about to purchase the Makerbot scanner, good thing I’ve read this honest review of yours.


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