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).
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.