9/Scanning in 3D
“This is all experimental. There is no 'way.'”
— Bre Pettis
Welcome to the bleeding edge.
You no longer need an expensive high end 3D scanner to create good quality
scans that are suitable for 3D printing. There are now an increasing a number
of affordable ways to digitize physical objects. Some of them require addi-
tional hardware with a RGB camera and depth sensors, like a Microsoft Kinect
or a ASUS Xtion shown in Figure 9-1 (see “Kinect vs. Asus Xtion” (page 136) for
a comparison), but you can also use your phone or a digital camera to capture
images. These images can then be converted into 3D models, cleaned up
using mesh repairing software and then printed on your MakerBot.
Figure 9-1. The Microsoft Kinect and ASUS Xtion
What is 3D Scanning?
A 3D scanner collects data from the surface of an object and creates a 3D
representation of it. The Kinect and Xtion both work by beaming infrared light
at an object, and measuring how far away each reflected point of light is. It
then turns each individual point into a collection of points called a point
cloud ( Figure 9-2 ). Each point in the cloud is represented with an X, Y, and Z