(pictured above is a printed scan of Kipp Bradford, co-organizer of the Rhode Island Mini Maker Faire)
I got my hands on a Kinect* recently, and I’ve been itching to scan something and print it on my MakerBot Thing-O-Matic. I got as far as scanning things with Kyle McDonald’s KinectToStl, but as I have no skills with 3d modeling software, I had no clue how to turn it into something printable. I tried printing some of the STL files I got out of that tool, but they were way too complex, and it took over an hour just to generate the G-Code for the model.
So I asked around among my friends who were most likely able to help me figure out what to use, and the consensus I got was MeshLab for simplifying the model, and Blender for cleaning it up and trimming it. The biggest breakthrough for me was when I learned about MeshLab’s awesomely-named Quadric Edge Collapse Detection (Shapeways has a nice introduction to it), which let me simplify the model. This was a big help, because it retained most of the original’s polygons, but it also made it easier to work with in Blender (my main reason for taking the model into Blender is to trim away excess bits I don’t want to print).
So, in order to make sure I don’t forget how to do this–and to share this with the rest of you, I’ve posted a guide over at Make: Projects that explains how to do this. I am a total novice when it comes to programs like MeshLab and Blender, and would appreciate any comments or criticism from any of you with more experience!
In the Maker Shed:
MakerBot Thing-O-Matic 3D Printer Kit The MakerBot Thing-O-Matic 3D printer is a breakthrough in 3D printing technology. It prints thing after thing, it’s completely automated! Want to print 100 butterflies? Easy. Want to print an entire chess set? No problem. Buy it, assemble it, and enjoy being the first on your block to live in the cutting-edge personal manufacturing future of tomorrow! Includes the new StepStruder™ MK6 Upgrade, and a FREE copy of MAKE Volume 21, featuring Bre Pettis and MakerBot Industries.
*Disclaimer: I received my Kinect thanks to Ashley Burns of Waggener Edstrom, who sent me one to work with when I received a press