Preview: 3 Hot New Scanners

3D Printing & Imaging
Preview: 3 Hot New Scanners

We’re excited about three new 3D scanners that debuted just too late to review in this issue. All three have a turntable that rotates the object for complete 360° scanning, and all claim to be easy to use, with custom software that creates water-tight scans ready for 3D printing.

Photo: Spencer Higgins
Photo: Spencer Higgins

MakerBot Digitizer / Available in the Maker Shed

Price $1,400

Object scan size 2″–8″×2″–8″ dia.

Resolution 0.5mm (0.0197″)

Scan time 12 minutes

OS supported Linux, Mac, Windows

File formats exported STL

Availability Now

The MakerBot Digitizer uses a camera and dual lasers to scan objects, capturing details down to 0.5mm. It spins the object twice — once for each laser — then combines the point clouds in software and, for MakerBot printer users, exports the 3D mesh straight into MakerWare for printing.



Price $579

Object scan size Up to 9.8″×7″ dia.

Resolution Details to 0.43mm, size to ±0.25mm

Scan time About 5 minutes

OS supported Mac, Windows

File formats exported STL, OBJ, and PLY (point cloud)

Availability Expected late November 2013

The sleek, dual-laser Matterform looks similar to MakerBot’s offering but at a much more maker-friendly price, and it promises the addition of full-color scanning, a moving camera head for capturing tricky angles, more file formats, and a clever portable case.


CADScan Cubik

Price $1,125

Object scan size 0.4″–7.8″×0.4″–8.6″ dia.

Resolution 0.05mm—0.15mm (50—150 microns)

Accuracy ±50—150 microns

Scan time 15 minutes+

OS supported Linux, Mac, Windows

File formats exported STL, OBJ, PLY, Sketchfab

Availability Expected October 2013

CADScan’s Cubik senses depth with a “series of phase-shifted patterns” projected by LED arrays and captured by dual 5MP cameras. It’s their own patent-pending variant of structured-light scanning, and they’re promising much higher resolution than laser scanners, with full-color capture as well.

Ultimate Guide to 3D Printing 2014This review first appeared in MAKE’s Ultimate Guide to 3D Printing 2014, page 96. Check out the full issue for more!

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Anna Kaziunas France is interested practical digital fabrication focused project documentation (anything that turns codes into things), as well as adventures in synthetic biology, biohacking, personal genomics and programmable materials.

She's currently working on the forthcoming book "Design for CNC: Practical Joinery Techniques, Projects, and Tips for CNC-routed Furniture".

She’s also the Academic Dean of the global Fab Academy program, the co-author of Getting Started with MakerBot and compiled the Make: 3D Printing book.

Formerly, she worked as an editor for Make: Books, was digital fabrication editor and skill builder section editor for Make: Magazine, and directed Make:'s 2015 and 2014 3D Printer Shootout testing events.

She likes things that are computer-controlled, parametric, and open— preferably all three.

Find her on her personal site, Twitter and Facebook.

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