Cool handheld 3D scanner

How soon before we hear rumblings in Congress that cool handheld 3-D scanners like this need to be tightly regulated, lest they get into the hands of manufacturers of knockoff goods?

See also: Myhrvold patents 3D printing DRM


  1. Has anyone gotten a quote out of them as to the price for one basic scanner for hobbyist use?  If it’s in the same range as most 3D printers (800-1000$, give or take a couple hundred) then I’ll be seriously tempted, as I suck at 3D modeling, but scanning physical objects to then combine/edit them in novel ways before 3D printing appeals to me.

    But the simple fact that they don’t list at least a basic model for a fixed, reasonable price says to me that they’re not interested in business from individuals, only businesses. 

    Their loss, I guess.

    1. I couldn’t resist finding out, so I filled out one of the email forms on Sunday night, and got a reply back during the day.

      The Go Scan 3D is still a professional, turnkey tool — just below $25k.

      1.  Which doesn’t sound unreasonable to me. If you are in the kind of industry where that video made you sit up and beg that $25k would likely pay itself off in decent order.

      2.  Thank you for doing this.  I agree this price is not unreasonable. I’m just disappointed that it’s not within the reach of individuals (well, individuals who aren’t among the 1%, anyway).

    2.  That was the first question I thought of when I saw it: What price range is it in? It’s still a bit steep, but the price is going to come down. My guess it will be in the $3-$5K range in maybe 3 years, and drop quickly into “affordable” a few years after that.

    1. If this were the Price is Right, you might stand a chance to win, but the actual retail price is…   $24,990.

  2. I’d highly recommend Agisoft Photoscan + a cheap point and shoot camera as an alternative to dedicated 3dscan hardware. With enough good quality photos agisoft photoscan can produce amazingly high quality models, and it only costs $179.

  3. I’ve been looking at

    AgiSoft Photoscan

    Autodesk 123D



    Using the kinect / xbox


    reconstruct me

    Artec 3D scanner (expensive hardware)

    Trying to find some good solutions in this area

    1. I tested it out with no reference points, it works well! The product manager told me that’s what make this scanner better than existing solutions. Also if you scan a large piece, it doesn’t “lose it” while scanning

  4. nice scanner but i recently found a project where they built an autonomous drone doing the scanning without your manual help :) look here:

  5. It will be impossible to regulate. I’ve seen 3d scanners made from some lazercut MDF and two webcams. The software was proprietary last time I checked, but I’m sure there are open source equivalents out there.

    It’s already too late.

    Besides that, mass production of trademarked goods is already easy. Even now all they can do is restrict it from being imported and sold.

    They could legally oblige software makers to implement some sort of database, but the history with encryption software (first illegal to export, now 99% isn’t) shows that people will either work around that or ignore it until the law is no longer upheld. Not to mention that other nationalities won’t give a damn about implementing US software restrictions.

    But what they’ll do instead is probably ban or restrict Arduino’s or something symbolic like that…

  6. Everybody with a knack for 3d programming, image processing and electronics can throw one of these together using:
    – RasPi: $50
    – one to three decent webcam: $50 to $150
    – few LEDs: $5 or A laser pointer: $10
    – A bit of soder: $1
    – Plywood: $10
    – Wires: $1
    – Batteries: $10
    – Misc materials (motors, mirrors, screws etc.): $30

    So around $200 for the complete package minus the work of course.

    Good luck regulating that.

    1. I love DIY, but I think you’re understating the complexity of the task. I’ve thrown together a laser-based scanner of my own design, and it was quite a piece of work, and still my results were not near those visible in the demo – and I used a fixed reference system, the lack of which (as opposed to e.g. the “David” system) seems to me to be the one particular thing that makes this system special.

      1. That’s not the point. The software for such devices can be arbitrarily complex. But you can copy software for free. It only takes one (or a bunch of) smart guys to write it. It takes about 5 seconds for you to download it. And then it takes about 200$, a trip to home depot and some consumer electronics store and a bit of handywork to put it together.

        3D scanners are the proverbial mashup devices. They make use of a few commonly available building blocks (batteries, lasers, imaging sensors, integrated computer boards) which have dropped in price trough the floor. They got a bunch of smart people to write the software for their mashborgdevice and put it in a nice plastic injection molded packaging and sell it for a few thousand dollars. It’s the blueprint for all mashborgdevice business. Make something smart from components with neglible cost and resell the result with a 1000% markup. But that business model only works as long as nobody spuriously releases your “smarts sauce” onto github. After that it’s fair game to commodization. 

        1. The cheap 3D scanner you talk about already exists: the Xbox Kinect. Unfortunately even with this amazingly cheap depth camera, the software needed to do the reconstruction relies on algorithms that crawl on most GPUs. The RaspberryPi just won’t cut it unfortunately, even with their nice GPU (for the price).

          Check out ReconstructMe ( ) as an example of the software you’ve envisioned. I can run the software in real time on my new MacBook with a 1GB NVIDIA GeForce GT 650M, but it’s practically unusable on a MacBook from a year or two ago.

    1. Why will they bother making knockoffs? Certainly not to sell to us. We will be printing our own within a decade, the days of cheap transport are coming to a close and the tools for anybody to make nearly anything (including 3d printers and scanners) is coming like a freight train.

  7. This resembles the “meat-scanner” they used back during the making of the first ‘Lord of the Rings’ film.

    Can’t wait for a low-cost, DIY version for hobbyists and hackers. The RepRap is all well and good as an output device, but an input device like this to rip real-world objects would fit the bill as a RipRap.

  8. I am happy guys that you like our scanner. Unfortunately this tool is not accessible to individuals, we are aiming for the SM businesses for industrial application or the educational institutions. Compared to the other industrial 3D scanners, it is really affordable but it is still the price of a small car…

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