The promise of 3D printing is limited by the fact that unless one possesses the proper 3D modeling software and knowledge to use it, there is nothing to print! Aside from price, it’s been a major barrier separating average Joes and Janes from 3D printing.
MakerBot is hoping to change that, as the company announced at SXSW the Digitizer 3D Scanner. Basically, it scans regular objects in three dimensions, which can then be sent to a 3D printer for “printing.” Ideally, this would eliminate the need for manual 3D modeling using specialized and complex software, and open up 3D printing to the masses.
3D skull replacements aside, imagine the practical uses for hobbyists and amateur craftsman. Heck, imagine how useful this could be around the house! Broken appliance bits and pieces could easily be replaced without a trip to Home Depot.
Of course, 3D printing opens up a can of worms in regards to copyright restrictions, and MakerBot is only hastening the inevitable courtroom showdowns, but there is still time before the 3D printing revolution hits the masses. Right now, the MakerBot Digitizer Desktop 3D Scanner is in prototype form, and MakerBot is still tinkering with the hardware and testing the device. Still, it’s hard not be excited by its potential.