3D printing has made all sorts of things possible. From unique jewelry and home decor, to sex toys and prosthetic hands, it seems like it is possible to 3D print anything. Even houses, if you have a big enough printer. Before you can print any object, though, you need to purchase the 3D design of it or be able to make it yourself. Only once you’ve sat down and put in the work of creating an item inside of your computer can you print it out in any form.
Unless you happen to have a 3D scanner. Then it’s pretty much point and click.
What is a 3D scanner?
A 3D scanner is a handheld tool that may be the next step toward widespread 3D printer usage. You plug the scanner into a tablet or other mobile computer and then scan an object, person, or even animal. The scanner takes the image and turns it into a 3D rendering that you can easily edit and print.
What uses does a 3D scanner have?
Let’s say you need a replacement part. Simply scan an existing part and print out a new one. Wedding cake bakers can scan the couple getting married so the bride and groom on top of the cake are, in fact, the ones saying the vows. If you want to make your own action figure or a keychain in the shape of your pet, then a 3D scanner is ideal. You can get that done quickly and easily.
These are just a handful of the hundreds of thousands of potential uses these devices have. The ability to scan real things, and to make replicas of them, is going to lead to big changes in 3D printing as an industry. How big those changes will be remains to be seen, but the potiential is there for another big growth spurt.
If you would like more details on 3D scanners check out the Sense 3D scanner.