MakerBot CEO Announces 3D Scanner During SXSW Keynote
March 10, 2013

MakerBot CEO Announces 3D Scanner During SXSW Keynote

redOrbit Staff & Wire Reports - Your Universe Online

The co-founder and CEO of MakerBot opened this year´s South by Southwest Interactive (SXSW) event by unveiling a desktop device that can scan small three-dimensional objects, creating a file that can then be used to print 3D replicas of the scanned items.

The scanner has been dubbed the MakerBot Digitizer Desktop 3D Scanner. It was revealed by Bre Pettis of the Brooklyn, New York-based company during his keynote speech at the 2013 SXSW conference.

It uses a pair of lasers and a webcam to scan objects up to roughly eight inches in diameter — a process which takes under three minutes to complete, reports CNN's Brandon Griggs. After the scan is completed, the object is captured in a digital file which can then be printed using another MakerBot device: the Replicator.

“With the MakerBot Digitizer Desktop 3D Scanner, now everyone will be able to scan a physical item, digitize it, and print it in 3D — with little or no design experience,” Pettis said in a statement to

Pettis called the device “an innovative new way to take a physical object, scan it, and create a digital file — without any design, CAD software or 3D modeling experience at all — and then print the item again and again” utilizing one of the company´s 3D printers. He also touted the Digitizer as “a great tool for archiving, prototyping, replicating, and digitizing prototypes, models, parts, artifacts, artwork, sculptures, clay figures, jewelry, etc.”

During his keynote presentation, Pettis said his company´s 3D printers were smaller and a fraction of the price ($2,000) of previous devices that cost approximately $100,000. He also said the printers were used in many different ways, such as helping to create prosthetic limbs for children, allowing companies to develop pre-prototype models of other instruments, and even helping Broadway set designers ply their craft.

“Pettis was light on specifics about the MakerBot Digitizer that he revealed here, but he did provide some basic information as he demonstrated how it worked. It will be available this coming fall, and is ideal for scanning cylinder-shaped objects between 2 inches and 8 inches high,” CNET's Seth Rosenblatt explained in a report. “It will work under indoor light, which is important to note since it uses lasers to scan the objects.”

“As with the Replicator, the technology driving the Digitizer has been around for some time, and while there's a bit of a land rush to be the first to bring it to market, MakerBot's success has put it in a good position to be, if not the first, then certainly the most prominent example of its consumer-facing side,” reported Engadget´s Brian Heater.

“Game changer? Perhaps,” Heater added. “There's still a ways to go on this, and while the company has had some success in testing, there are still some hiccups“¦ Still, it's hard not to get excited about the direction such a device signals both in the development of an ecosystem for the company and for the future of home 3D printing in general.”