The other week controversy erupted when National Geographic published a short video in which physicist David Kaplan visited ZCorp HQ and apparently witnessed the incredible feat of 3D scanning a large wrench and replicating it – will all moving parts! We thought this might be slightly misleading, as you can’t scan-capture moving and internal parts in the manner portrayed in the video.
After many posts and discussion, Kaplan has released a short video explaining what actually happened. Some highlights:
What we printed was a template wrench, an image they already have in the computer.There is no way it could have gotten the internal structure of the wrench and so that was crap. The implication that that thing we scanned was the thing we printed was wrong.That is not what happened, and that piece (the video) was edited in such a way that was what you were supposed to believe. And I think that was a very unfortunate thing and was a mistake.. the scanning part was a true thing, but it had nothing to do with the wrench we printed out.
He goes on (correctly) to say that you could scan in raw images that could be manipulated into actual working models and printing. He recommends that you investigate things yourself to find out what’s really going on.
Our thanks to Kaplan for explaining how the experiment actually occurred, and for producing what was otherwise a terrific video of some great tech at ZCorp. We love the publicity for 3D printing, but we are very afraid of a backlash if consumers come to expect the miracle of replication.