There seems to be many developments in 3D scanning recently, including the unexpected announcement of a new, very inexpensive handheld 3D scanner from Fuel3D.
The new scanner uses a combination of geometric and photometric sensing to produce a highly accurate (up to 0.25mm resolution) 3D model in either STL or (color textured) PLY formats.
As the device is handheld, it does not have limitations evident in turntable approaches, where the object must be of particular sizes and weights. The Fuel3D is simply moved around the subject.
A key feature of the Fuel3D scanner is the requirement to add a “target” to the scan subject. This is, from what we understand, a single, pre-made mark that is easily detected by the scanner. From its view of this target, the Fuel3D is able to orient itself accurately.
The Fuel3D’s specifications and usage is quite reminiscent of much higher-priced commercial handheld 3D scanners, which cost 10-50x as much. However, like those devices, the Fuel3D also has trouble scanning shiny or transparent objects. There are tricks to overcome these challenges, but we’ll save that for another day.
One aspect scanner makers often forget is that scans must be processed by software, otherwise they’re for all intents useless. Fuel3D has not forgotten: they’ve teamed up with Uformia to provide the necessary software function.
Meanwhile, you might check out Fuel3D’s Kickstarter launch. You can pick up a beta version of this 3D scanner for as low as USD$990. That’s a great deal – if the device delivers as described.