A Brilliant Solution for 3D Scanning

By on May 10th, 2018 in Ideas

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 Making 3D scanning a lot more fun
Making 3D scanning a lot more fun

If you’ve even used a handheld 3D scanner, you know what’s going to happen. 

You will lose track of what you are doing because the feedback you need is on your laptop’s screen, which is out of sight as you move around scanning. 

The laptop screen shows what the 3D scanner “sees” from moment to moment, and it’s essential that you use this screen to ensure you’re pointing the handheld 3D scanner appropriately. You might think it’s correct, but in fact it is so easy to miss an area if you’re guessing. 

This is because virtually all handheld 3D scanners are essentially “dumb” and require a continuous, wired connection to a typically powerful laptop running the software that actually drives the scanning process. I’ve seen only one “all on board” completely portable 3D scanner, but it’s the exception, and is pretty heavy

Veteran 3D scanner operators will be familiar with the contortions and neck-stretching motions that must be done in order to keep on track while 3D scanning. 

Others may attempt to hold the 3D scanner AND the associated laptop, but with multiple cables dangling with your feet, this is a risky maneuver. And potentially quite expensive, if you crash and need to re-purchase your 3D scanner and a laptop. Oh, and injuries, too. 

Ideally you’d want a feedback screen right on the 3D scanner, but that just doesn’t exist (with the once exception above). 

However, Peel 3D, a new 3D scanner company, came up with a brilliant and truly inexpensive solution to install a feedback screen on their (or any) handheld 3D scanner. 

Here’s how it works: you use a special app that mirrors the content of your laptop screen to a smartphone. The smartphone is then bolted to the top of the 3D scanner using a standard GoPro-style mounting system. 

 Peel 3D's design for adding a screen to a 3D scanner
Peel 3D’s design for adding a screen to a 3D scanner

This does add some slight weight to the scanner, which is important as you must hold the device accurately throughout the scan. But it’s not enough to bother most operators. 

The app Peel 3D recommends is Splashtop, a screen-mirroring app that works with both Windows and Mac operating systems and most mobile systems. It’s actually free for personal use, if you happen to own a personal handheld 3D scanner, too. 

Peel 3D also recommends using a standard GoPro mount, which attaches by adhesive to your 3D scanner. There are plenty of custom and universal smartphone GoPro mounts that will certainly fit any conceivable smartphone you might consider using. 

I quite like this solution, because it is perfectly functional and actually costs almost nothing to implement. All handheld 3D scanner operators should consider this approach. Thanks, Peel 3D! 

Via Peel 3D

By Kerry Stevenson

Kerry Stevenson, aka "General Fabb" has written over 8,000 stories on 3D printing at Fabbaloo since he launched the venture in 2007, with an intention to promote and grow the incredible technology of 3D printing across the world. So far, it seems to be working!