No, we’re not talking about 3D printing ACTUAL PETS; no, we mean 3D printed sculptures of your pets.
For some time now 3D printer operators have (and continue to have) a fascination with printing people. There’s something quite special about having a figurine of yourself or a loved one.
These are relatively easy to obtain with current personal 3D printing gear. A modest 3D printer, a Microsoft Kinect and some software will enable you to create printable figurines easily enough.
But will this approach enable capture and 3D printing of pets, too? Sadly no.
There’s one key thing human subjects can do that pets cannot: stay completely still long enough for a scan to take place. If the subject moves at all during scanning, the result will be ruined. Start over. A similar effect takes place with small children.
Or you can use a professional scanning booth. These contraptions contain numerous digital cameras that all trigger simultaneously. The cameras are positioned to capture images from all directions, which are then transformed by photogrammetric software into a printable 3D model.
Because the cameras trigger simultaneously, there is little concern about subject movement. Now you can place pets inside the booth and easily capture them, even if they’re wagging a tail or drooling.
But you don’t have such a booth, don’t you? Don’t despair. There are now several services offering 3D scanning booth services. Unfortunately, you have to physically take your pet to the booth to acquire a scan - and if the service is far away, you’re out of luck.
But there is an alternative: PetPrints of Toronto offers an image-submission approach to pet printing. Simply take a number of images of your pet and send them to PetPrints. They’ll use software, 3D modeling and their best guesses to create a printable 3D model, which they can produce on their array of color 3D printers. You might think the results would be lousy, but the images we see in their gallery are actually pretty decent.
Grab your pet and start taking some pictures!