Hair: The Bane of 3D Scanning

Those of you who attempt 3D scans of your friends with inexpensive Kinect-based scanning solutions will definitely have feelings about hairstyles. 

Scan-A-Claus? In New York City?

3D Systems’ Cubify division announced a unique service: Scan-A-Claus, just in time for the holiday season. It’s a 21st Century take on a 20th Century tradition: a picture with Santa Claus.    Some readers may recall from their youth the sometimes awkward moments sitting on a strange Santa’s knee waiting for a professional photographer to… Continue reading Scan-A-Claus? In New York City?

Most 3D Scans are In Jail

Every few weeks we are bombarded with press releases from research organizations that are keen to tell the story of how they have captured in great detail a 3D scan of a building or property. Museums in particular are getting into the scanning business. It’s thought that the Smithsonian, for example, has hundreds, perhaps thousands… Continue reading Most 3D Scans are In Jail

The Smithsonian Releases 3D Scans

We’ve written about the Smithsonian’s forays into 3D scanning previously, but now you can access some of the 3D scans they’ve been collecting. Last week the institution released the first batch of 3D scans, all of which can be viewed online and several are suitable for 3D printing.     As of this writing, some 17… Continue reading The Smithsonian Releases 3D Scans

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Smithsonian To Display Transformative 3D Tech

The venerable Smithsonian Institution plans an event to display how the technologies of 3D scanning and 3D printing will transform how they do their work.    The event, Smithsonian X 3D, takes place November 13-14 in Washington DC. They say:    For the first time ever, state-of-the-art 3D scanning and image-based modeling technology paired with… Continue reading Smithsonian To Display Transformative 3D Tech

World Heritage Sites Digitally Captured

CyArk, a non-profit initiative, proposes to digitally capture 500 key culturally relevant heritage sites across the world. They are building a repository of 3D information to protect the sites against damage from the environment, terrorism, vandals and any other threats.    Their process is to use state-of-the-art laser scanning equipment to capture the physical structure… Continue reading World Heritage Sites Digitally Captured

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Design of the Week: Orihon

This week’s selection is Manchester, UK, born, but Chicago-based artist Tom Burtonwood’s Orihon, a 3D printed accordion book.    The piece is interesting because it involves texture, something not normally found in books. Each “page” of the book contains a different texture based on real-life scans taken with the 123D Catch application. It’s a 3D… Continue reading Design of the Week: Orihon

Through a Scanner Fails, Then Succeeds

You might recall the Kickstarter project of one Cosmo Wenman of San Diego, who attempted to raise funds for a project to produce freely downloadable printable 3D scans of famous sculptures. Wenman required funds to arrange for travel and working expenses, but the fundraising campaign failed, having raised only USD$8,174 of the target USD$35,000. Sigh,… Continue reading Through a Scanner Fails, Then Succeeds

3-Sweep Creates 3D Models from 2D Images

In an incredible video presented at SigGraph Asia 2013, researchers demonstrated an amazing new method of deriving full 3D models from only 2D images.    The 3-Sweep software appears easy to use: simply drag your mouse across an image to cue the software to create a 3D model. The specific motion of the mouse drags… Continue reading 3-Sweep Creates 3D Models from 2D Images

Ancient Tudor Sculptures 3D Printed

First they were 3D scanned, then they were 3D printed.   Researchers at the University of Leicester, University of Oxford and Yale worked together to replicate a tomb monument originally designed for King Henry VIII’s illegitimate son, Henry Fitzroy, Duke of Richmond by Thomas Howard, 3rd Duke of Norfolk in the 16th century.    You… Continue reading Ancient Tudor Sculptures 3D Printed

Capturing High-Res 3D Scenes

Scientists at Disney Research have developed a new method of converting a collection of 2D images into a 3D model. While this approach is commonly done – and can even be accomplished on your smartphone with the 123D Catch app, the researchers have found a way to efficiently process huge images. This processing results in… Continue reading Capturing High-Res 3D Scenes

Forme Offers Fantastic Scanned 3D Models

Another new source for 3D models has launched: Forme, focused on high-resolution scans of a wide variety of object categories.    This model repository offers something quite different from the numerous other 3D model repositories that have popped up lately. Forme offers 3D scans, not modeled objects. They’re not provided in STL form, but instead… Continue reading Forme Offers Fantastic Scanned 3D Models

SuperScan Digitizes the World

A partnership between digital scanning company CyArk and science media company Science Visualization could bring the world’s treasures to a science center near you.    The team combines expertise to create a traveling exhibition that commences in 2014 called, “SuperScan: Digitizing the World”. CyArk has been digitally scanning notable structures across the world. Science Visualizations… Continue reading SuperScan Digitizes the World

A Whale of a 3D Print

It was near the end of a South American expedition for Smithsonian Natural History Museum’s Nicholas D. Pyenson, when he learned fossil whales had been uncovered nearby.    Examining the fossils, which had been uncovered by a road crew constructing a new highway across the Atacama Desert, Pyenson discovered the fossils were of a dozen… Continue reading A Whale of a 3D Print

Cubify Capture Announced

Don’t have US$60,000 for a super accurate color 3D scanner? We don’t either, so instead we recommend you try Cubify’s latest app: Cubify Capture. It’s a terrifically simple method to produce a quality 3D scan of objects around you.    Capture uses an approach that’s been used by others: a series of images taken of… Continue reading Cubify Capture Announced

MakerBot’s Photo Booth

It doesn’t exactly print photos, however. It prints sculptures! Of you! It can be found at MakerBot’s retail store in Brooklyn, NY.   Team MakerBot has combined their Replicator 3D printing technology with ShapeShot 3D capture software into a booth setup to provide a true 3D printing “photo booth”. The ShapeShot involves several fixed cameras… Continue reading MakerBot’s Photo Booth

Free For You: A 3D Photo Booth

Computer engineer Jeremy Herrman has developed an amazing software configuration that dramatically simplifies the process of scanning humans. Or anything, really. It’s the software you need to set up a kind of 3D Photo Booth, called ScanBooth.    Readers who have attempted scans of people with open source gear will know very well the issues… Continue reading Free For You: A 3D Photo Booth

De-Extincting a Mollusk

3D printing is an amazing process, not only to simply watch a print appear from thin air, but also for the things it makes possible. We’re reading how a species of mollusk, the multiplacophoran Protobalanus spinicoronatus, extinct for 390 million years has been re-created using 3D printing.    Researchers at the Jackson School of Geosciences… Continue reading De-Extincting a Mollusk

123D Catch In Your Pocket

Autodesk has released an iOS version of its staggeringly easy-to-use 3D model generator, 123D Catch.    The tool isn’t a 3D scanner, exactly, but the results are similar. You collect a series of images of a 3D subject from many angles, then submit them to 123D Catch for processing. Autodesk’s magic algorithms in the sky… Continue reading 123D Catch In Your Pocket

Hands On With Skanect

There’s quite a few free tools to make good use of your XBox Kinect 3D sensor. We’ve already tested ReconstructMe, a wonderful tool for scanning 3D objects. Today we’re taking a look at Skanect, another 3D scanning tool.    Skanect, by Manctl, is available for OSX and Windows XP+ (32 or 64 bit versions). If… Continue reading Hands On With Skanect

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Cirque Du Soleil 3D Prints?

Fabbaloo has learned that international dance company Cirque Du Soleil uses both 3D scanning and 3D printing technology.    Evidently most of Cirque Du Soleil’s acrobats are 3D scanned and the models are held in a repository. Custom masks and other personal-fitting equipment are 3D printed for each member of the troupe for use in… Continue reading Cirque Du Soleil 3D Prints?


Yet another use for 3D printing: Printing Your Head. Yes, this has been done before quite a few times, but HeadBobble seems to have simplified the process and produces great 3D prints in full color. And you get a Bobblehead!   How does it work? At their website you go through a selection process, where… Continue reading HeadBobble!

3D Printing A Canadian Cabinet Minister

During an official visit to the AssentWorks Makerspace in Winnipeg, Canadian Federal Cabinet Minister Tony Clement had his picture taken numerous times, as typically happens on such public events – but one of those images was a 3D scan.    Readers all know what happens when someone is 3D scanned: a 3D print emerges shortly… Continue reading 3D Printing A Canadian Cabinet Minister

Dinosaur Printing in Detail

There’s a terrific article on The Verge describing all the details of actual Dinosaur printing. That’s the science of 3D scanning dinosaur fossils and using 3D printing technology to produce accurate replicas of the bones.    Why do this? Why not just use the original bones? It turns out there are a number of benefits.… Continue reading Dinosaur Printing in Detail

The Met’s 3-D Scanning and Printing Hackathon

An interesting experiment took place at New York City’s Metropolitan Museum of Art recently, in which the Met tag-teamed with MakerBot to produce 3D art models.    A team of folks from MakerBot were invited by the Met to journey through several collections to perform 3D scans of famous artwork. The scans were then converted… Continue reading The Met’s 3-D Scanning and Printing Hackathon

3D Scanning by UAVs

What’s that buzzing noise? It’s the Unmanned Aerial Vehicle (UAV) hovering over your home, and now it could be taking a 3D scan of your house!    According to a report in PhysOrg, that scenario is now a possibility as researchers from the University of Granada in Spain have developed a way to combine 3D… Continue reading 3D Scanning by UAVs

Want Your Shapeshot?

Strolling around Rapid 2012 we encountered an unusual service named ShapeShot. What do they do? Well, they shoot your shape.    ShapeShot is a project from Baltimore-based Direct Dimensions, a consultancy that specializes in 3D scanning projects. That’s what ShapeShot does: it scans your face and places it into an online repository. They feel it’s… Continue reading Want Your Shapeshot?

Be An Action Hero!

There are quite a few specialized 3D print services emerging in the consumer space, but we kinda like this one: Firebox. Why? Because you can easily (well, by paying their fee of £79.99, or USD$127) you can get your own head on a real action figure.    The process is simple: take two pictures of… Continue reading Be An Action Hero!

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Tutorial: Fix Your Messed Up 3D Scan

If you ever try to do 3D scanning at home using the rudimentary tools now available, you’ll quickly realize it isn’t particularly easy. Sure, the capture part of the job is relatively straightforward, but the clean up phase is often quite difficult.    Typical raw scans contain not only stray data points and somewhat inaccurately… Continue reading Tutorial: Fix Your Messed Up 3D Scan

3Dify From Matherix Labs

Some weeks ago we wrote on a breakthrough in inexpensive 3D scanning by ReconstructMe, which permits true, 360-degree 3D capture of 3D models of real objects. While ReconstructMe works quite well, it requires a super-powerful graphics card in your Windows PC simply because it’s producing the 3D model in real time as you scan.   … Continue reading 3Dify From Matherix Labs

Human Cloning in Akihabara

We’ve written about various methods of scanning yourself in 3D, then replicating your face, hands or favorite body part on a 3D printer. But what if you didn’t need a 3D printer and could simply walk into a retail location and get it done on the spot? That’s precisely what’s going on in Tokyo’s Akihabara… Continue reading Human Cloning in Akihabara

3D Printing Video Controversy

A 3D printing video from National Geographic went viral on the interwebs last week and quickly generated some controversy among 3D printing enthusiasts.    In the video, physicist David Kaplan visited ZCorp HQ to “find out whether they can print a crescent wrench”. Kaplan was shown a selection of amazing items printed on ZCorp devices,… Continue reading 3D Printing Video Controversy

Photofly Makes 3D Models Easy

There are several ways to produce 3D models of real-life objects and Autodesk has provided another one: Photofly. This is a service and software combination, in which you take around 50 overlapping photographs of your subject and then upload them to Photofly. The service then grinds through some very serious processing to produce detailed 3D… Continue reading Photofly Makes 3D Models Easy

3D Scanning by UAV

You may have guessed we’re fascinated with new ways of capturing 3D models for printing, and this week we’ve found a rather unusual method: UAV images. Researchers at Ecole Polytechnique Fédérale de Lausanne’s Computer Vision Laboratory have developed software to combine thousands of images gathered by UAVs into very usable 3D models.    The software,… Continue reading 3D Scanning by UAV

3D Dino Prints

Another example of 3D data capture took place when a team from Southern Methodist University scanned prehistoric dinosaur tracks using 3D scanners out (literally) in the field.    The team used a combination of hardware (including a NextEngine HD Desktop 3D scanner with ScanStudio HD Pro software, RapidForm XOR2 Redesign and LightWave 3D) to capture… Continue reading 3D Dino Prints

MyBestFit Could Be MyOwnScan?

There’s an interesting problem with women’s clothes: the sizes are inconsistent between brands, leading to a lot of experimentation before the right item is selected. However, MyBestFit now offers (at least in some major USA malls at high-end shops) a 21st century solution. They take a quick 3D scan of the buyer, similar to what… Continue reading MyBestFit Could Be MyOwnScan?

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3D City Models Made By Missiles

Technology originally used for targeting missiles has been adapted to provide incredibly detailed 3D models of cities. Saab’s spin-off company C3 Technologies is gathering up a library of 20 city models suitable for licensing for mapping applications. We’re hoping they’ll make this data available for 3D printing, too.    While we’re always watching for new… Continue reading 3D City Models Made By Missiles

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Probing Knut’s 3D Brain

Berlin Zoo’s most famous resident, the polar bear banned Knut, died suddenly this past March. Apparently the bear, famous for controversy surrounding the practice of humans raising bear cubs, had an infection that led to encephalitis and accidental drowning.    While Knut is gone, his brain lives on. It’s been captured in 3D by “some… Continue reading Probing Knut’s 3D Brain

Capture That Dinosaur!

Or at least capture their footprints. Most dinosaur species are now extinct, save for those that fly, but the large extinct versions occasionally left behind amazing fossil footprints. We’ve been reading a report of how palaeontologists have been using 3D scanning techniques to capture detailed 3D models of these fossilized prints for later analysis. According… Continue reading Capture That Dinosaur!

A Simple Scanning Service

3D Scanner manufacturer GKS Global Services has introduced a really simple method of obtaining complex 3D scans. They’re addressing the scenario where you need a 3D model of an existing physical object, but you can’t afford to buy your own scanner and/or don’t happen to have the skills to convert the data into a usable… Continue reading A Simple Scanning Service

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Rapido3D 3D Services Get Personal

UK-based 3D “Laser Scanning and 3D Mesh Bureau” provides the standard 3D services such as 3D printing, scanning, engraving, CNC machining, etc. But they also offer two unusual 3D services: “Head and Facial Scanning” and the more ominous “Body Scanning”. The results are startling, as you can see in this video.    According to their… Continue reading Rapido3D 3D Services Get Personal

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Real-Time 3D Scanning – With a WebCam!

Researchers at the University of Cambridge have developed a breakthrough technique for vastly simplified 3D scanning. The system, called ProFORMA (Probabilistic Feature-based On-line Rapid Model Acquisition) uses 3D Delaunay tetrahedralisation to transform scanned points into a 3D surface mesh in real time by merely hand-turning an object in front of a webcam! The video demonstrates… Continue reading Real-Time 3D Scanning – With a WebCam!

Scan That Prison!

Every year a “Mock Prison Riot” takes place at a decommissioned prison in West Virginia. Corrections professionals arrive once per year to undertake training activities, but in order to properly prepare for the event, they have to know something about the prison. Unfortunately, no proper blueprints exist, and participants had to manually measure as much… Continue reading Scan That Prison!

Build Your Own 3D Scanner?

  You know you want to. Now you can! There’s a relatively straightforward approach for making an inexpensive 3D scanner using stuff you probably are sitting beside right now, and several websites detail methods of doing so, some even including software you can use yourself. The approach is described by Jean-Yves Bouguet and Pietro Perona… Continue reading Build Your Own 3D Scanner?

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Living in the Past with Future 3D Printing Services

  3DScanCo, makers of what else, but 3D Scanners, published an interesting case study involving their scanning products. They were approached by Priceless Past, who wished to obtain a highly detailed digital capture of a priceless bronze dagger from ancient China: Priceless Past entrusted 3DScanCo to perform non-contact 3D laser scanning on the dagger at… Continue reading Living in the Past with Future 3D Printing Services

Extinct Lemur Ressurected by 3D Technology

    Scientists from the Stony Brook University Medical Center recently used 3D technology to reconstruct the skull of an extinct mammal. The Hadropithecus stenognathus is a species of giant lemur now extinct, with only two examples of skulls known to exist.   The examples were in fact merely pieces of skulls. However, researchers noticed… Continue reading Extinct Lemur Ressurected by 3D Technology

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Radiohead in 3D

  Band Radiohead has produced a video that makes extreme use of 3D modeling and scanning tools. The video “House of Cards” is entirely made from 3D scans and models of live actors and actual neighborhoods. Of course, once captured electronically, the actors and neighborhoods can be blown up! Actually the models fragment and blow… Continue reading Radiohead in 3D

12,616 Lenses for your Camera

We’re not sure where this one is going, but a very interesting optical development may eventually result in astounding 3D scanning technology. A group from Stanford University has developed a unique optical camera concept. While a typical camera may have a 3MB pixel digital sensor, they want to modify it to contain a separate lens… Continue reading 12,616 Lenses for your Camera

3D Scanning Is Simple

Actually, it’s not. Instead we’re referring to a terrific page containing links to a whole lot of information on all conceivable 3D scanning technologies. links to technology, product and vendor information ranging from Acoustic Position Trackers to the ZettMess Portable 6 Axes Measuring System. Via

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We haven’t previously posted on 3D scanning services, but we found one. Atlanta-based 3DScanCo provides industrial-quality scanning and modeling services. This highly capable company uses a wide variety of scanning technologies, including: 3D Laser Scanning, White Light Scanning, Photogrammetry, Machine Vision, Coordinate Measuring Machines, 3D CT / MRI Scanning, Theodolite, Trackers and something called “Destructive… Continue reading 3DScanCo