Mar 15, 2016 | By Andre

Similar to what is true with today's 3D printing technologies, 3D scanners come in all shapes, sizes, costs and capabilities. Also just like with 3D printers, there is still no 3D scanner that can claim to be the silver bullet in terms of capturing professional grade 3D data, both large and small, in full-colour at an affordable price. Well, It seems a small German company called 3Digify is now hoping to offer the full-package with their recently launched Kickstarter campaign.

Unlike most 3D scanning solutions that rely entirely on a standalone device, the 3Digify approach is based on the premise that most people already have access to the core components that make capturing 3D data possible. This means that if you have a digital camera, a video projector and a computer, you already have the hardware needed to make a high-resolution, full-color 3D scan. So with this Kickstarter, 3Digify is essentially offering a membership based service to access their capture algorithms (6 years in the making) for converting your 3D scan information into a 3D file.

As seen in the above scanner comparison chart, their technology is able to capture more data than most professional grade 3D scanners out there in part because they use the full resolution of your camera, whereas most scanners (or so it is claimed) rely on low-resolution image capture technology.

The team also suggests their service can produce significantly higher scan quality than other 3D scanning technologies (such as Autodesk’s 123D Catch) in part because of the high-resolution projector that is necessary for their system to work.

And while I’m typically hesitant to believe everything I read on a Kickstarter campaign page, the accuracy of their scanned examples found on their sketchfab page provide a good reason to get excited considering the range of items on display. From my experience, there are typically 3D scanners that are better suited for large objects and others for smaller items where detail precision is more important over object size. 3Digify is different by offering a 10-100 micron capture precision and can accurately manage objects as small as 5cm x 5cm x 5cm to as large as 3m around.

Of course, while the type of camera being used will no doubt have an affect on the quality of your scan, you can get started with hardware costing as little as €120 (Logitech C270 web camera + Crenova XPE300 projector). It’s worth studying the below images that quickly give you a good idea of how the quality of camera available affects the final scan quality.

Further to data acquisition, their algorithms make considerations for stabilization, calibration, RAW data export, cleaning, merging, meshing, parameterization, and texturing. Additionally, if you prefer some automation when it comes to your 3D scanning approach, a DIY turntable option is available if you’re able to scrap together a Raspberry Pi, shield, memory card, stepper motors, power supply and their 3D printed rotating enclosure.

With all of the above said, it should come as no surprise that backers of the campaign will be gaining access to the tools via a discounted subscription (the 3D printable turntable is to be made available through open-source instructions).

As with many Kickstarters, the benefit of backing now is to gain both early-bird access and also savings when it comes to the longevity of the paid portion of the membership (a free version will also be available as per the feature breakdown chart below.

As things stand, the team has a long way to go before reaching their €60,000 Kickstarter campaign goal, but the proof does seem to be in the pudding in terms of what they can produce so I’m optimistic they’ll succeed. Heck, even if they don’t fund, they’ve been working hard on their software for 6 years now and have undoubtedly come up with a high-quality product. I imagine they’ll be developing their 3Digify platform for a long time to come no matter how successful the campaign ends up being.



Posted in 3D Scanning



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