Electronic Design
Matterform Interview – Low Cost 3D Scanner

Matterform Interview – Low Cost 3D Scanner

I recently covered rapid prototyping and 3D printers (see Tap New Technologies To Produce Practically Perfect Prototypes). So what would the best complement be to a low cost 3D printer? How about a low cost 3D scanner?

Matterform's 3D Scanner (Fig. 1) is a portable 3D scanner priced under $600. I talked with Adam Brandejs and Drew Cox, cofounders of Matterform, about the Matterform 3D Scanner.

 
Figure. 1 The Matterform 3D Scanner is a low cost, portable 3D scanner that is the ideal complement to a 3D printer.

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Wong: What is Matterform 3D Scanner?

Matterform: The Matterform 3D Scanner is the world’s first, truly affordable 3D scanner for anyone!

The Matterform 3D Scanner allows anyone to take a physical object, and turn it into a digital 3D model on your computer. From there, you can print your file on any 3D printer, or online printing service. Or use the model you created in an animation or video game. It’s lightweight, portable, and compact, making it easy to integrate into your workspace. Anyone can use it. End of story. Unfold it, plug it in, place an object on the scan bed and press go! It’s that simple. Really. Not only is the Matterform 3D Scanner the first affordable 3D scanner, but for the first time ever in the home 3D makerspace, comes a product that you can actually be proud to have on your desk. Long gone are the days of laser cut wood and threaded rod projects. Get creating and scanning right out of the box. When not in use, the Matterform 3D Scanner easily folds and tucks away on a shelf, and because of the built in handle it also makes it easier for you to transport it should you ever want to.

Features at a glance: High resolution scan created with a high definition camera and dual lasers. All scanners are fully assembled and tested prior to shipping. There are no kits here. Easy folding design makes storage or transport simple. Quick scans. Multiple quality settings can be chosen but an average scan is 3 minutes. Scan objects up to 190-mm by 190-mm by 250-mm (7.5-in diamter and 9.75-in heigh). Dual stepper motors for full software control over the scan bed and the z-axis. See the point cloud being captured in real time! Full version of software included for PC, Mac or Linux. .STL, .OBJ, and point cloud .PLY formats

Wong: How does the Matterform 3D Scanner work?

Matterform: The Matterform 3D Scanner scanner uses a high definition camera and dual laser lines to capture 3D scans in as little as 3 minutes. The Matterform 3D Scanner can scan objects up to 190-mm by 190-mm by 250-mm (7.5-in diamter and 9.75-in heigh), and yet folds up into a compact size. The unit works from a standard 5 V DC power supply and is connected to the PC via a single USB 2.0 connector. The software was designed from the ground up, and works seamlessly with the hardware.

Free to use and download, the software is available for PC, Mac and Linux. Whether you’ve used 3D software before or if you’re just getting into it now you’ll find the Matterform 3D Scanner software was designed to be as easy as possible. After a one time setup, scanning becomes as easy as one click. We know you want to spend your time creating things and being creative, not calibrating, tweaking hardware or figuring out yet another tool.

Because the Matterform 3D Scanner is one solid desktop device, the objects you scan are accurate and precise. Unlike software based solutions, the Matterform 3D Scanner gives dimensional data, making 3D scans far more useful. We’re aiming to make the 3D files compatible with all major CAD packages, 3D modelling software and 3D printers. Currently, models produced from the Matterform 3D Scanner, can be saved as .STL, .OBJ, and point cloud .PLY formats. Making it easy to integrate scans within existing systems, such as 3DS max, Maya, solidworks, cinema 4d, google sketchup, rhino, True space, etc.

Currently the resolution of the Matterform 3D Scanner, on a 4-in figurine, is 0.43-mm @ 0.5 degree scans, with an accuracy of +/- .2-mm. We're quite excited about the current results, and are working everyday to continue improving the resolution.

Wong: What are the specs?

Matterform: The Matterform 3D Scanner can scan objects up to 190-mm by 190-mm by 250-mm (7.5-in diamter and 9.75-in heigh), and yet folds up into a compact size.

Wong: How does the Matterform 3D Scanner compare to other alternatives?

Matterform: Other alternatives start at $3000 so the Matterform 3D Scanner is by far the cheapest

Wong: What software does the Matterform 3D Scanner come with and what does it work with?

Matterform: Custom built software that works with Mac, PC, and Linux

Wong: I heard that you used crowd funding to get started. How has that worked out?

Matterform: Very well - we've achieved over 5X our goal with over $400K contributed so far

Wong: What future enhancements might be in the works?

Matterform: Many! Including color.


 

Adam Brandejs and Drew Cox are cofounders of Matterform, creator of the Matterform 3D Scanner.

Adam Brandejs: Programmer, sculptor, Eagle PCB junky, hacker, and maker... I’ve been making things all my life from robots and code to sculptural art that tours art galleries all over the world. I was dry walling at 7, picked up my first soldering iron at 10, was programming commodore 64’s at 12, picked up 3ds max r2.5 in high school (yeah, I’m old), fixed everyone's computer during university, and then spent a few years in advertising making websites for Audi, Coca Cola, Budweiser, and countless other big name companies you’ve probably never heard of. It was kinda boring though and I’d rather be my own boss.

Drew Cox: I’ve been an entrepreneur since I was 18, and making things since I could move my hands. The many jobs I have had over the years are what make me who I am. Professionally I have been a programmer, artist, art director, and graphic designer. Unprofessionally I am an inventor, hacker, and mad scientist.

My career path has lead me to help build huge brands like Labatt, Budweiser, Audi, Honda, Coca Cola. My hobbies and passion has brought me to respect the names of Prusa, Sherline, Arduino, and every person who has ever contributed to open source projects.

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This file type includes high resolution graphics and schematics.

 

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