It wasn’t too long ago that the 3D scanner was known as a rather unwieldy, extremely expensive, hard-to-access quotient in the 3D printing process. Piece by piece though, hardware–and software–have all come together to make the world of digital design and 3D printing much more available to all.
With a push from the making community who threw their hands up in the air at paying thousands for items they could figure out how to make themselves–and do it even better in some cases–several innovative companies have begun putting the 3D scanner not just in your hands, but inside that device you are holding endlessly: the smartphone.
The team at eora 3D came up with the design for their smartphone-powered scanner most definitely due to prohibitive prices encountered when they needed 3D scanning for a project. The result was the eora 3D scanner, a cylindrical device that connects to your phone via Bluetooth and uses a laser to scan the object in precise color, and then allows the phone to analyze the laser and reconstruct the scan into a 3D model.
Getting your phone on board for this process is as simple as downloading the free mobile eora 3D app. Once you have that, you can scan, share your 3D models, edit, and should you wish to make models larger than 3’ x 3’, stitch them together as well. This is a device that we’ve been following over the past months as they have continued to develop their scanner and outline a plan for the future.
Now, the eora 3D team has launched a Kickstarter campaign allowing everyone to get in on early bird pricing for this very affordable scanner. If you pledge in the next few weeks, you can receive the eora 3D 3D scanner for only $199 and the Bluetooth Turntable for $259, handy for scanning objects up to 200 millimeters tall in approximately five minutes.
The scanner is compatible with the iPhone5 and above, as well as:
- Android – Samsung S5 and above
- HTC – one and above
- Google Nexus – 5 and above
- Most Android handsets released in the past year after Lollipop
Offering sub-100 micron precision afforded by the high performance of today’s smartphones, you can own quite a powerful device at an extremely affordable price, with a range of up to one meter or three feet, which can be expanded for your project requirements if you don’t mind piecing it together in editing, as a tripod mount can be used for scanning larger items.
The eora 3D team states that this is the only consumer-grade scanner that comes with built in with a green laser, which is actually its most unique feature, allowing the algorithm running on the app to analyze its distortion on a surface more distinctly, resulting in high-quality scans that can be performed by users in a variety of lighting conditions.
Also offered is a wireless turntable that works well for smaller objects. API integration with Sketchfab is built into the system so you can store, publish, and share your 3D models easily, as well as with Shapeways for ordering–and even 3D Hubs for providing 3D scanning services.
“Our app can export 3D models to all three of these services through API support,” co-founder Rahul Kadori told 3DPrint.com. “Users can scan and create high-resolution 3D models on their phones, edit and manipulate them in-app and 3D print a file through Shapeways or 3D Hubs–or store them online on Sketchfab.”
Originally developed in 2013 as co-founders Asfand Khan and Rahul Koduri were working on a solar project with a parabolic dish and discovered a necessary 3D scanner could cost up to $20,000, the Eora 3D is meant to be not only a high-performance device but also one that is affordable and offers a user-friendly platform and set up–which can be completed in one minute. Each scan takes about five minutes, and according to the team at Eora 3D, generates about eight million points. Files can be exported as .ply, .obj or .stl.
The team already has manufacturers in place from China, and is investigating numerous other routes of funding simultaneously, seeking other seed funding and partners. Will you be backing this project on Kickstarter? Let us know in the Eora 3D Forum thread on 3DPB.com.[Update: within the first minutes of going live, the campaign has already raised more than $17,000 from 70 backers–and rising by the second! Early bird pricing is sure to go FAST.]