The progress of 3D printing and how it’s beginning to plant itself firmly as an everyday technology in the lives of many is demonstrated in Uriah Liggett’s motivation behind creating the ATLAS 3D Scanner. He wanted to create household items with the 3D printer. It sounds easy enough. We’ve seen plenty of real headlines regarding the 3D printing of medical devices, fictional characters on medical TV shows 3D printing blood vessels and body organs – so how hard could it be to produce a fork and a spoon, or a coffee mug at home?
The first step is in creating 3D models, and if you want to do this from everyday objects, already around, a 3D scanner is necessary. It’s also a fun, wonderful tool that can open up a whole new world to the 3D printing enthusiast. Liggett found there were challenges in procuring the right 3D scanner at the right price.
The 3D scanner is an often overlooked part of the 3D printing process, and Liggett saw that there is enormous disparity between performance, resolution, and affordability. Rather than struggling along with a 3D scanner that he purchased at a higher price than even his 3D printer — with abysmal results — Liggett simply made his own. The result was the ATLAS 3D, the first 3D printable laser scanner. And it comes to you with an emphasis on ‘budget friendly.’ The design is open source and open hardware, and Liggett is hoping that soon everyone who desires to will be able to build one for themselves.
Uriah Liggett is an experienced software developer and inventor. As the founder of Murobo LLC, which he established as a platform to share his projects, Liggett has established the Atlas 3D as one of his initial endeavors. Employing the popular Raspberry Pi, Liggett has been able to bridge the gap between price and quality. With the Raspberry Pi, simplicity is key, with no drivers or anything at all to install and all communication occurring through the user’s web browser.
Liggett has launched a Kickstarter campaign through Murobo LLC in which he hoped to raise $3,000. He has already far exceeded his goal so the future is looking bright for all those who desire to scan in 3D with the ATLAS. Those who pledge will receive kits to assemble their own 3D printed scanners, but unless they order the full kit, they have to operate under BYOP – ‘Bring Your Own Pi.’ The kits come with variations on nearly everything to complete assembly of the ATLAS except for the 3D printed parts, which users must complete themselves.
Assembly is extremely simple, as components screw together without any soldering or drilling required of the user. Liggett uses the Raspberry Pi for his design because of the following:
- 5 megapixel camera
- Ability to drive lasers and motors
- Sufficient memory and CPU power to do 3D scanning
In developing the software for the ATLAS, Liggett had to go back to the drawing board multiple times, and make numerous updates. After refining the ATLAS into a product that could perform decent scans, Liggett made prototypes and posted them online. With such positive response, he decided to launch the Kickstarter campaign — and to date with almost $25,000 received in pledges, the continued positive support is pouring in.
FreeLSS, the ATLAS software, is now available on Github, and the OpenSCAD files for all of the 3D printed parts are included in the Kickstarter kits, with electric design information published in week 8 of the project. With the funds received from Kickstarter, Liggett plans to finalize all parts, instructions, and kits. Final testing will be performed, and then products will be shipped.
Will you be pledging to the ATLAS 3D Kickstarter campaign? Have you run into challenges with 3D scanning? Tell us about it in the ATLAS 3D Printable Laser 3D Scanner forum thread over at 3DPB.com.