AMS Below article leader board Dec 14

2d3It’s quite amazing how rapidly the 3D scanning space is developing. There are so many offerings within the market to allow pretty much anyone with a budget of over $200 to accurately 3D scan objects which can then be 3D printed. In fact, there are actually free mobile apps which turn a smartphone or tablet’s camera into a 3D imaging device. The technology will only get better as time goes by and competition continues to stream into the market.

As this trend continues we will begin to see an explosion in the number of 3D models being shared online. Within years almost anything imaginable will be available online as a 3D model. What this means is that we’ll be able to 3D print the world… in plastic at least.

Recently we’ve covered a company called df3d, which has released a free web application that turns 2D images into 3D models within seconds. Although it may not have been the best for dealing with intricate images, it worked quite well with simpler images such as logos or items with a white background. Here we are just days later and yet another application has been unveiled, this time by Uruguay-based Sur3D.

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The application, called Selva3D, enables users to upload a photograph or a logo and after a few minutes have a 3D model ready to download and print if they desire.

“Selva3d.com is an application (still in beta) that I’m developing to transform images into STL files,” stated Alejandro Lozdzeijski, the developer of the app, as well as a fan of the RepRap movement. “I’ve used it several times for my clients and because reprap is about sharing I put it online so you can use it as well.”

The application is very similar to df3d’s, but also has a couple of differences. Selva3D can take up to 10 minutes (for my tests usually about 1-2 minutes) to process the 2D image, as opposed to only few seconds with df3d’s app. Once processed though, it seems like the quality of the 3D model is about on par with, or perhaps a little bit better than, results from df3d’s application.

One thing I liked better about Selva3D as opposed to df3d’s app is that there is no major limit to the image sizes, and the 3D model viewer is much larger. All one needs to do is upload an image, select whether it’s a picture or a logo, and click ‘Transform’. No additional information is required. When done, one can simply click the ‘Download STL’ button and have a 3D model that’s ready for slicing and 3D printing.

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As Lozdzeijski, and Sur3D, continue to update this application, we get closer and closer to a time where intellectual property issues become a real concern. Imagine taking a picture of a patented item, transferring that image into an STL file, and within hours having a near-exact copy of that item. Needless to say, the fact that this is already somewhat possible has to be concerning to some, while exciting to others.

Have you used the Selva3D web application? What are your thoughts on its output? Discuss in the Selva3D 2D-to-3D forum thread on 3DPB.com.

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