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July 3, 2014 AT 1:00 am

3D Scanning on Vacations – Scancation tips from Bre Pettis #3DPrinting #3DThursday

scanation-photo1

I scanned a few of my favorite stones and ran them through 123D Catch which makes a 3D model from up to 70 photos of the object. It’s pretty cool to think that yesterday I was walking among these stones and today I’m printing them out on the MakerBots in my office.

It’s interesting to note that this feels a lot like the old days of vacation film photography. The process of processing the photos into a 3D model feels a lot like when I used to develop celluloid film after a vacation.

Someday, printing 3D models will be normal for everyone, for now, it’s just normal for all the MakerBot operators in the world.

If you decide to go on your own scanning vacation, aka scancation, here’s my process and tips for acquiring models.

  • Lighting conditions matter. A cloudy sky is much better than a sunny one so that you can get all the details of your subject.
  • Fill the frame, but make sure to leave some area around the object in the picture. 123D Catch uses reference points in the object to make eve
  • rything fit together.

  • Use all 70 pictures allowed by the software. The more pictures, the better the scan.
  • Scan weird things. Sometimes the most iconic stuff of a location isn’t the most obvious. Some friends of mine scanned all of Canal St. in NYC and said the interesting parts were the giant piles of trash bags which are one of the local overlooked pieces of landscape art.
  • Don’t forget the top view. If you are capturing a subject that is tall, do your best to get above it and take a picture. A quadcopter could be handy for that.
  • Fix it up with Netfabb. After I upload the photos into the 123D Catch online portal, then I use Netfabb basic to slice off all the weird parts and cut a flat bottom onto the object.
  • Make sure to upload your scans to Thingiverse. We can all make models of your SCANCATION.

scanation-stone

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