3D Scanning & Printing

Brooke Clarke 2013

Hand Held Printers


There are a number of 3D printers that are affordable for home use.  To go with these there are ways to capture the shape of 3D objects so they can be duplicated.

The first book I'm getting is: Make: Ultimate Guide to 3D Printing.  Most of the early 3D printers took some "tuning" i.e. adjusting the temperature and timing along with step size to get a given part to come out as expected.

It seems that  you can do rapid prototyping with a 3D printer, but it's not going to be an economical way to manufacture items in quantity.  Great for one off items.

TED TEDSalon London Spring 2011 - Lisa Harouni: A primer on 3D printing
She doesn't seem realistic regarding the cost of the parts, that's to say the machines that can do metal are very expensive so using many hours to make a single part costs a lot.
Even for the hobbyist grade plastic parts it's not a competitive way to make parts unless they are too complex for conventional machining.  So, even here expensive.
It makes sense to make a prototype not as a manufacturing process.

Staples has 3D printers and supplies in some stores.


I'm putting printers above scanners because they came first.

Maker Bot (Wiki)

Has a few different models.

RepRap (Wiki)

An open source project where the machine can make most of the custom parts needed to build another machine.
Wowser LLC, Willits, CA


Cartridge feed, comes in different sizes with one or two extruders.
Manual DSLR beta software for capture.

Defense Distributed  (Android App)

Has downloadable files for a number of firearms.  Their first AR-15 lower receiver broke after a small number of shots and the pistol is probably good for only a few shots.
This has created quite a stir at the BATF.  Photos of failed plastic flare launcher pistol after firing live ammo.


Has the UP, UP+ and UP Mini.  The UP was the printer at the Willits, California Mini Maker Fair at the table next to me.

There are a couple of ways of starting a part.  The iBP, intermediate Base Plate is a glass plate that you clip to the machine.
Either green paint or Kapton tape is used between the part and the support.
A "raft" is a layer of plastic that can be put down below a part to support it.
It's not clear why you would use either of the three methods described above.

In the Youtube videos by X-object (now up3Dusa) they show how to replace the build plate heater+thermocouple assembly.  But did not use any thermal grease, which should be there.

It's possible to print a bearing including the balls all in one go.  It's not clear how the software knows what parts of something are separate objects and what's all one thing.

MendelMax 2 (Wiki) - Makers Tool Works - YouTube -for

Lutzbot - TAZ - almost a 1 foot cube build volume

Review1, Review2

Open-source metal 3-D printer - based on MIG welder.

MarkForged Mark One 3D printer - carbon fiber, fiberglass and plastic
I'm guessing that it puts down a single fiber so that needs to all be in a single layer (not necessarily in the same plane but that makes it easier).  It would also be possible to put down a spiral.
Dremel 3D Idea Builder -  3D20 (Amazon & Home Depot $999)
Maximum Build Volume: 9 x 5.9 x 5.5
Layer Thickness: 4 mil
ONLY builds Dremel PLA filaments
Shapeoko 2
Work area is approximately 12" x 12" x 2.5" but can be enlarged and can accept long sheets in steps.
Expansin kit for 1 x 1 meter X-Y area.
Laser upgrade kit at J Tech Photonics (they make a number of laser upgrade kits for other 3D printers)
These will cut balsa wood, cardboard, tag board, plastic, foam board, %etc.

Hand Held Printers

This amounts to just the extruder without the X, Y & Z positioning stages.

3Doodler - this is the first one I heard of and Version 2 will be out  toward the end of May 2015.
Fig 1 Pen
Fig 2 Pen
Fig 3 Bottom of box w/ Power Supply and tools
Fig 4 ABS sticks
Fig 5 PLA sticks
Fig 6 Nozzle Set
Fig 7 Stand

ABS or PLA plastic - YouTube videos - Facebook
US 20140154347 A1 Hand-held three-dimensional drawing device, Peter Dilworth, Maxwell Bogue, Wobble Works LLC, Jun 5, 2014, 425/87
3mm dia plastic, two heat settings (ABS and PLA).
On order 29 April 2015 - expect end of next month.
PC Magazine review of version 1.
engadget review of version 1 "
It's easy to use, but hard to master."

China Vision makes a 3D pen for about half the cost of the 3D doodler.

Lix Pen - "smallest", runs from a USB power port, fixed 392 def F tip which works for both ABS and PLA (1.75mm dia) , no fan, not released as of 29 Apr 2015, $140, Kickstarter - July 2014 started development, March 2015 still in development, they make a ball point pen with the same look.

The 3Doodler on steroids =
Protopiper - similar to a packing tape dispenser modified to produce hollow tubes of controlled length with various joints on the end.


Manual Digital Camera

One way of capturing a 3D shape is to use a DSLR and take a series of photos circling the subject and at two elevations.
The problem with this approach is that there's no dimensional information inherent in the process and if too few photos are taken the software will not be able to stitch them together.  If too many photos are taken it will take a very long time to do the stitching and modeling.

Matterform 3D Dual Laser Scanner

Trivia: the movie Looker (IMDB, Netflix) has a scene where a women is 3D scanned.


3D Object description File Formats

A common file format for 3D printing is STL(STereo Lithography) (Wiki).
An OBJ(Wiki) file format includes surface color and texture to allow rendering of color 3D animated cartoon figures. (maybe overkill for parts?).
A newer file format is AMF (Wiki) - Additive Manufacturing file format

A common file type to feed a 3D printer is G-Code (Wiki) (List of commands)

Some open source type printers accept this file format, but the proprietary printers have their own file format.
You may or may not be able to make file conversions.  For example I got an automated 2D cutter that can cut very heavy card stock and some harder materials, but it only accepts it own file format so can not be used to do what I want, only what the manufacturer allows (and charges money for).


This is software that allows you to draw a 3D object.
3Ders - List of 3D Software-

Slicing Software

Makes horizontal slices through a 3D mesh file and outputs the layers that are going to be printed.
This is the file that's fed to the 3D printer, typically in G-code.

Slic3r - free - Slic3r reads STL, AMF and OBJ files while it can output G-code and SVG files.
KISSlicer - free & Pro versions
Cura - free from Ultimaker open source 3D printer - mentions setting hot end temperature

File Checking Software

netfabb Basic - free version

Machine Control

A regular computer (Mac or PC) can be used to drive the printer, or dedicated firmware can be used on the printer.

Repetier- Software - Firmware - If you have no board yet, get an Arduino Mega 2560 with RAMPS 1.4 shield.
supports Slic3r & Skeinforge (requires Python language)


There are web pages were you can post your designs (and maybe make some money from them) or download free or for a fee existing designs.

Thingiverse -


Cricut - makes a 2D stylus cutting that can cut not only paper but other materials including thin aluminum sheet (maybe brass?).
The Explorer Air is their newest machine that has the "Print To Cut" feature allowing first printing (black & white or color) then cutting.  This is done by printing alignment marks and then recognizing them on the cutting machine.
8708590 System and method for printing and cutting, Provo Craft And Novelty, Inc., (Jun 2, 2008) Apr 29, 2014, 400/619, 83/72, 83/74, 271/226, 101/485, 400/621

Glow Forge - 2D laser cutter/engraver with height following optics to make precision cuts on uneven surfaces.
Working bed: 12″ x 20″ max focus following movement 0.5"

Othermill - 3D milling machine 1/8" tool shank, Build Volume 5.5 4.5 1.6 in


Make web page - 3D Printing  Manufacturing dreams on a desktop.
Amazon - 3D Printers & Supplies - one of the search locations is "Additive Manufacturing Products".

Back to Brooke's PRC68, Alphanumereic Index of web pages, Products for Sale web pages
This page created 29 May 2013