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3D Scanning Made Economical

Although this may appear to be a piece of high-end audio equipment, this is actually a system deploying multi-laser array technology and advanced algorithms that makes it possible to create detailed 3D, full-color digital models.

Although this may appear to be a piece of high-end audio equipment, this is actually a system deploying multi-laser array technology and advanced algorithms that makes it possible to create detailed 3D, full-color digital models. And yes, it is of a size to sit on a desktop in a studio. The $2,495 system from NextEngine (www.nextengine.com; Santa Monica, CA)—a price point that the company says is 1/10th that of competing systems—permits scanning of essentially any size object. That is, the wide field scanned is 13.5 x 10.1 in. and the macro field is 5.1 x 3.8 in. Separate facets of the image can be combined to create large images. The system then exports files to OBJ, STL, VRML, U3D, PLY, and other 3D formats. The scanner also plugs into SolidWorks 2007 Office Premium, which means inputs can go directly to the SolidWorks desktop. It also works with applications including those from Rhino, 3ds Max, rapidForm, and Geomagic. Just think: from a undefined sculptural model to a 3D capture in just minutes (a captured view requires about two minutes, and a typical object requires 12 views, so. . .).—GSV