Is there a 3D scanning service?
August 17, 2006 10:50 AM   Subscribe

Is there a 3D scanning service?

I have a physical object (a small, 2" figure) that I'd like to have a 3D model of. 3D scanners are very expensive - is there a service to which I could send my object and get back a 3D model? I've looked and looked on Google, but I'm not finding such a thing!
posted by symbebekos to Technology (7 answers total)
What is the object? How detailed is it? What would you like the model made of? How detailed would your reproduction be? Would it be finished (painted) or just the raw material?

There are rapid prototyping services that can make duplicates of almost anything once you've got a good set of 3-D data. These services might have 3-D scanners or be able to shop it out for you. It will be very expensive, though.

A good sculptor or model-maker should be able to make a copy by hand, no scanning needed. I'd think this is your best bet, depending on what your original is, though.

There is a machine that's basically a pointer linked to a mill. As you move the pointer across the surface of your original, the milling bit carves out a duplicate. Detail is limited by the size of the bit, and you can't duplicate anything with undercuts. I have a friend who makes paleontological models, and they have one in his shop (which doesn't take commercial orders like yours, sorry.) I can't remember what it's called, but maybe some other mefite can, or I can email my friend tonight.
posted by hydrophonic at 11:14 AM on August 17, 2006

To clarify your question (based on reading hydrophonic's response), you want a digital 3D model as the end-result, yes?
posted by misterbrandt at 11:16 AM on August 17, 2006

Or, depending on the object, you can DIY. Any art supply store will have the supplies for basic resin casting. You need an original that has no undercuts, is pretty sturdy and can survive being coated in a mold release (Vaseline, dishsoap, etc.)
posted by hydrophonic at 11:17 AM on August 17, 2006

Response by poster: Hydrophonic: The object is a 2" figure with a medium amount of detail. Given the level of detail in the object, I doubt that a model-maker would be less expensive than a 3D scan of the object, unless I'm misunderstanding how much technical ability 3D scanner operation requires?

Misterbrant: Yes, I want to get a *digital* model back from my *physical* object - rereading my question, I may have been unclear about that!
posted by symbebekos at 11:21 AM on August 17, 2006

Oh, digital 3D model. I should have payed better attention to the question.
Here's some 3-D scanning services.
posted by hydrophonic at 11:22 AM on August 17, 2006

Try a university, maybe one with a good engineering department. University of Michigan has one. Maybe you could mail them the object for scanning.
posted by Eringatang at 11:30 AM on August 17, 2006

if you want to roll your own might be worth a look.

also microsoft are working on this maybe there is a similiar product out there that can already do this.

these two suggestions are a bit out there in reply to your question though but i thought may be of interest.
posted by moochoo at 1:28 PM on August 17, 2006

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