Well, that was quick. Bre Pettis just started delivering South By Southwest's opening remarks and may well have taken the wraps off the biggest news of the show. Of course, we'll still have to hang out in Austin for a few more days just to, you know, totally make sure, but this really does feel like a doozy. As the MakerBot CEO puts it, "It's a natural progression for us to create a product that makes 3D printing even easier" -- but, let's be honest, few of those who don't have a vested interesting in moving some 3D printers are running around calling the whole process particularly "easy." And while consumer-facing devices like the Replicator, CubeX, Solidoodle, et al. have gone a ways toward making the technology more accessible for laypeople, there's still a fundamental breakdown: the creation of models to be printed.
The maker community has helped on that front, as well, with MakerBot's Thingiverse serving as an unparalleled resource for 3D images, meaning that, once your printer's all set up and calibrated, you can download and print to your hearts delight -- but what if, say, you want to print up something that some kindly soul hasn't designed for you? You could learn a CAD program -- or you could invest in an industrial 3D scanner. The latter option has lead to something of a land rush of companies and individuals looking to break things wide open with an affordable, consumer-facing offering. And while MakerBot still seems a ways away from the final product, the company used SXSW as a platform to unveil a prototype of its MakerBot Digitizer Desktop 3D Scanner.
Gallery: MakerBot Digitizer
Filed under: Peripherals