Structured Light 3D Scanning – Instructables

3D scanning, once a wonder technology of the future, is now on instructables. It talks about a lot of theory, and this would take some real work and thinking to put together, but the technology involved – a camera and a projector (as well as many other suggestions) – are almost universally available. The software is open source, and free to download.

Where, exactly, in Best Buy or Future Shop can you buy a 3D scanner? This speaks volumes about the ability of the open-source community to beat corporations to the punch in terms of revolutionary technologies. 3D scanning means that objects can be scanned. And with the growing availability of open-source DIY CNC mills and whatnot, it’s another important piece in the puzzle of household or community scale manufacturing.

Imagine being able to scan a broken bedpost and send an order off to a friend up the street with a computer-controlled lathe. Imagine being able to take accurate up-to-date scans and convert them into sizing data, and have open-source software literally custom tailor clothes for you, to the point of generating a pattern and being able to have it cut out for you by a laser cutter around the block. Most importantly, imagine being able to put any mechanical part up to such a scanner and have it re-machined on the spot from spare stock. And keep in mind, not only are all the mechanical plans for such devices commonly available online, but also can be built from a variety of omnipresent junk like old printers (stepper motors) or engine blocks (for very heavy machining). And you could do all of this in your garage. In fact, Hamilton’s own Thinkhaus (a collective workspace in North Hamilton) already has a CO2 laser on site and plans to assemble a Reprap in the near future. Toronto Hacklab’s laser is powerful enough to cut designs out of metal.

This kind of technology could go a long way towards turning DIY cultrue from a fashion statement or lifestyle choice into a powerful social and economic force in society. If we no longer need factories or sweatshops to produce our goods, then we’ll no longer need jobs to pay for them. And while it may start today with simple steps, be they learning to sew or programming a computer, the potential is almost unlimited.