Hands On With The Brooklyn-Made Makerbot Digitizer

The Makerbot Digitizer looked too good to be true. It was a solid, compact 3D scanner that could replicate a solid object without much fuss and had a level of detail unparalleled in the home scanning market. Now it’s clear that this is much more than a compelling idea.

I saw the Makerbot in action yesterday and spoke with Makerbot CEO Bre Pettis about his experience building the entire system – from PCBs to case – in America and how it felt to be a manufacturer in the heart of Brooklyn. “It feels great,” he said.

The whole system is surprisingly light and uses Class 1 lasers and a special camera to gather a point cloud based on the object you’re scanning. You tell the system how light or dark the object is and then click a button. A few minutes later you have a complete object that you can modify, edit, or augment digitally and then print using almost any printer. It also exports files into Makerbot compatible .thing files.

A turntable rotates the object slowly so every surface is scanned.

The Digitizer will ship in October and sell for $1,400. Pettis promised that they would have enough on hand to meet demand and that his factory was working overtime to get the devices ready.