Buying a Makerbot Replicator 2X sounds like fun. Until you actually try creating original designs and realize working with 3D modeling programs are way harder than editing your Facebook pics on Photoshop. The MakerBot Digitizer seeks to bridge the skill gap, allowing you to scan real-world objects into 3D models that you can use as starting points for your own designs.
To use, simply hook the machine up to a computer, put any object you want to "copy" onto the platform, press the corresponding buttons, and let it scan the item. When done, it will give you an exact replica stored as a 3D digital file, which you can then import into your favorite 3D design software or send to a 3D printer for replicating.
Billed as "a fast and easy way to create 3D models," the MakerBot Digitizer can scan and convert any item into a 3D model in around 12 minutes, allowing you to create a digital library of every tool, toy, jewelry, figurine and whatever other small items you have around the house in just a few sessions. It can scan any items measuring 8 inches tall and 8 inches in diameter, with a weight of 6.6 pounds or less. Scanning is performed using a pair of eye-safe Class 1 lasers and a 1.3 megapixel CMOS sensor, with the output immediately stored on your computer. The company claims the scans are very accurate, requiring no repairs, stitches or patches, simplifying the whole 3D modeling process for users.
The MakerBot Digitizer meaures 18.7 x 8 x 16.2 inches, so you should be able to find a space for it on a desk right next to your 3D printer. The accompanying software can run on Windows, Mac OSX and Ubuntu Linux. It's now available for pre-order, with a mid-October ship date, priced at $1,400.