3D scanning an astronaut monkey and myself, an astronaut monkey. 3D printing a lunar roving vehicle.

3D Scanning


Sense is a portable 3D scanner that outputs what is being scanned in real-time. A huge benefit of this over other 3D scanner discussed is that you can "paint" the areas you have missed before constructing the 3D object in software. It is very easy to use. Just plug it into your laptop via USB, and begin scanning. Using the Sense portable scanner, I was able to scan myself while sitting in a rolling chair. I kept my hands up to see how much detail of my wrinkled shirt was captured.

The amount of detail captured was impressive. However, I must admit that this detailed came on the fourth attempt, so there is definitely a learning curve with Sense. The chair was also captures in the scan, which means I should have isolated my body more. At parts, my hair blended in with my ears.

123D App

For a second 3D scanner, I used the Autodesk 123D Catch Mobile app. That's right, a Mobile app! I know! Crazy right?! Wow, what a world. The 3D app works by stitching together various pictures taken all around the object you want to scan. The app guides you in where to take the pictures form and what angles are missing by providing an indicator on the bottom left of where you have (and have not) taken a picture from. The more pictures you take, the better the scan (generally).

Although great considering it was a mobile app, 123D Catch was more susceptible to background objects. Although the astronaut monkey was placed on a flat, clean surface, the angles where the pictures were taken included background images that were then processed. In the image above, my back pack, flowers, and kitchenette where captures and processed.

3D Printing

For 3D printing, I wanted to use the ZCorp powder printed because of my limited exposure to it. To test it (or to test myself), I created a model in SolidWorks that had lots of details, varying thickness and geometries, and also had a lot of over hang. I ended up with a lunar rover model with an emergency inflatable, a concept I had come up with last semester. I took a section off of the inflatable to show the astronaut inside and to create an overhang to see if the ZCorp printer could handle it.

To 3D print a lunar rover, I used a ZCorp powder printer.