When I've first heard about 3D printing, the first idea that came to my mind was to make figurines of real people. Frankly speaking, who would not like to have a statue, even a small one?
After another couple of months my 3D printing fleet was accounting for three printers, collectively called The Huxies. Obviously Huxy 1 helped replicating herself into Huxy 2 and Huxy 3. So production was more or less assured. We had a lot of fun together, even learned dancing.
However a question was still unanswered: how to create the models? I tried a "design from scratch" approach. I'm an engineer, and I have to admit that my artistic skills are very limited (at least this is what I thought at that time). Since my son promised to help me with some 3D sculpting, I thought I can help him and developed a parametric head generator. It appeared to be an interesting idea, and I have to admit there was some fun coding the scripts for OpenSCAD. Obviously, the output was not a very nice look of a human face, but was far better to start with such a primitive model instead of the default sphere in Sculptris.
After successfully grabbing the entire family's interest, so that the team was enlarged a bit, we launched "Figure The Moments", an Indiegogo campaign, aiming to get some funding to support the 3Dmaker4U initiative that I developed meanwhile in my mind. Well, it was unfortunately not a successful campaign at all and my enthusiasm failed down below ground for a while.
I was evaluating the idea of using 3D scanning, but it appeared pretty expensive and with not so much performance at the time. Suddenly, while I was grieving and think about the way ahead, some articles and news draw my attention. There were about people trying to build full-body 3D scanners based on a Kinect sensor and the release of the new version of a 3D scanning application.
That was what I needed and so I launched the Scanoman project.
Unpacked using js-openctm - Rendered using WebGL
The main objective was to design and manufacture a full-body 3D scanner that would actually complement the workflow from the real person to the figurine.
Obviously, the idea was not new, but given the lack of detailed information available, it was a real challenge. Therefore, I decided that after I'll finalize the prototype, this will be open source and, if my plans would go well, it might be that I can also produce some more pieces in a way or another and further improve the model.
And it's more or less obvious that Scanoman will... scan a man. Well, a woman or a child, as well.
With these shorter and longer objectives in mind I just kicked it off.
The design objectives were simple:
It was also a condition that all the materials should be available from the regular hardware stores, except maybe from some electrical components (e.g. motors, controller) that would have to be sourced from specialized stores (yet known in the DIY world).
Needless to say, as many parts as possible should be 3D printed.
As being envisioned, after a thorough documentation, the information will be published online for those interested in replicating Scanoman, or searching a source of inspiration for their own projects.
Meanwhile, just to complement the information provided in the videos, here is a brief description.
Also, here are some of the challenges I faced and thoughts of improvement.
And here we come to the core application that actually allows Scanoman to do its job.
This was by far the most adequate application for my purpose:
Well, of course, there are things that could make the life (of people like me) even easier:
You may wonder, after so many words, what is actually the result of putting Scanoman at work. Here are a few figurine samples.
We are now in final stage of preparing to launch a beta-test of the initial idea, and see if it can make sense from a business perspective as well.
This project is part of a larger initiative we called 3Dmaker4U. You may find out more from our website.
Please note that the website is Romanian language only, so you may want to use a translation service available for your browser.
We've also created many channels were we can promote our ideas and interact with other people that are interested in 3D technologies. You may want to use one of these channels to contact us and find more information or discuss various topics.
3Dmaker4U is a registered mark of Daniel Constantin.