XYZprinting’s handheld 3D scanner uses Intel’s RealSense cameras

XYZprinting is well known for its 3D printers, in particular its low-cost da Vinci Junior, but it’s now introducing its cost-conscious customers to the 3D-scanning game as well, with its Handheld 3D Scanner.

XYZprinting’s handheld 3D scanner uses Intel’s RealSense cameras

Launched at the IFA 2015 technology show in Berlin, this U-shaped device, which looks a bit like a high-tech umbrella handle, and weighs a mere 198g, employs Intel’s RealSense camera technology to capture and process 3D images, and produce models for use in 3D printers.

The scanner captures both depth and colour image data at a resolution of 640 x 480 and a frame-rate of 30fps, has an operating range of between 10 and 50cm, and connects to your laptop or desktop PC via USB 3.0.

The idea is to make it easier for newcomers to 3D design and printing to get started with creating their own models. I’m not so sure it will be of use at home, but it could certainly play a role in schools, allowing children to create complicated models without having to spend a huge amount of time learning how to use 3D modelling software.

A-head of the game?

I went along to the XYZprinting booth to try it out and had my head scanned (and why not?) with the device. The scanning took little more than a minute – and involved someone slowly waving the lightweight device in close proximity to my face and head – and processing the captured data took less than a minute more.

Once the entire process was complete, the captured 3D image appeared onscreen in the accompanying Windows software where I was able to zoom in and out, spin it around and save it as an .STL, .OBJ or .PLY file for sharing or printing on a compatible 3D printer. The application also features basic editing tools, but I wasn’t shown those during the demo.

XYZprinting Handheld 3D scanner: Scanning my head

As for the quality of the results? Well I won’t know fully until I get the chance to print out the model, but it looked pretty good when it came up onscreen. My face was a little blurry, as you can see from the above photograph, but for the purposes of reproducing basic shapes for use in 3D models and prints, it looked perfectly good, reproducing the shape of my head, neck and shoulders with what seemed to be a reasonable degree of accuracy.

Availability and prices

You might expect such a high-tech gadget to make a hefty dent in your bank balance, but the price isn’t high at all. The 3D scanner will cost €299 (around £220) and should be available to buy in November.

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