3D printing is really cool technology, but learning and understanding how it all began is another thing. The Atlas 3D is a Raspberry Pi-powered 3D laser scanner kit that you assemble yourself using parts 3D printed by your own desktop 3D printer.
3D printing has promised us the ability to create anything we want, provided we have a 3D model for it and often it often uses complex CAD software. The biggest drawback to 3D printing is it’s price, 3D scanners can be pretty expensive. The creator of the Atlas 3D and founder of Murobo LLC, Uriah Liggett wanted to explore creating his own 3D printable objects using a scanner. All the options he explored were either too expensive, unreliable or just incapable of producing quality scans.
“At this point, I decided to create my own. I decided to make it a turntable-based scanner, since a full 360 degree scan can be performed with minimal fuss. I also chose to use lasers instead of photogrammetry in order to generate high resolution models in a relatively small amount of time. When these requirements were established, the Raspberry Pi was an easy choice since it has an excellent 5 megapixel camera add-on, is able to drive lasers and motors, and has enough memory and CPU power to perform a 3D scan,” explains Ligget.
Basically, the Atlas 3D printer works by illuminating objects with laser light, it then generates a 3D triangulation mesh with data collected from each point of the model the laser light hits. Since the Raspberry Pi has onboard software, there isn’t any need to install any drivers or software packages. All the components simply screw together, so there is no soldering or electrical knowledge required to build the Atlas 3D kits.
The Atlas 3D is the first high quality and low-cost 3D scanner on the market, and it gets there by being a kit you build yourself, rather than a finished product. The is available two ways, as a BYOP (Bring Your Own Pi) kit which includes all of the components, minus the Raspberry Pi parts, or the Full Kit that includes all of the electronics. The BYOP kit costs $149 and the Full Kit only $209. So if you’re in the market for a 3D scanner, but are on a budget, then this could really be a great alternative.