Week 10: 3D Scanning and Prototyping

This was an awesome week in the Makerlab, as we had the privilege of getting a tutorial in 3D scanning by a former student of this class, Arielle Rausin. We had Arielle come and talk to us earlier in the year, so it was awesome to see her again and listen to what she had to say. For those of you who aren’t familiar with 3D scanning, it is essentially technology that takes a picture of an object, and then scans it with lasers. It then records how the laser reflects off the object, and uses that data to create a file that could be used by a 3D printer to create that object. One type of software used by 3D scanners is called Meshmixer, and is created by Autodesk. This is the kind of software used by Arielle, and we got to see some pretty cool demonstrations during class.

This picture, found on Chase’s blog, shows Arielle going over 3D scanning using an example file of her wheelchair racing gloves. After taking this class, she used her knowledge of 3D printing and scanning to start her very own business! The link to her shop is here if you want to check out her product.

The best part of the lesson came when we had the chance to 3D print ourselves. While Arielle made things look easy, it was much harder for us beginners to get a good scan. There were many obstacles that we did not see coming that prevented us from getting good scans at first. For example, two guys in our group had very dark hair, so we had to hold up a phone flashlight by their heads in order to get good results from the scanner. This is just one example of how this class has taught us how to think outside the box and fix problems in sometimes unorthodox ways.


Here is our teacher, Vishal Sachdev, scanning Arielle with the 3D scanner. You could tell he had been doing this for a couple years, he was a natural!


Brian Kobiernicki ended up printing out his scan, and it turned out really well! This is definitely a cool souvenir to remember the class by.

Once everyone who wanted to scan themselves did so, we were able to break off into groups and continue working on our semester projects. It was really cool to see how much progress all the teams have made over the past couple weeks, and there have been some awesome ideas for projects so far. I’ve put a couple examples down below so you can see what people have been working on.


Taofik’s team got their camera up and running and even got it connected to the computer so they could see the images on the monitor.


This is the prototype for the top of our aquaponics system. There will be plants growing inside of these containers that receive water from the fish tank below. The plants will receive nutrients from the fish waste and in turn will filter the water and keep the aquarium clean, its a really cool self-sustaining system! Anyone that wants to know more about aquaponics can go ahead and follow this link here. You could also learn more about what my team did by visiting my blog post.


Charlene, Carter, and Brian’s group made a security monitor that can send text messages to your phone.  I thought this was really cool and could be something that almost everyone needs in their life. You can see more about their project at Brian’s Blog Post.

Overall, the class today learned about not only how to use 3D scanners, but also various reasons why 3D scanners come in handy. On top of that, we learned how to solve problems on the fly. For instance, thinking of a way to fix the fact that the scanner wasn’t picking up black hair showed how this class has influenced us to solve problems creatively. Also, all of the groups gained much needed prototyping experience that will hopefully help us for years to come. After all, no matter what field you go into problem solving is a huge asset and an effective method to solving problems is starting with a basic solution and then improving on it until you come up with something that works perfectly. This is the idea behind prototyping and I know the skills I have learned in this class will help all of us, no matter what we do in life after college.


One thought on “Week 10: 3D Scanning and Prototyping

  1. Hey John,

    That’s awesome to see all the cool things the other teams are doing. Especially the working camera. It seems that everyone’s project that is incorporating electronics and software is turning out quite well! Good to see other teams doing more than just an analog solution to the problem they’ve chosen to tackle.

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