Wednesday, May 15, 2019

3D Printing - Scanning an Object with Qlone

Two of the hands - the left is an incomplete print
Challenge: For a ten year old to scan an object and convert it into a 3D Print (using Qlone).
Background: This started as an art project and genuine question from one of the students - how could they scan their hands for a print idea that they had for a Mothers Day Art Project.   This involved the student concerned conducting research into an app that could be used (in conjunction with an iPad) that was inexpensive (see below) to scan an object and then convert this to a .stl file and then print the result.   There was an assumption before this process was begun that there would be multiple apps for an iPad that might fit this bill, but upon using search engines and investigation there aren't too many.   The student read a review for an App called qlone which is featured on this website.   When used in conjunction with an iPad there is an interface that allows repeated scanning of an object to produce a 3D Copy of the model.   This was produced by ten year old student taking multiple pictures of the object (this is explained in a video that will show the entire process, it was involving taking several shots to complete the scan of thier hand (close to fifty would be a basic estimate).    The student then went to convert the 3D image to an .stl file for the purpose of ensuring a 3D Print could be completed.  This is when the pay scale for the app revealed itself.   The purpose of this post is not to criticise a product but the license to convert to an .stl is based around a sliding scale that bottoms out at $50.00 for unlimited conversions.   As a school we decided to proceed with this purchased on a single device so that the scanning could be completed.    This allowed the student to produce a series of scans of the hands of herself and two of her sisters.
Level of Difficutly: Medium the scanning itself is straight forward and was able to produce a pleasing replica of the students hands.    The conversion from here to a 3D Print was very straightforward however the time taken to take the photographs for the scan was time consuming.
Timeframe: The hands that made up the series of prints went for six hours or so each.   Given that they were intended to be part of a gift and to scale there was little ability to reduce the print time, with the standard thickness settings and a 8mm nozzle meaning this would be the minimum required.
Size: Its the hand of a four year old student featured in the black PLA her sister is four years old in the example shown in white as a size comparison.   It was all relative to the object that was scanned as the student did not want to reduce the size.
What we would do differently: We are interested in hearing if there are other apps and opportunities to easily scan objects for 3D Printing that would be available to our students.   There are a number of objects that we are intending to replicate over the next few weeks to test the reliability and accuracy of the scanning using the app so we can assess the results.  We also want to balance the app with having to purchase additional hardware.

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