May 1, 2019
I’ve used the Sense before in a previous article, and today I have their newest scanner--an update which has 10x the accuracy as the previous one. When I used the last version, the focus was on how to utilize the Sense for costume making and ensuring that printed parts would be the right size, or using it to scan me and my coworkers and turn them into something fun - like busts! Just like 3D printing, there’s so many different ways you can use 3D scanning to create something to aid the rapid prototyping process but I’ve actually continued to find ways to utilize the Sense to create reference models for projects.
Whenever you’re modeling an object that needs to fit on something else, like mods for a 3D printer or parts of a car, there’s some level of it already existing in a digital space, or you are able to very easily get the measurements you need using a set of calipers and some know-how. If you are designing something that is going to fit on a person, it would be really helpful to have a digital mannequin to test out the size of your part. While you could find a 3D model of a generic person, you have to trust that your scaling is correct and that the proportions of the model are realistic.
I had some help getting scans of myself and then brought in a couple coworkers to have a better sample size. With these scans, I made sure to get a good scan of their face and neck and then a second scan of their wrist. I did have to do some minor cleanup work within the Sense software to close up the holes and artifacts from the 3D scan, but the tools there made it pretty easy. If I were to print these models, I would definitely want to bring them in to Meshmixer and smooth out some other artifacts that are outside of the Sense software’s scope of ability.
With the first scan, I can test out how various accessories fit across different people; is the standard size the right size to fit most people? Or does the design need more tuning? I’m not a designer by trade, but there are plenty of designers on Thingiverse that have already 3D modeled and published accessories ready for printing. Gumo Design published a really cool set of entirely 3D printed headphones (minus the drivers), but before I go through the process of printing everything, finding that the standard scale isn’t right for my head, and reprinting until it’s all right, I can throw these onto my head and see how it fits. If I were designing these headphones, I could go back and forth tweaking the design, knowing exactly how much I need to adjust the ear cups or the headband without having to actually print the part to see it won’t work.
I can also use the head scan to very simply look at how necklaces would fit on a person. Sure, you could design it and hold a ruler up to your neck and check how well it would fit, but seeing it on a person will put it in perspective on how large or small the model may actually be. I can very quickly drag and drop in a necklace, like this Moana necklace designed by Caitlin_Le on Thingiverse, and see if it needs any adjustments.
The wrist scan is really helpful for any wristwatches or bracelets I may want to print. There are hundreds of watches on Thingiverse of many different styles and this scan will make it easy to see if the size of the watch face is what I’m looking for, or is it too big for my taste. The band isn’t the important part, since you can get leather bands in a variety of lengths, or it you use links, you can just print more or less as necessary.
I’ve had a scan of myself for a long time now and it’s been immeasurably helpful with props and costumes. If I’m 3D printing a new helmet, a set of armor, a small accessory, or some space blaster, I can modify the scale of the different parts I’m incorporating from a variety of different designers and make sure that they all form a cohesive look. Before the scan, I had to do a lot of guess work and loose measurements to get things to fit and hope that I don’t have ridiculous football shoulder pads, a bobblehead helmet, or a have a blaster the size of a cannon, but inevitably there would be some part that was off just enough to need to be entirely redone.
Just like before I can use these scans over an over for a variety of things, like scaling 3D models before I start printing or even utilizing them as the finished product, like taking one of their heads and making a mug out of it (how horrifying). The technology behind the Sense 3D scanner is impressive, and being able to use it to simplify my printer process is why I keep a Sense at my desk for projects like these. Do you have a Sense 3D scanner or similar 3D scanner? I'd love to hear how you use it, whether it's for part checking or as a basis for 3D modeling.