In this instructable, I'll be showing you (in some detail) how to a make a 3D printed copy of a real object, starting with capturing it with 123D Catch, refining it using Meshmixer, and then printing using a Makerbot (or any other 3D printer).
- A camera (even a smartphone will work, though a DSLR might yield better results)
- A rig to let you move the camera around the object, like this http://www.instructables.com/id/Camera-rig-for-123D-Catch/ (optional, though it does help in getting good results)
- 123D Catch software, free from http://www.123dapp.com/catch
- Meshmixer software, free from http://www.meshmixer.com/
- ReplicatorG software, free from http://replicat.org/
- A 3D printer
Step 1: Prepare for capture
Here are some important tips:
- Photographs should capture all sides of the target object, both all the way around, and top and bottom. A good approch is to take 20 objects all the way around, and then move up (pointing the camera down at the object) and take another 20
- Choosing a smaller platform for the object helps capture more details from below. Notice how the bear is sitting on tiny circular stage.
- The object should not be moved at all during capture, and lighting should remain consistent. In effect, once the object is in place, you should move around it
- The target object should take up most of the frame: either get close to the object or zoom in
- While it is not absolutely necessary to maintain the same distance from the object all the way around, it does help the algorithm if distances are consistent
- Consistent diffuse lighting all around the object works best.
- Accurate focus is important - you will want to remove any out of focus shots
So go ahead, take your pictures. If you're using the camera rig I referenced earlier, adjust the horizontal distance on the rig, and the camera zoom, so that the object fills the frame. Since the distance to the object will be consistent, you might want to focus manually.
When you're done taking pictures, save them all to a folder with a descriptive name.