Introduction: Spoonhead - 123D Catch to 3D Print

About: I am a masters candidate at School of Visual Arts in New York. I have a Bachelor of Design Innovation in Industrial Design from Victoria University of Wellington in New Zealand. I am based in product design bu…

This is a super quick & dirty tutorial how to use 123D Catch to get a super quick and super easy 3D scan of your head. Once you have the scan or "catch" the tutorial will take you through a technique to clean it up and manipulate it ready for 3D printing.

Please note that the 3D print is not food-safe, the next step would be to use the 3D print to make a casting mold and cast it in a food-safe ceramic. A suitable tutorial for that next step can be found here: Lifecasting - hands

The benefits of the technique used in this tutorial are efficiency & speed as well as the relativity gentle learning curve for those without experience in CAD (computer assisted design).

You will need:

-iPhone or iPad
-123D Catch from the app store (free)
-An assistant
-A Computer
-Meshmixer computer program (download for free here)

Step 1: Preparing for the Catch

For the catch of the your head it is much easier if you have someone assist you.

There are two approaches to the catch, with an iphone/ipad or with a digital camera & computer. In my experience I have found the iphone/ipad method to be the fastest & most reliable so that is the method I will explain  If you would like to know the other method (which is actually very similar) visit:

For the iphone/ipad approach download the (free) 123D Catch app from the app store 123D Catch App. Then create an account & log in.

You (person having their head catched) should be sitting down with enough room around them for the "assistant" (person assisting taking the catch) to walk around them taking photos keeping the catchee's head within the frame.

The environment should be as evenly lit as possible but does not require studio quality backdrops or lights (in fact it works better without them).

The catchee should sit as still as possible and stare directly forwards.

Step 2: Catching

Open 123D Catch and tap "New Capture" at the center bottom of the screen. 

Taking a photo by taping the camera icon the assistant walks around  the catchee taking photos of the catchee from the chest  every  keeping the catchee's head within the frame. The aim would be to get 10-15 photos for every lap around the person and to have 3 laps; one below the catchee's eyeline , one at the eyeline, and one above (as shown in the diagram).

Once the catcher has completed the 3 laps and the image count is between 25-35 tap the "Review" button in the bottom right corner. Then tap Finish Capture button in the top right hand side. 

Makerbot has some good tips on catching here. Tinkernut also has a very nice you tube clip of the whole process Weekend Hacker: Turn Photos Into 3D Models

Step 3: Publishing the Catch

Tap "Tap to Process" & name your capture, choose a category, add tags and a description then tap submit. After the loading bar reaches 100% you can inspect the catch. You are looking for a clean hollow model, that closely represents the catchee. Any discolorations or unnecessary background can be removed in the next step.

Tap the export icon and select "Share to Community".

On your computer open your web browser and navigate to the 123Dapps site & sign in.

Navigate to "My corner tab" and find the model you just shared, click it and on the right hand side you will see a download section. Download the .zip file under "Mesh Package File File".

Step 4: MeshMixer

Download MeshMixer from here

Open MeshMixer and go to File > Import and find where you downloaded the .zip file in the last step. Once located select & open the .obj file.

Follow Makerbots tutorial on cleaning up a model here using the Inspector & Autofix Tools. You can also use the "VolBrush" tools to create a spoon shape by pulling a stem out, expanding it into a bubble then pushing it into a concave form. For a more in-depth explanation of this refer to MeshMixers tutorial page.

Once done select File > Export and chose ASCII.stl format. 

Step 5: 3D Printing

Take this file into ReplicatorG x or simialr 3D print software and print as you would normally. Then use this as a model to cast a food-safe version of your model spoon head.

An easy alternative to 3D printing yourself is to use shapeways, to do this with the ready to print file open in Meshmixer navigate to Actions > "Publish to Shapeways" and have it 3D printed through their system. The benefit of this is that you can have it directly printed in food-safe ceramic.

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