October 3, 2011 AT 9:32 am

Printing your Kinect scans on a MakerBot

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So cool! Printing your Kinect scans on a MakerBot… Brian writes –

I got my hands on a Kinect* recently, and I’ve been itching to scan something and print it on my MakerBot Thing-O-Matic. I got as far as scanning things with Kyle McDonald’s KinectToStl, but as I have no skills with 3d modeling software, I had no clue how to turn it into something printable. I tried printing some of the STL files I got out of that tool, but they were way too complex, and it took over an hour just to generate the G-Code for the model.

So I asked around among my friends who were most likely able to help me figure out what to use, and the consensus I got was MeshLab for simplifying the model, and Blender for cleaning it up and trimming it. The biggest breakthrough for me was when I learned about MeshLab’s awesomely-named Quadric Edge Collapse Detection (Shapeways has a nice introduction to it), which let me simplify the model. This was a big help, because it retained most of the original’s polygons, but it also made it easier to work with in Blender (my main reason for taking the model into Blender is to trim away excess bits I don’t want to print).

So, in order to make sure I don’t forget how to do this–and to share this with the rest of you, I’ve posted a guide over at Make: Projects that explains how to do this. I am a total novice when it comes to programs like MeshLab and Blender, and would appreciate any comments or criticism from any of you with more experience!

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