Second day of 3D scanning and printing experiments with 123D Catch

Added on February 13, 2013

Continuing my experiments in 3D scanning and printing in preparation for teaching students about 3D scanning and printing, I captured a few more objects using 123D Catch and printed them out on our Makerbot Replicator.

I’m generally really happy with the results I’ve been getting using 123D Catch and will most definitely be using it more in the future, but it does lack a certain amount of fine detail that may be not be suitable for my projects with students. But that’s a problem for another post, for now I’ve been having a great time scanning and printing real objects, so here’s the latest batch:

Glass “brain coral (1)” piece

All of the pieces I scanned for this post were more glass pieces created by glassblowing student Kenny Galusha. While experimenting with sea life and dynamic lighting, he came up with these really cool “brain coral” pieces. The pieces are neat enough to see in person, but I really love how these forms look in wireframe mode. To think about trying to create a 3D model with such realism and organic features from scratch in a program like Blender or Cinema4D is mindblowing, but the idea of using a real media to execute the complex form, then scanning into the virtual world is incredibly fun and interesting.

You can download and print your own copy of this object at

[flickr-gallery mode=”photoset” photoset=”72157632668610430″]

Glass “brain coral (2)” piece

Next I scanned another “brain coral” glass piece, this time with more pronounced folds and features. I set it on top of a paper cup so I could take photos at a different angle below the piece to capture more of the underside. This model came out great and got me excited when I started thinking about printing it. I wanted to see this particular piece a bit larger than the others, for whatever reason, so after a little bit of calibration on the bot, I gave it a go.

There was a small amount of curling of the raft due to support material on the left side of the print, but the actual model came out flawlessly.

You can download and print your own copy of this object at

[flickr-gallery mode=”photoset” photoset=”72157632668610424″]

Glass “tentacles (1)” piece

Finally, I scanned in a more challenging object just to see if 123D Catch could handle it. Not only did it handle it, it really surprised me with how much detail it captured. I was not expecting the little flowery bits on the tips of the tentacles to have much definition at all, but instead they ended up being the most finely detailed parts of the whole model!

I knew this would require a lot of support material, but after showing some of the other objects to some artists in the studios around campus, I started to see why it might be kind of cool to print an object just to see the supports that happen. Sure enough, this object looks amazing with all of its support structure attached! I only removed it because I was dying to see what the inner form looked like, but I may print another just to keep all the supports on!

You can download and print your own copy of this object at

[flickr-gallery mode=”photoset” photoset=”72157632668610414″]