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Digital Design Station Ideas

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  • Digital Design Station Ideas

    In a previous conversation I mentioned to Vaughn that I feel like a digital design station, and possibly VR/3d sculpting equipment would be a great addition to the capacity at the space.

    This would be a longer term item to develop for the Makerspace.

    There are a lot of different ways this space could be utilized, so lets start a conversation on what this could be.

    Any comments/questions/alternative proposals are welcome!
    Last edited by Garret H; 11-10-2018, 12:00 PM. Reason: Thread forked to expand the conversation.

  • #2
    I'll comment on the digital design station:
    This would complement existing tools at the space quite well. Many things that you can draw up in 3D you can then use a machine to build such as:
    • 3D printing
    • Laser cutting
    • CNC routers
    • CNC milling machines
    A few of these tools are pretty limited without 3D design, and some solutions offer pretty seamless interfaces to do so (I've been championing Fusion 360 for this reason).
    3D scanners can add a lot to this capacity, say you want to add something new on to something existing. Be it a bracket that fixes an appliance or a hat for a cosplay costume custom fit to your head. Scan it, design the new item, then use combinations of the above machines to build it. The tools to do so are getting better everyday, and really presenting new opportunities in manufacturing that haven't existed at such an accessible level in the past.
    There's value here both in engineering/manufacturing and arts.

    I don't know of anyone offering this service, and I think it is an area that the community would benefit from by developing the skill set.


    • #3
      ColeVD can you comment about VR/3d sculpting gear?

      blake_w do you have the specs for the 3d design station you built with your school club?
      Last edited by Garret H; 11-10-2018, 12:00 PM.


      • #4
        Here is an example of a powerful design computer from Vaughn

        For 3D scanners there is this handy list that covers a wide range of capabilities and costs:

        This one in particular grabbed my attention:
        The Matter and Form 3D Scanner is a desktop laser 3D scanner. It is capable of producing high-resolution, full-color 3D scans. This is made possible thanks to 2 lasers and an HD-CMOS sensor. Altogether, a scan accuracy of up to roughly 0.25mm and details as small as 0.43mm can be achieved.

        The accompanying (free) software is designed to create watertight STL files that are immediately ready for animation or 3D printing. If you use a USB cable, you can connect the device directly to your computer. And best of all, it folds up for easy portability.

        Of course there's a lot of other options and points to discuss.

        As an example of some abilities that a tool like this would provide, here is some pictures of a project I did earlier this year. I needed to build a custom mount for some electronics, which I painstakingly measured up, drew out, and could then begin my design that eventually became a 3D printed part.

        A 3D scanner would have eliminated hours of work.
        Some other workflows can be enabled with tools beyond the 3D printer, including the CNC router and CNC mill where existing objects can be modified after scanning.


        • #5
          For larger scale and less precise 3D scanning as well as VR headset for VR based sculpting ColeVD has recommended:
          3D Scanning: Microsoft Kinect
          VR Headset: Oculus Rift (for VR ~$500) => Oculus Medium for 3D sculpting

          The 3D sculpting could be used as another way for members to create objects that can then be created in physical form using the Makerspace's tools.

          Here is a view of Cole's green room for scanning. The classroom upstairs would probably be best for this aspect.


          • #6
            This inspires me. For a few years I have been wanting to create a workstation for 3d scanning. To use a 3d scanning turn table, and to 3d scan the human body and maybe scan a room or the whole makerspace!. Some one like Naomi wu can go into a VR Cafe and get her body scanned. Either to use that 3d model in VR right there or to be able to take here 3d model home and 3d print it.
            May be you need to 3d scan a tool, a part, or even a project.

            For me I might do something interesting and try 3d scanning with my holoscreen, or playing with 3d models on my holoscreen.
            Are we going to be able to use this workstation for VR? I think VR art would be interesting.


            • #7
              Moderators note: I moved this thread around into a new forum channel so everyone can bring their different ideas in to what a digital design station could be.

              That sounds really cool ron_ron and yes a workstation to do VR is something that we're interested. I'd love to learn more on if VR sculpting/art can lend itself well to creating object files that can be 3D printed and the like.

              This station would want to be a fairly powerful computer, but that really depends on what kind of software people want to run.

              I use Fusion 360 for all my CAD/CAM work, but it isn't crazy demanding.

              Hunter has been using Blender for some modelling & CAM (Computer Aided Manufacturing, generating G-code for the Froggy Mill CNC)

              Vaughn has mentioned using CorelDraw at this station.
              Last edited by Garret H; 11-10-2018, 12:26 PM.


              • #8
                I guess it all comes down to requirements! The requirements for VR and the requirements for software. Also requirements for members.


                • #9
                  That matter form deal might be a case where DIY could pay off quite well. It looks like you could build one with a kinect, a stepper motor, a worm gear and a turntable. I know there is decent open source software to use the Kinect, not sure how easy it would be to make it work with the mechanical parts, but for the price I'm really curious


                  • #10
                    I'd be concerned about the accuracy of a Kinect/DIY setup. I skimmed this paper very briefly, but it doesn't look great to me:
                    That's just a quick look though, others may have gotten much better results. I'm sure there are examples countless projects online if one wants to dig into it.

                    If going DIY you may as well build something much larger than the MatterForm.

                    I'd think a 2 scanner solution would be ideal. 1 that's small, accurate and off the shelf, a 2nd that's DIY, large and accuracy isn't as critical. The value vs cost savings of a large scale DIY project would be much better I suspect.


                    • #11
                      Oh, for sure there will be more cost savings to be had on a big scanner, but also more time investment. Building a smaller one would be much quicker than building a larger one. Less parts to integrate make it a bit simpler, and it seems to me it would be a logical project to build up to a large scale scanner and figure out the software implementation with less components to integrate.

                      Just playing devil's advocate, I haven't really done enough research into the software. ColeVD , ron_ron , any comments or interest on trying to hack together a DIY version of the matterform? I have a kinect that I could part with...


                      • #12
                        Why would there be less parts? A turn table and single axis scan head can be the same number of parts regardless of size - this style of scanner scales with minimum effort. Compare this project to a CNC router as an example of part count vs size.

                        What about precision? Whatever is done should have reasonable levels of accuracy relative to the scale of the object. From what I've found on Kinect the minimum sensing range is 0.5 meters, and resolution at that point is almost 2mm (see the link I posted earlier). A "time of flight" based sensor doesn't excel at precision. The matter form uses laser triangulation, scan accuracy is 0.25mm and can detect 0.43mm objects. (Link, again: )

                        If advocating DIY there should be a clear reason why that is the chosen solution and its strengths over a commercial solution. In this case it looks like you'd end up with an inferior quality product with all the weaknesses of the one you are emulating - namely the limited scanning envelope.


                        • #13
                          The larger scanning configs I have seen use more than one camera. Integrating multiple video channels from different cameras is the multiple parts I was referring to.

                          The clear reason is that this thing isn't cheap, and I'm not advocating anything besides having a discussion before spending the money.

                          I can probably get a camera/scanner donated that is a bunch better than a kinect. I'll try to get specs on it


                          • #14
                            I think that for the MatterForm $512 is pretty reasonable for out of the box functionality.

                            A DYI solution would be cheaper, but is likely to be quite time intensive.

                            Personally I feel that time expenditure would serve the larger community much better if it were invested in classes and workshops that teach skills to new and existing members. If more workshops can bring in even a handful of new members, that initial investment can be paid off completely.
                            Last edited by Garret H; 11-13-2018, 01:19 PM.


                            • #15
                              Formlabs (a 3D printing company) has prepared a white paper on 3D scanning that you can sign up to have mailed to you.

                              I've only had a chance to glance through this paper so far, but it looks like it covers the subject quite well, and should be essential reading to anyone considering a scanning system.

                              PS Jean check it out, they have scans of teeth in this paper!
                              Attached Files