One of the most exciting developments in computers at the moment is 3D printing, an area that lets anyone make objects simply by printing them. But to do this, you need 3D models, and unless your skills are decent, you might not get much done. Until now.

This week, one of the few 3D printing brands available in Australia has announced a new model is on the way that won’t just print 3D creations in plastic, but will scan things in 3D and then print things from those scans.

It’s part of what XYZPrinting’s Da Vinci 1.0 AiO (all-in-one) will do, with a small box making up the printer itself packing in both a plastic melting and layering system (the printer) and a 3D scanning system, the later of which will reportedly capture the 3D image of an object within five minutes, and then store that 3D layout in a format that can be edited (.das) or printed right away (.stl).

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This combined device is a stark contrast to the 3D printers we’ve previously seen, which were one device — the 3D printer itself — with no 3D scanner attached. In fact, if you wanted one of those, you had to go out and buy one separately, utilising two gadgets for the purpose of scanning and then printing objects.

We do need to note that this isn’t like an ordinary scanner, with conventional scanners working in two dimensions, and essentially grabbing a scan of one side of an object, or generally a photo or piece of art. Rather, the 3D scanner being used here grabs a digital representation of an object in 3D, utilising a 2 megapixel camera and laser diode system to create a scan with an accuracy of 0.25mm.

That doesn’t necessarily mean fine details will be captured, but if you need to start with an object that will later be printed — say a cupboard knob that is breaking and needs to be replaced — the scanner will offer a starting point to a 3D model that would normally have to be made by hand using a computer program.

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“With the announcement of the Da Vinci All-in-One device, both consumers and business users can now easily scan and print in 3D without requiring additional software and expertise, this makes 3D printing more approachable than ever,” said Andrew McGregor, Product and Marketing Manager at XYZPrinting’s Australian distributor, MMT.

Pricing for XYZ’s Da Vinci 1.0 AiO comes in at $1299 in Australia, which isn’t too far off where the first 3D printers started surfacing at when they first arrived last year. Recently, the prices of 3D printers have dropped, though they’re still a new territory, fetching prices of at least $599 without a 3D scanner built in.

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If the price doesn’t bother you, you’ll find stockists all over Australia for the Da Vinci AiO, the majority of which are computer stores — Scorptec, VideoGuys, PLE Computers, Computer Alliance — with Leading Edge Computers the only major national computer supplier. For more information on stockists, we’d check MMT’s supplier list.