MiniCut2D lets users take baby steps to 3D printing glory

While 3D printers are all the rage these days, they still remain somewhat of a mystery to the layman. Expensive machines coupled with complex programs ultimately build an extremely intimidating process most people would be scared off by.

MiniCut2D is aimed at those who are interested in what 3D printing can do, but lack the advanced skills necessary to transform what they have in their mind into a physical object. The product utilizes a hot wire that cuts hard polystyrene foam usually used as insulation material. The process is accessible to most because it only requires either a manually drawn image or a silhouette off of the Internet to help guide the wire to cut the shape necessary. The thickness of the material gives the object its third dimension as a result, and allows even beginners to create things such as words, planes, packing, and scale models. This gives users more variety than with scanners like the Pouff 3D that can only scan objects as big as the scanner itself.

Its open source Windows software supports CAD and SketchUp file formats, so MiniCut2D can serve as motivation for beginners looking to move on to more advanced ideas. The €8,900 (~$10,043) campaign is looking to have the €499 (~$563) product out to backers by May of this year.


Pouff3D is the perfect scanning companion for the home 3D printing user

The Premise. 3D printers have promising  applications in the home, but few people really have the tools necessary to get the most out of it. For those who aren’t pro computer modelers or designers, a 3D scanner would accomplish the job easily, but the technology tends to be pricy and hard to acquire for the end user.

The Product. The Pouff3D is a simple 3D scanner that works in a rather ingenious way. Almost resembling a wicker basket, to scan an object with the Pouff3D, one simply opens up the device, places the object to scan inside, and then attaches their smartphone to the interior. The Pouff3D will then move the phone automatically around the device, using a built-in light to evenly illuminate the item from each angle.

The Pitch. The video introduction for the Pouff3D is mostly to illustrate the concept than show the device in action. Wombex, Inc., the company responsible for the device, basically demonstrates how the scanner will work once it’s closer to being ready. The early bird prices are a great incentive for backers to jump on the Pouff3D bandwagon now, saving up to 40% on the projected retail cost. The rest of the campaign materials hope to clear up some of the questions, but a lot of the specifics are still being established for the prototype. Wombex needs $85,000 to finalize the design, hardware, and software before manufacturing can begin.

The Perks. The Pouff3D scanner is expected to ship out in April 2015 with a couple different available options. A drape-coated version is available for $299, while a leather-coated version will be provided for $449, both available in a variety of colors.

The Potential. This is an interesting take on the 3D scanner and could be an affordable way to transform the average, everyday smartphone into something that can be extremely helpful when it comes to 3D modeling. The minimal, modern design will blend in effortlessly in any office or studio shelf, but the powerful capabilities this device can offer for those who need it are deceptively hidden to the unaware eye. The precise details of just how great this device can be are still a little shrouded in mystery, but if Wombex can deliver on all of their promises, this could be the go-to tool for the amateur 3D printer.