Yet, adding a laser with sensing electronics can give you so much more then just cheap 3d scanning.
Here is a video by Claudio Di Leo, MIT student, who attached a Inﬁniter VLM-650-27 line laser to a Solidoodle which uses a 2MP web camera to scan printbed enabling it to 3d print on place object. The entire upgrade costs some 50 USD but increases the ability of the machine.
Now, what would happen if you turn up the power on the laser?
There are several simple DIY laser cutter projects based on replacing the extruder but what if a laser cutter would be a separate tool moving independently?
Here is a video demonstration of laser cutting 3d printed PLA object. As you can see it can be done easily.
Here is a project with detailed guide and software on how to make springs with a laser cutter from different materials but also features PLA 3d printed tube:
Here are detailed instructions for spring laser cutter:
So, what could we achieve if we integrate active lasers into 3d printers:
- 3d scanning
- real-time scanning of print volume for continuous 3d print calibration, sensing failure and continuation of aborted prints
- 3d printing on objects attached to a print surface
- laser cutting printed objects giving new dimensions to 3d printed objects
- "standard" laser cutting of sheet materials, engraving and PCB processing
This could be the next big thing :-)