Autodesk123D Catch…An Inexpensive Way to 3D Scan!!


So, now you have your 3D printer and have explored Thingiverse until you have a horrible case of carpal tunnel in your clicking finger and you have printed all things…chic! Well, have you thought about any object around the house you might want to print? Items such as a garden gnome, model airplane, figurine, or even your son or daughter?

There are several ways you might get a model into the computer as a 3D image and create a file for printing. First, you could buy a 3D scanner, these run anywhere in the low hundreds to several thousand dollars. You could learn to use a 3D drawing software program, there are several very capable free versions out there, (Autodesk123D Design (I’ll be discussing this one at a later date), Blender, Sketchup, etc.). You might commission a drawing which might run you as much as buying a 3D scanner. Or, you could use your very own camera and Autodesk123D Catch…the cost? Only the time it takes you to photograph your subject, upload the photos to the website, and wait for Catch to crunch the numbers and poof! You can download your 3D file!

Autodesk123D Catch is a website driven software package that is free of charge ( You will have to create an account with your email address and download the software plug-in. Once this is complete you are ready to catch your 3D design!

First you must select your model. Next, you will need to take a series of approximately 20 photos from various points around your subject. Finally, you need to upload all photos into the magic website. The website will walk you through the process and is very straight forward. It may take five to fifteen minutes to stitch all of you photos together depending how many and the complexity of your photo pattern.

Lastly, this site is very well supported with “How to” videos and handy tips to make your “Catches” the best quality possible. If you would like to see a demo of what can be done you can watch our video (  I photographed a small music box figurine and printed it on an Imaginator 3D printer.

Until next time, happy printing!!

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