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(Pocket-lint) - 3D printing is fast becoming a mainstream concern with desktop printers like the MakerBot and 3D scanners like the Digitizer. And now that Windows 8.1 supports 3D printing it's even more of a reality for many. But until now the scanning side hasn't been perfect.

3D Systems has managed to create a stapler sized scanner that lets you circle any object, of up to 10 feet by 10 feet, and have it appear on your machine. All other scanners rely on a bed and are limited in size. While Sense is still a tethered device right now it offers more freedom than the competition.

While Sense does need to be tethered it doesn't mean you can't be mobile. It will even work with the Microsoft Surface Pro 2, for example, as it's Windows 8.1 friendly. Snapping photos is going to become passé once this gets more common. Ok, maybe not but it's an exciting road ahead.

Sense 3D will immediately save the scanned file as an STL for manipulation or printing. And if you miss a small part in your haste it will intelligently fill in the blanks. All that and it's selling for a relatively cheap £279. We say relatively as the whole 3D printing world is still in its untested infancy right now so it's a bit of a risk but considering how future facing this kit is you'd expect to pay more.

Sense is made to work directly with the Cube or CubeX printers and as such can be bought directly from the cubify website. There are also package options to get you started from scratch with printer and materials too.

3d systems sense 3d scanner captures 10 foot by 10 foot objects for only 279 image 2
Writing by Luke Edwards. Originally published on 8 November 2013.