A close personal friend recently commented on 3D Printing technology because this technology is in use where he works at the National Research Council. The “scanning” of the tool is more of a concept than it practically appears. An earlier video link showed a crescent wrench being reproduced from a “scan”. Apparently the illustration of a crescent wrench in the video was the default reproduction image that shipped with the replication unit. Scanning is currently limited to the simplest of geometries.
So, for the time being at least, the replicator works with the help of people inputing the manual programming of code. The gap between converting digital images to fully functional code is not far off. Imagine the use of x-ray technology to assist with that functionality. You may have heard of sonar technology that scans what lies beneath the ocean floor. My guess is it won’t be long to finish off the transition from science fiction to reality!
3D Printing Technology