Qlone is an app that allows you to create 3D scans of real objects with your phone or mobile device. Once you’ve scanned an object you can modify your 3D model using in-app tools and then save or export it to other applications. It is fast and simple to use. Check out their overview video to help you get started.
Pros and Cons
I was excited to find this app and get started making some 3D scans. Overall it is a cool tool. However, like everything in life, there are pros and there are cons.
- Free app for iOS and Android.
- Scanning mat is free and you can print it in various sizes to accommodate your items.
- Scanning dome guides you through a complete scan. Thanks to the dome, you know that you have scanned every inch of your item.
- In-app editing tools allow you to modify and refine your 3D model.
- Save and edit your model in your phone.
- Models can be exported as multiple file formats including OBJ, STL, PLY, and X3D.
- Models can be shared or used in other applications.
- On older tech, the scans are a little rough. See poor Rainbow Dash above and my pointy-headed penguin.
- It takes a little bit of practice to calibrate and use the scanning dome. Again, my difficulty could have something to do with the age of my tech. However, once you get the hang of it, it is pretty easy.
- In-app credit is required to export certain file formats. Exports can cost between $.99 and $9.99, according to the Google Play Store. This isn’t a huge con. An app has to have a sustainable business model so you can’t fault them for charging for some features. There is a lot of value in the free features so paying to export some file formats is not a bad thing.
For me, the pros outweigh the cons, especially when you start thinking about all the ways you can use it in the classroom.
- Creating 3D Models – Get students thinking in 3D virtual space. They can practice scanning and modifying their models.
- Explainer Video – Create a 3D scan and export as an mp4. Use a video editing tool to add voice-over or to edit it into other footage.
- Online Art Gallery – Have students scan their 3D IRL artwork. Save the file as a GIF and create a web page that includes their art GIF and an artist statement.
- Upload to other applications – Create 3D models that can be used in other AR apps such as MERGE Cube Object Viewer.
- Prototyping – Build object prototypes out of clay or other materials. Then scan it and export the model for 3D printing.
This is a short list. I’m sure there are lots of different ways you could use a 3D scanning tool in your classroom.
Read this article about middle school class that partnered with a local museum to create a virtual exhibit using Qlone and MERGE Cube tools.
Have you used Qlone in your classroom? What have your students done with their scans?