Simple 3d scanner

6 DIY 3D Scanners You Can Build at Home

Creating a 3D model of a real object can be done extremely fast if you have a 3D scanner at home. The problem is: 3D scanners are expensive to buy new.

If you're looking for a solution, why not try building your own affordable 3D scanner at home? It might not create perfect 3D models, but it's a cost-effective alternative to buying a 3D scanner.

Is It Cheaper to Build a DIY 3D Scanner?

The cost of buying a decent 3D scanner ranges from $700 to $10,000 at the highest end. On the other hand, building a DIY 3D scanner can cost less than $200—some even as little as $35.

Depending on the resolution of your homemade 3D scanner, you will still have to work to tidy up the 3D model so that it can be used for things like 3D printing, game development, or perhaps design prototyping. But overall, it will still speed up the design process when compared to building a model from scratch.

1. Cheap 3D Printed 3D Scanner

This 3D scanner is built using 3D printed parts, featuring both open source software and open source hardware files. If you choose to install the maximum of four lasers, then the cost of the project comes in at $35 to $50. Once it's built, handling the digital scan will require some legwork to smooth out. But considering its price tag, it's well worth giving it a go.

You can find the STL files and a full build guide on Instructables. Besides the 3D printed components, you will need one to four lasers, a stepper motor, a turntable, and an Arduino Nano to bring it all together. One benefit of this project is that it's been built many times by community makers, resulting in plenty of images and feedback surrounding the project to help fill in any gaps.

2. DIY 3D Scanner Using a DSLR Camera

Another option for building a 3D scanner is to use a DSLR camera and a method called photogrammetry. At its most basic, it involves taking a lot of images of an object from different angles and stitching those photos together in a software program to create a 3D model.

Alongside a DSLR camera, you will need an Arduino, a stepper motor and driver, an LCD screen, and an IR LED. The goal of the hardware is to build a rotating platform that moves by set amounts so that your camera can photograph the object in a very detailed and controlled way. You can find a great explanation of the project on Instructables.

The real difficulty of this project comes in processing the photos. A good photogrammetry program is essential, and that can cost over $150 to license. There is some free software available, but it may come with limitations.

If you're wondering if there is an alternative solution, you can read our guide to how to turn everyday objects into 3D models without a 3D scanner.

3. Optical CT/3D Scanner With Arduino

For something a little different, in this project you will build a 3D scanner that also doubles as an optical CT scanner. This type of scanner will do the trick if you have objects that are semi-transparent, like a gummy bear or a segment of orange. Otherwise, you can use this setup with the photogrammetry method for regular 3D scans.

Everything in this build is enclosed inside a box. This allows greater control over lighting the object to produce sharper images. While it involves some woodworking and construction, the hardware is still powered by a humble Arduino Nano, plus additional parts that you can find at any hardware store.

A great guide is available on Instructables for building the box, alongside details for creating a sleek control panel for changing photo parameters on the go.

4. FabScan: Raspberry Pi + Arduino 3D Scanner

This 3D scanner uses both a Raspberry Pi and an Arduino to build a 3D laser scanner. What sets this build apart is that it can be operated remotely via a web browser on a phone.

Much like other DIY 3D scanners, a stepper motor and driver are used to rotate a turntable holding the object you want to scan. Additionally, you will need a line laser and a Raspberry Pi camera. You can find the guide and a full components list on Instructables.

While the creators have gone with a laser-cut MDF box, you can just as easily use spare parts lying around the home to create the enclosure. Alternatively, cardboard can work too, and painting it black will aid in diffusing the laser light so that it doesn't interfere with the scan.

Once you have a good scan of your object, you might be interested in 3D printing it. Haven't got a 3D printer? Here is our pick of the best 3D printers.

5. The Ultimate Human Sized 3D Scanner With Raspberry Pi

While most homemade 3D scanners are built to capture a small object, it's also possible to build a human-sized 3D scanner. The way to do this is with a lot of Raspberry Pis, as you can see over on Instructables.

The maker behind this project scaled up his 3D scanner using a whopping 47 Raspberry Pis plus a Raspberry Pi camera for each module. The goal was to use the photogrammetry method to take a photo of his subject from every possible angle. Because he wanted to capture a 3D model of his two-year-old son, this all had to happen instantly.

Incredibly, it works, and it works very well too. If you have the time and investment to buy a box full of Raspberry Pis, you won't be disappointed because the results are impressive. The maker says you can use fewer Pis and cameras and still get good results, especially if you only need to capture the front of a person’s face.

6. Standalone 3D Scanner

Maybe you're just after a simple and small 3D scanner that you can make over the weekend. If so, then this project will suit you. This 3D scanner on Instructables is designed to be all-in-one, meaning that the photos are compiled onboard and an STL file is saved directly to a memory card. Instead of compiling the photos in a separate photogrammetry program, this 3D scanner handles them for you.

While it doesn't produce incredibly detailed scans, it does make for a rapid way to take a 3D model straight to 3D printing. One thing to bear in mind, however, is that the dimensions of the 3D scanner structure need to be kept exactly as written in order to match the code.

Building a Homemade 3D Scanner

Putting together a 3D scanner at home isn't extremely difficult to achieve. When compared to the expensive price of commercial 3D scanners, it's well worth building a DIY 3D scanner yourself.

With a Raspberry Pi or Arduino and a few extra affordable parts, you'll be well on your way to creating a cheap and awesome 3D scanner.

9 Accurate DIY 3D Scanners You Can 3D Print At Home (2022)

3D scanners can get really expensive. We’d know – we’ve tested and researched them in creating our ranking of the best 3D scanners . However, if you’re willing to be a little more thrifty you can save a lot of money building your own DIY 3D scanner — and have a cheap 3D scanner you can feel proud of building yourself!

DIY projects, especially in an area where precision is key, have an unfairly slap-dash reputation. In fact, there are some very accurate DIY 3D scanners on our list, you just need to assemble them yourself.

The best part: they’re almost free if you 3D print the parts — your only costs are the camera/parts.

However, don’t be fooled – you won’t get $20,000-quality scans from these kits. And it takes focus and skill to build such a technical piece of kit – hence we’ve included a couple of easy-assemble kits which cost more, but let you get right down to scanning. For the DIY kits, we’ve included download links and links to documentation to get you started.

What Makes a Good DIY 3D Scanner?

  • Price-performance ratio: for the price, how good are scans?
  • Resolution: how crisp is scan quality
  • Accessibility: you may be able to print most of the 3D scanner, but are the rest of the parts easy to buy?
  • Ease of assembly and use: quick and easy builds are always better. The best 3D scanner projects can be built by anyone, newbie or expert.

3D Printable 3D Scanners

Ciclop DIY 3D scanners

Many of the best DIY scanner kits are based on the original Ciclop open-source files. Massive companies like BQ have created their version, as well as tweaked versions such as CowTech Engineering’s take.

We’ve included them all here, as each option are some of the most DIY accurate 3D scanner options for this price range. For a pre-assembled scanner with the same quality, you’d likely need to spend double this.

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BQ Ciclop
  • Resolution: 0.3-0.5mm
  • DIY 3D scanner technology: laser triangulation
  • Price: around $150 — Available on Amazon worldwide here

BQ are a Spanish technology giant who are well-known across Europe for their smartphones, tablets, and 3D printers. They’ve also developed their Ciclop DIY 3D scanner, which scans a volume up to 250 x 205 mm, based on laser triangulation technology.

An important feature of the BQ Ciclop is that it’s a completely open source 3D scanner. You’re free to modify it as you wish, following the RepRap philosophy. It’s easily accessible via USB or Bluetooth, and can 3D scan with a resolution of between 0.3-0.5mm.

  • We also have a ranking of the best open source 3D printers.
The BQ Ciclop is a well known open source DIY 3D scanner.

Another great addition to this DIY 3D scanner is that it works with Horus open source 3D scanning suite which BQ also developed. This makes scanning much easier with the compatible program. You can buy just the electronics (includes an Arduino, webcam etc) and print the parts yourself for $115, or buy the whole kit for $240. Not bad.

However, it is worthy of note that the BQ Ciclop is difficult to assemble. Other DIY 3D scanners are quicker and simpler to build, though the Ciclop is still a fantastic DIY 3D digitizer.

Murobo Atlas — Great Raspberry Pi 3D Scanner
  • Resolution: 0.25mm
  • DIY 3D scanner technology: laser triangulation technology
  • Price: $200-250 — Available on Amazon worldwide here

Another homemade 3D scanner, the Atlas has the highest quality specs of any DIY 3D scanner we researched. It includes a 3D printed body made from PLA and ABS filaments, which can be purchased online. If you’re a serious DIY fanatic, you can print the parts yourself via the download link here.

Depending on if you already own a Raspberry Pi or not, you can save money on the build. This is because the Atlas DIY 3D scanner uses a Raspberry Pi camera to take detailed 3D scans with an accuracy of 0.25mm. Depending on your choice, the Atlas is likely to cost between $200 and $250, which is far less than most professional 3D scanners.

Moreover, Murobo has made considerable efforts to make sure that the Atlas DIY 3D scanner is convenient and simple to use. To achieve this, the Atlas comes with FreeLSS free 3D software which enables you to easily take 3D scans. In addition, you can access your Atlas via your computer’s browser through WiFi, as well as via SD card.

Overall, this DIY 3D scanner Raspberry Pi collaboration is a really interesting and creative way of combining several different innovative technologies to create a scanning device. If you’re an Arduino fan instead, you may be able to make it work for you too.

CowTech Ciclop
  • Price: $119 – $159 (depending on whether you’re 3D printing the parts or not) — Available on Amazon here
  • Resolution: 0.5 mm
  • Maximum scan volume: 200 x 200 x 205 mm

BQ formed the foundations of the DIY 3D scanner kit, and remains one of the best DIY 3D scanner on tight budget options. Then back in 2015, CowTech Engineering used the foundations led by BQ, putting their unique spin on an updated model.

True to the open source movement, Cowtech started a Kickstarter campaign to raise money to put their version of the original, the CowTech Ciclop, into production. The team set the lofty goal to raise $10,000, and were met with surprise when the community rallies to raise $183,000. The CowTech Ciclop DIY 3D scanner kit was born.

So what are the differences between CowTech’s version and BQ’s DIY 3D scanner?

The CowTech Ciclop still uses the Horus 3D software program as it does a fantastic shop for 3D scanning objects. Differences however include a slightly different design, which the team spent days designing so that the parts could be 3D printed on any FDM 3D printer. Some desktop 3D printers only have a small build volume, so CowTech designed parts that can be printed on any printer with a build volume of 115 x 110 x 65 mm, which almost all 3D printers have.

Additionally, CowTech’s Ciclop has adjustable laser holders, and whereas the BQ Ciclop uses threaded rods, CowTech’s DIY 3D scanner uses laser-cut acrylic. This isn’t anything drastic and the scanners still look fairly similar, but CowTech only intended to improve the existing design, not reform it. CowTech sell the Ciclop, ready-to-scan, for $159 on their website. Overall, this is a great cheap DIY 3D scanner, and very effective for laser triangulation 3D scanning.The CowTech Ciclop DIY 3D scanner is an improvement on BQ’s revolutionary model.

OpenScan Classic and OpenScan Mini

  • Max Scan Volume: 180 x 180 x 180 mm / 80 x 80 x 80 mm
  • Accuracy: Up to 50 microns
  • DIY 3D scanner technology: Photogrammetry
  • Price: Starting at $100. 00 up to $200.00 for a complete kit with 3D printed parts and electronic
Use your DSLR digital camera or phone with the OpenScan scanner.

The Mini and Classic are two low-cost but high-quality 3D printed DIY scanner projects designed by German company OpenScan. In action, the OpenScan uses a stepper motor mounted to a 3D printed frame to rotate an object to capture images from various angles. These are then compiled into a high-quality 3D model using open-source software or OpenScanCloud, ready for 3D printing.

Where the OpenScan Classic and Mini differ from one another is max scan volume and camera/SBC options. The Mini features an 80 x 80 x 80 mm scan volume, while the Classic more than doubles the scan volume to a roomy 180 x 180 x 180 mm, perfect for scanning larger objects.The Openscan Mini – the cheaper and smaller 3D printable 3D scanner.

The OpenScan Mini is tied to a Raspberry Pi and only works with either a Pi Camera or Arducam IMX 519 and includes one-click easy scanning. This allows the completed scanner to rotate not just the object but also the camera for a more detailed point cloud. 

On the other hand, the OpenScan Classic is also compatible with Smartphones and DSLR cameras, which generally means better quality photos and, as a result, higher-quality models. It’s the tinkerer’s option and better suited for those that want to customize the scanner to their needs.

OpenScan offers a solution for all DIY skill levels and budgets, whichever model you decide on. You can customize kits based on your needs or order a complete kit that includes all the electronics and 3D printed parts.

The full assembly guide is here.

AAScan Open Source 3D Scanner Based on Arduino and Android

AAScan is a very recent (February 2020) DIY open source 3D scanner that’s fully automated in taking photos and moving the object around on the scan plate. All the files are on Thingiverse, which we’ve linked below. Interestingly, the creator stresses that the AAScan is intended to be a purposefully minimalist machine, able to scan but not filled with extra features beyond this primary capacity.

All the instructions for how to build, print and assemble the AAScan are on the Thingiverse page, requiring an Arduino, some electronics, and either a 3D printer to print the plastic parts or someone else to print them for you — such as from a 3D printing service.

You can view the DIY scanner on Thingiverse here.

FabScan Pi

  • DIY 3D scanner technology: laser triangulation
  • Price: $100-200 depending on which version

The original FabScan was a DIY 3D scanner built by Francis Engelmann as part of his Bachelor’s thesis back in 2010. Since then, there have been numerous improvements made in new iterations up to the newest model, the FabScan Pi. This new model uses a Raspberry Pi camera along with the new design to offer higher quality 3D scans.

Based on laser triangulation technology, the FabScan Pi is one of the best DIY 3D scanner options for those who are into doing it themselves. Depending on if you go for one of the older models or the latest, the price can vary between $100 and around $200 to completely create the 3D scanner. Overall, it’s a really cool kit and thesis which you can make at home.

If you want to create your own FabScan, you can follow the assembly guide here.The FabScan Pi is an interesting option with new evolutions being developed all the time.

DIY Standalone 3D Scanner by Jun Takeda

  • DIY 3D scanner technology: Photogrammetry
  • Price: $200.00

The DIY Standalone 3D Scanner is an excellent option for those that want a hands-on project that results in a reasonably accurate and easy-to-use stationary 3D scanner. 

By combining a Mbed board with a camera and OpenCV libraries, the scanning process is largely automated with just a single button push. The scanner captures multiple images of an object to create a 3D model that’s then output as an STL file written to an SD Card.

To complete the project, you’ll need a GR-LYCHEE as a centerpiece sided by smaller electronic parts, plastic sheets to create the housing, and various nuts and wiring to piece it all together.  

As the name implies, it’s very much a DIY project and, as such, would best suit those happy to troubleshoot any potential hurdles with little hand-holding. Though there are instructions, you’re responsible for designing the housing, wiring the board, and calibrating the camera.

Arduino-Controlled Photogrammetry 3D Scanner by Brian Brocken

  • DIY 3D scanner technology: Photogrammetry
  • Price: ~$100

The Arduino-Controlled Photogrammetry 3D Scanner is a 3D printable 3D scanner DIY project that leverages the camera on any run-of-the-mill Smartphone and a cheap Arduino UNO SBC to keep costs low.

The core idea is to assemble a turntable consisting of 3D printed mechanical parts, including a print-in-place bearing. A Bluetooth-connected Smartphone does the actual scanning via the normal photogrammetry process. As for electronic components, you’ll need a servo motor, LCD screen, Arduino Uno, PCB, stepper motor, Bluetooth remote, regulator, and a small joystick module.

Once assembled, the Arduino-Controlled Photogrammetry 3D Scanner can capture anywhere from 2 to 200 photos in a single 360° rotation for reasonably detailed scans. The images are then sent to photogrammetry software such as AutoDesk Recap Photo to assemble a 3D model.

Aside from the cost of filament, expect to pay no more than $100 for all the parts and the STL files to 3D print the turntable.

Semi-assembled DIY scanners

Revopoint POP / POP 2

  • Price: $500-700 — Available at Revopoint store here
  • Accuracy: 0.3 mm
  • Max Scan Volume: 200 x 300 x 300 mm
  • Scan Speed: Up to 8 FPS
  • DIY 3D scanner technology: Structured light

Though not technically a DIY scanner, we thought we’d slide in the Revopoint POP as a cheat option for those that want to save time and want largely better quality scans than you’d get with a homemade alternative.

It comes semi-assembled – you just need to attach the tripod, connect the USB and the turntable, add the sticker markers for better scan tracking, and optionally build and attach the larger turntable – so you can get started in just 5 minutes!A basic mug scan we did on our Revopoint POP 2.

The catch? At around $500, the Revopoint POP is considerably pricier than a DIY scanner. Still, it may be worth paying the premium for the convenience and reliability.

The Revopoint POP offers 0.3 mm accuracy (the POP 2 offers within 0.1 mm!) and automatic alignment technology, making for more detailed and smooth full-color 3D models than DIY scanners. It can capture 360° scans of objects up to 200 x 300 x 300 mm, besting most DIY options.

The main benefit of all this is high accuracy scans that are just about ready for 3D printing with very little post-processing needed to iron out imperfections and poor surface details.A statue scan we did with our Revopoint POP 2.

Ease of use also extends to the intuitive software, which works with Smartphones for on-the-go scanning and features exports to STL and OBJ formats. Alongside, it bundles in best-of both-worlds handheld and stationary modes. Five different scanning profiles allow you to tune the POP to each scan with face, body, feature, mark, and dark mode.

Read more: we tested and reviewed the Revopoint POP 2

Can You Make a 3D Scanner?

  1. Choose a DIY 3D scanner design.
  2. Source the non-3D printable parts such as the camera, stepper motor, single board computer (such as an Arduino), wiring, and other electronic parts.
  3. 3D print the housing, brackets, turntable, mounts, and other parts required for the 3D scanner project.
  4. Wire and assemble all the parts.
  5. Configure and set up the single board computer.
  6. Test and scan.


Which is the Best DIY 3D Scanner?

This depends on how much DIY you want to take on yourself, and how much you are ready to spend.

One of the most cost-effective options is scanners based on the Ciclop open-source 3D scanner design. You can purchase a low-cost Ciclop scanner like the BQ Ciclop or CowTech Ciclop 3D scanner, then 3D print the parts from home and modify and tune the scanner to your liking.

Alternatively, the Revopoint POP is an excellent semi-assembled 3D scanner with great specifications and software at an affordable price for those that want to save time.

What is a DIY 3D Scanner?

A DIY 3D scanner is a cost-effective, home-made device constructed from manufactured or 3D printed parts designed to capture the characteristics of a specific object – such as size, surface details, and shape – by scanning it from multiple angles to create an equivalent point cloud that can be processed into a 3D model via software.

Other articles you may be interested in:

  • The best 3D scanners
  • The best low-cost 3D scanners
  • Top 3D scanner apps for iOS and Android
  • The best photogrammetry software
  • Structured light 3D scanning vs laser scanning
  • 3D body scanners: a guide
  • Industrial 3D scanners

Top Ten 3D Scanners from $100 to $100,000 / Sudo Null IT News There are several ways for you: you can of course create your 3D model from scratch in a 3D modeling program or find a suitable one on the Internet, but you can also scan an existing object! The purpose of this review is to help you understand the variety of 3D scanners available and offer the best in every price segment from a photogrammetric smartphone app to professional 3D scanners.

Scanners are listed in ascending price order so you can choose the one that suits your budget and use the resulting 3D models for both 3D printing and animation.

If you are not satisfied with the proposed solutions, there is an extended overview at this link.

3D scanner in hand:

1. Best smartphone app: Autodesk 123D Catch (free)

Autodesk 123D Catch is a free photogrammetric application. It allows you to create a 3D model from photographs of an object taken from different angles. You can use it to scan objects, people, and even the landscape. For some applications, if you don't need perfect accuracy, you don't need special equipment. This application actually provides quite good detail and is easy to use. However, it will take you at least 30 minutes for the app to process your photos as the processing takes place on the server and it takes time to send them.

2. Best DIY 3D Scanner: Kinect ($99.99)

The Xbox Kinect is designed to expand your gaming experience. It is not designed for 3D scanning, but you can easily find manuals and third party software (like ReconstructMe) to turn it into a 3D scanner. If your arms are growing out of your shoulders, this is an interesting and inexpensive solution for 3D scanning.

Price: $99.99
Resolution: 0.051mm


This scanner can be attached to your tablet or phone (generally designed for iPad, but can be adapted to other devices). Lightweight and easy to use, with a very good resolution. Suitable for large items (can scan a full-length person) and outdoor scanning. You will be able to use it with software running on Occipital's SDK. This will increase the resolution and give you access to special features like room scanning. It probably won't be something you'll use for 3D printing, but it's interesting for game development, for example.

Price: $ 379
Resolution up to: 0. 5 mm
accuracy to: 4 mm

4. The best of cheap manual 3D scanners: Cubife ($ 399)

3D 3D-scanners can be quite affordable and easy to use if you choose from inexpensive portable models. Cubify fits these criteria very well and has a relatively good resolution. But still, its capabilities are not enough for texture scanning and it is better to use it for subsequent 3D printing of one-color models.

Price: $ 399
Resolution: 0.9 mm
Resolution at a distance of 0.5 m: 1 mm

3D scanner on the table:

5. Best and cheapest table 3D 3D 3D 3D 3D 3D 3D 3D 3D 3D 3D 3D 3D 3D 3D 3D 3D 3D- Scanner: Matter and Form ($519)

If you're looking to take your quality to the next level, you can purchase a desktop 3D scanner. This model is compact, easy to use, and delivers good resolution, especially considering the price (not your go-to option if you're looking for perfection, but great for educational and demo purposes). The scanning process takes place with the help of a laser and a rotating platform. The scan takes about five minutes and simultaneously reads the texture of the object.

Price: $ 519
Resolution: 0.43 mm
accuracy: ± 0.25 mm

6. The best device "two in one": XYZPRINTING DA VINCI 1.0 ($ 600)

is inexpensive combines a 3D scanner and a 3D printer. The quality of the models is not too high, but the price is very low for such a combined device. This makes the XYZprinting Da Vinci the easiest solution for beginners who want to get into the world of 3D scanning-printing.

Professional 3D scanners:

7. Best value for money portable 3D scanner: Fuel3D Scanify ($1490)
Very easy to use, intuitive, and feels good in the hand, this scanner delivers good accuracy and texture quality. The only limitation is that the size of the scanned area is limited, which is great for small objects, but for scanning a full-length person, for example, it will not work.

Price: $ 1490
Resolution: 0.35 mm
accuracy: to 0.3 mm

8. Best price The scanner uses a different scanning technology than others. Instead of a dual laser scanning system, it uses a structured light source and cameras for fast scanning with very fine detail down to 0.06mm! The scanner comes with DAVID Pro Edition 3 software that works with OBJ, STL and PLY 3D file formats that can be exported to other programs for further editing.

Price: $ 3995
Resolution: 0.06 mm
accuracy: 0.5% of the size of the object

9. The best table professional 3D-scanner: SolutionIX REXCAN 4 ($ 79 900)

The 3D scanner and its price provides much better scanning quality. Solutionix Rexcan is equipped with two cameras for greater accuracy. It uses optical phase shift triangulation technology and two high-resolution CCD cameras to provide high-precision data. The scanner can be used to scan larger objects by increasing productivity with a photogrammetric system. As an option, it can be equipped with an automatically rotating platform capable of supporting up to 50 kg of weight.

Price: $ 79 900
accuracy: from 0.03 to 0.71 mm

10. Best professional manual 3D scanner: Metrascan 750 ($ 50,000 - $ 100,000)

Creaform Metrascan 750 is a complete professional, production solution for accurate 3D scanning. It is light, accurate, fast, and scans objects of any surface quality, with any texture with excellent accuracy.

Price: $79900
Resolution: 0.050 mm
Accuracy: Up to 0.03 mm

We hope this was a useful read and you found a 3D scanning solution suitable for your needs and your budget! If you want to learn more about photogrammetry, you can read this article.

Good luck with your 3D scanning!

Almost DIY 3d scanner for home / Sudo Null IT News high-quality scanning is out of the question.

But the main plus that I took out from the article is the David-3D scanning program, which really has a good manual in Russian and, importantly, buying a license is the last thing required, since the free version is limited only to saving the scan result. Everything else works in full, which means that it is quite possible to test the program, settings and your hardware as much as you like. And if you don’t need the result with high accuracy, then you can do without buying a license at all.

I needed accuracy, since the main thing I wanted to scan was miniatures from the Warhammer board game (so that later I could change them as I wanted and print them :)). The height of these "soldiers" is only 3 cm, but this does not prevent them from being very detailed.

If you do not need to shoot such small objects, then your equipment requirements will be lower, which means that it will be much easier to assemble a similar scanner for yourself.

The principle of the program, and accordingly scanning, is well described in the article, which was linked above (I think it is not necessary to duplicate this). It is advisable to read that article first, as this one will be in some way its logical continuation.

But let's start in order. What you need to try 3D scanning at home:
1 - projector.
2 - webcam.

That's all, the short list turned out surprisingly well. However, if you want to get very accurate and high-quality scans, then you will have to modify some things with pens. Of course, you can’t do without additional costs, but in the end it will still cost less than buying any of the commercially available 3D scanners, and the quality of the result can be obtained much better.

Now, in order and in detail.


I, like the author of the previous article, started my first experiments on scanning with a laser pointer, but they immediately showed how inconvenient this method is. There are several disadvantages here at once:
- the impossibility of obtaining a beam with a sufficiently thin line. Moreover, when you turn the pointer, the distance from the lens to the object changes, which means the focus is lost.
- if you need to scan regularly, turn the laser pointer with sufficient accuracy and smoothness by hand is very difficult, and tiringly easy - the hands are not such a stable tool when it comes to a long time.
- you have to scan in the dark so that only the laser line is visible and nothing more.

And if the second drawback can still be dealt with by creating a special rotary mechanism (although this is already not such an easy task, in any case, this cannot be done in 5 minutes on the knee), then getting rid of the first drawback is more expensive.

When I realized all this, I decided to try scanning with a projector, for which I borrowed some simple model from a friend.

A small clarification should be made here - in the last article the author mentioned the possibility of scanning using a projector, although the proposal was, in my opinion, very strange -

A projector with a powerful lamp will do, the light of which must be directed through a narrow slit to the object being scanned

This may have been the only option in earlier versions of the program, but version 3, which I experimented with, used the projector much better, because there's a feature called Structured Light Scanning (SLS). Unlike laser scanning, the projector immediately projects a grid of vertical and horizontal lines of various thicknesses onto the object, which reduces the scanning time by an order of magnitude and allows you to automatically capture the color texture of the object. Well, with good focus, a 1 pixel wide line is much thinner than you can get from an inexpensive laser pointer.

Unfortunately, I didn’t take pictures from those first experiments, and there wasn’t much to take pictures of - the projector is on the table, next to it is a webcam, all of this looks in one direction :) However, even such a simple design showed that this option much better both in terms of scanning speed and quality. Then I decided to buy myself a projector for these purposes.

The criteria for choosing a projector were simple - higher resolution, lower price and dimensions :)
The choice settled on IconBit Tbright x100 - an ultra-compact DLP LED projector, 1080 resolution - at that time it seemed to me that you couldn’t imagine better, but as it turned out later, I was wrong, although while working with it, I got a lot of interesting experience.

The first problem that occurs when scanning a small object with a projector is that for best results, the size of the projected grid should roughly match the size of the object being scanned. This projector made it possible to obtain the smallest screen diagonal at the closest focus - about 22 cm. Agree that against such a background, a miniature 3 cm high is far from the concept of "approximately equal sizes." The answer was found on the official forum - people in such cases install camera lenses on the projector for macro photography. Given the small size of the projector lens, I opted for marumi lenses with a thread diameter of 34mm.

Using two of these kits, I managed to get a projector screen with a diagonal of only about 3 cm. Which turned out to be quite enough to make my first microscan -

This is a single scan, therefore there are “holes” on the model, torn edges and etc. By turning the coin and scanning from different angles, you can get several of these scans, which are subsequently combined into one object (the scanning program itself allows you to correctly combine different scans, stitch them together and save them as a single object). In the process of stitching, the shape of the object is also specified. But saving the results of such stitching is possible only after purchasing a license.

And now the moment has come for the first thing that is not necessary for scanning, but with it the process is much more convenient - this is a stand for a projector with a camera. The calibration process itself is needed not only for the program to recognize the parameters of the equipment - the software must also calculate the relative position of the camera and the projector. In the course of work, their change is not allowed (as well as changing the focus of the camera), which means that it is necessary to firmly fix all this, because the number of scans can be large even for one object.

David's main page shows a similar system - it is nothing complicated. Yes, and looking through the forum and seeing how different people organize it for themselves, I realized that nothing complicated is required here.

For these purposes, a stand was taken from a burned-out LCD monitor, and plexiglass from it, cut and glued like this design, as it looked in the first version , which allowed changing the screen diagonal and scanning objects of different sizes.
It should also be mentioned that scanning with a projector does not require the constant presence of calibration panels in the field of view. After the calibration is done, they can be removed. This allows, having calibrated the installation, to easily transfer it, move it, etc.
That is, you can use a large calibration template to calibrate at home on the walls, and then go outside with this stand and laptop and scan your car, for example. We took a smaller template, put a couple of lenses - and you can scan jewelry.

Recently, the company has released an improved scanning kit, here the stand looks much more serious and interesting -

2000 euros is not entirely justified, it is not difficult to assemble something like this yourself and much cheaper.

Let's go back to the projector. As it turned out, this projector had one major disadvantage for being used in a scanner, namely its native resolution (854*480). And everything would be fine if it produced the same output, but alas, the picture was converted to standard resolutions (such as 1024 * 768), and as a result, a line one pixel wide was somewhere brighter in different parts of the screen, where - something dimmer, somewhere already and somewhere wider . .. All this had a negative effect on the quality of scanning, expressed in the form of ripples and stripes on the resulting model.
By that time, I was already thinking about buying a projector for a stereolithographic 3D printer ( After considering several options, I settled on the Acer P1500 model, because. it does not need any modifications to be used in a printer (this projector, without any lenses, is able to give a focused image on a screen of about 4 * 7 cm). So, for the scanner, it will fit perfectly. At the same time, the resolution of 1920 * 1080 is real. And so it happened, I still use this projector and am completely satisfied with the results.


The criteria for choosing a camera were the same as when choosing a projector. Having gone shopping, I stopped at the Logitech C615. The scan of the coin was made from it, without any modifications. But when I tried to scan the figurine, I ran into a problem called "depth of field". When the object is so small, then in fact we get macro photography, and sharpness with such shooting is achieved only in a small segment, literally just a couple of millimeters (which is why the coin was scanned well - the relief fit perfectly into the sharpness area). It was decided to convert the camera to a different lens. Several different lenses were ordered on Ebay for testing, and a new case was cut out for the camera board. The plan was like this0003

The final result was slightly different

The main idea, I think, is clear. And now, both on Thingiverse and on the forum of the program, you can download stl for printing cases for different types of webcams.

I had to remove the standard lens from the camera board, and as it turned out later, the IR filter was removed along with it, so be careful in this matter. The filter will then come in handy for use with other lenses, although you can buy them separately - the price is cheap.

Thus, I have formed such a collection of lenses.

While I was waiting for the lenses to arrive, I was reading various photography forums. Studying the issue with depth of field, I found out that you can increase it by closing the lens aperture more. This means that the lens was required one in which it was possible to adjust the aperture (alas, among those ordered, not everyone had such an opportunity, but luckily I got a couple of them). In general, to improve the camera, it is desirable to have a varifocal lens with a zoom and an adjustable aperture. In practice, everything turned out the way it was in theory - closing the aperture, an increase in the depth of field was immediately visible, which made it possible to scan three-dimensional, but small objects.

The main lens I use is mounted on the camera in the photo above. The second, with an adjustable aperture, is the largest, in the center. I use it for very very small objects. The rest are without a diaphragm, so I don’t use them - it turned out that these two were quite enough.

Now I plan to either find a webcam with a higher resolution (the quality and detail of the scans directly depends on the resolution of the camera), or try to use some digital camera for this purpose with the ability to shoot video - usually you can get a lot more resolution in them, and lenses are better.

Actually, this could be the end - it seems that he told about everything. I also thought that this was the end of my scanner assembly, but the farther into the forest ... While studying the forum of this program, I often came across various schemes of turntables - fortunately, the software allows you to automate the scanning process. After one scan, a command is sent to the com port, the turntable rotates, turning the object by a given number of degrees, and gives a command to the next scan. As a result, with one click of the mouse, we have circular scans of the object - it would seem, what more could you want? I tried this system with interest, but alas, I absolutely did not like this approach, and there are a couple of reasons for this.

1 – if the object has a complex shape, then simply rotating it will not be enough – you also need to tilt it in different directions so that the camera with the projector reaches all the depressions and other hard-to-reach places.
2 - even if there are no such places, and considering all the scans that were made, there are no parts left on the object that did not fall into the scan, the question of the accuracy of the scan remains.

Let's say that some part of the model on one of the scans came out perfectly. But this does not mean that on all the scans in which this part fell, it also looks perfect, and when stitching scans from different angles, the result will be averaged, which cannot please. The program allows you to slightly edit the received scans (you can cut out the unnecessary part). If we rotate the model by 20 degrees, then after a full rotation we will have 18 scans, the part we need may well be present on half of them, therefore, in order to leave the best result, we will need to remove this piece from 8 scans . .. And such pieces with a complex There can be many models, as a result, almost half will be cut off from each scan, which is very laborious and time consuming.

Instead, it is better to immediately scan adjacent areas after the first scan and check the result. As soon as a piece is ready, we move on to scanning the next one, and so on, until the entire model is in perfect shape. This approach gives the best results in less time.

But the question of convenience arises. Agree, it’s inconvenient to manually try to rotate an object, looking not at it, but at the monitor - in order to control the hit on the lens without changing the distance to the camera and the projector at the same time (so as not to lose focus). With the next similar balancing act, I accidentally touched the camera, which accordingly knocked down the entire calibration, and the whole process had to be started anew. I categorically did not like this alignment, and after some thought I came up with a plan for such a design (which, as you understand, I subsequently assembled).

This is not a turntable in the usual sense of the term. Thanks to this design, I can not only rotate the model, but also tilt it as I need. In this case, the center of the model remains in the plane of focus, but even if not, you can move the mount with the model back and forth.

All this was assembled on arduino, a small control program was written, and as a result, now I don’t have to get up from the computer when scanning - using the program, I change the position of the object being scanned, and at the same time, right there, in the window cameras I choose the best angle for scanning.


I put in the program the possibility of automatic scanning, as well as scanning not only in a circle, but with inclinations of 45 degrees in one direction and the other, which gives three times more scans. Nevertheless, in the end, I still never use this opportunity - it's too inconvenient to sort through the resulting pile of scans and clean them from unsuccessful pieces.

We should also mention some nuances of scanning.
1 - it is impossible to scan shiny and mirror surfaces. The light from them is reflected, or gives such a glare that the program cannot correctly recognize the line. If there is a need to scan such an object, then such parts will have to be masked with something (washable paint, paper tape, etc.).
2 - it is more convenient to scan monotonous objects, since when the camera is set to a light color, the projector's brightness is not so high, the exposure is low, etc. And a dark-colored object needs more brightness, so if you have a multi-colored object, then different parts of it require different settings to get the best result. Here, too, it is more convenient to use scanning the object in parts.
3 - if you want to immediately get a color texture, then please note that the settings of the camera and the projector for scanning do not affect the settings for removing the texture (the scan is generally done in black and white mode), so play around with the settings in the texture mode just as you would do in scan mode.

My scanning process now looks like this:
- Focusing the projector and camera

The projector's light is too bright and the projected grid is not visible in the photo, but here is the view from the camera in the program

- scanner calibration

printed on magnetic paper - so you can very quickly adjust to different sizes of scanned objects.

Software View

It is recommended that the combined angle between the beam of the projector and the camera be around 20 degrees. Therefore, such a stand is used - when scanning large objects (for example, a person), the camera should be set aside much further from the projector, but here they are close to me. The location of the camera relative to the projector can be only vertical, or only horizontal, depending on the geometry of the object. In this case, the arrangement is diagonal (13 degrees vertically and 36 degrees horizontally).

Scan results from different angles. These are already cleaned up scans, i.e. all unsuccessful and unnecessary parts (figure stand, mount that got into the frame) parts have been removed.

Combining scans for subsequent merging into one object

Due to the fact that each scan has its own color, it is convenient to control the correct alignment.

Well, after combining the scans from different angles, we get the following models

Miniature of Boromir from Lord of the Rings.

When scanning a multi-colored object, the result is slightly worse if you don't bother too much. But then you can get an object with a texture right away :) , even fingerprints people scan. And there are even scans of the same miniatures from Warhammer

In conclusion, I would like to say that no matter what hardware you use, no matter what expensive 3D scanner you buy, this is not a panacea for printing anything. Theoretically, of course, you can send the resulting object to the slicer and print, but there are several reasons why you should not do this, but in any case, you should study 3D graphics packages.

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