3D Scanning Resources

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People need 3-D models of objects (and people) for lots of reasons: 3-D printing, computer animation, doing CAD modeling around existing conditions, making clothing, etc. Here are some ways you can get 3-D models of real-world geometry without being a CAD wizard with lots of free time:


Scanning with traditional cameras

It's possible to create a 3-D model from a series of photographs using a technique called Photogrammetry.

  • Autodesk makes a few different software tools for creating 3-D models from photographs, most of which are free.
    • 123D Catch is a completely free app that creates a 3-D model from pictures taken with your smartphone.
    • Memento is a desktop app, currently in free beta, that creates high-definition 3-D models from imported photos. Also includes model cleanup and refinement tools. Designed for artists/archivists/media creators.
    • ReCap constructs 3D models from laser scan data, photos, or video, focused on architectural/civil engineering applications.
  • Microsoft Photosynth is a similar set of free photogrammetry tools for PC, iOS, and Windows Phone.

Scanning with cheap 3-D cameras

  • Occipital Skanect is a PC/Mac app that uses a Microsoft Kinect 3D camera to scan objects. It has both free and paid versions; the free version is limited to models of a certain complexity.

3-D Scanning Hardware around and through the Asylum

Derek Seabury has a Structure sensor (with bracket for iPad mini w/Retina Display) and Fuel-3D sensor 1 he is willing to lend to members.

At an offsite location, Scott Janousek has a NextEngine 3D Laser Scanner HD with ScanStudio HD, CAD Tools, and RapidWorks 2.x. Here are some specs on this device. Here is some sample output.

Non-members can email have-it-made mailing list to inquire about arranging for a scan.

3-D Scanning Workstation

As of June 2015, there exists a Dell PC with a Microsoft Kinect hooked up to Occipital Skanect in the Digital Fabrication space in Building 13. Work is in progress to document the machine and how to make simple scans using this setup. Contact Scott Janousek for more information about the status of this setup.

Local 3D scan hardware vendors

  • The Circle Cam is an Asylum neighbor that makes a large-format multi-camera scanner capable of capturing entire crowd scenes.
  • Dot Product makes a hardware sensor for both iPads and Android tablets, designed for professional/industrial 3D scanning applications.

Additional Information

The following resources have good information on 3D scanning:


  1. As of June 2015, a member setup and tested the Fuel3D scanner. The conclusions found that although the hardware is not bad for what it is, the software (aka "Scanify") was not sufficiently developed to provide viable and useful scan results very easily. The data stitching capabilities is non existent, making post process very intensive and time consuming. Members are welcome to try again at a future date.
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