This instructable will guide you to build a 3D scanner for less than $30, or even $12 if you already have a USB webcam.

Seeing the price tag and limitations of commercial scanners I decided to challenge myself to build my own. It had to be cheaper and easy for anybody to build one using a 3D printer.


The "Sardauscan" is a laser scanner, comparable to other professional laser scanners but for less than 20-30 times the price, and it has twice the number of lasers.

My design principles were:

· Keep it simple

· Keep it low cost

· Make it evolutive

· Provide a complete solution

The scanner is completely open source and open hardware:

· The "Sardauscan" software is written in C# - the full source code is available.

· You can write plugins for your own hardware or for your tasks.

The software allows you to scan, smooth, build meshes and export to various formats.

How does it work?

The principle of a 3D laser scanner is simple.

· A picture of the object is taken without any lasers firing

· One laser is switched on and another picture is taken

· Computing the difference between the two images, a laser trace (profile of the object) is obtained

· By knowing the positions of the camera and laser you can derive the 3D coordinates of all the points on the profile

· You do the same for all the lasers, turn the table and repeat the process until the table has made a full revolution

And there you go, you have a complete point cloud representing your object.

Step 1: What do you need ?

Here is the list of all the parts you need to build the scanner:

· A bunch of M3 (16 and 20 mm)

· A bunch of M4 (12 and 20 mm)

· 1x Arduino nano (Chinese copy, $4) http://www.befr.ebay.be/itm/NEW-Nano-V3-0-ATmega32...

· 1x Chinese Stepper Motor (28BYJ-48) and controller (ULN2003) (5$) http://www.befr.ebay.be/itm/Uln2003-Stepper-Motor...

· 1-4x Line laser 5v ($2.5$ piece) http://www.befr.ebay.be/itm/251688838898?ssPageNa...

· 1x Hercule HD Twist ($15) http://www.befr.ebay.be/itm/Hercules-HD-Twist-5-0...

· 20x20 profile (can be printed : there are plenty of STLs on the net)

· optional 3x 4mm roller ($0.3 piece) (624 bearings

Total: from $26.5 (1 laser) to $35 (4 lasers)

About the 2020 lengths: this is not really important. The only constraint is to have the camera seeing the whole table.

For example, here are the lengths I used for my build:

· 2 x 140mm

· 1 x 120mm

· 1 x 250mm

What to print

All the STL files can be found on Thingiverse:


· 1 x arm_left.stl

· 1x box.stl

· 1x box_door.stl

· 1x box_arduino_clamp.stl

· 1x arm_right.stl

· 1x CORNER.stl

· 1x MOTOR_MOUNT.stl

· 1 to 4 x laser_holder.stl


· 1x Camera_HOLDER_UPPER_PART.stl

· 1x center_axe_MINIMAL.stl OR 1x table_AXLE.stl (OPTIONAL)

· 3x roller_baseV2.stl

· you can print 12x M4_tslot_nut.stl if you use a 20x20 profile and you don't have any


· The 2020 profiles are just here for ease of use. You can use whatever you have: wood, metal, …

· If you want to use another camera, you will need to adapt “Camera_HOLDER_UPPER_PART” to match it

· The bearing are optional. They are only necessary if you want to scan heavy objects or don't have a perfectly flat table

· The build is simple, just look at the pictures. You can't do it wrong

· Put the motor at the center, place the 3 profiles around and screw them. Place the corner, screw, put the arms, screw, …

· There is a hole for each screw, you can’t get it wrong.

· For the wiring, please refer to the diagram.

<p>Hope it will helps : A French student named Hugo Benoit-Jannin have made a calibration tutorial, i hope it will help.</p><p><a href="https://github.com/Sardau/Sardauscan/blob/master/Tutoriel.Sardauscan3d.pdf" rel="nofollow">https://github.com/Sardau/Sardauscan/blob/master/T...</a></p>
<p>if i use laser &Phi;15mm. Do i need to adjust your laser_holder.stl file?</p>
<p>Still frustrated in calibration and the motor back lash.</p><p>but it is functional </p>
<p>motor backlash ? ... the backlash must not be very important, the motor only rotate in one direction.</p>
due to acceleration, deceleration and table inertia , the angle is not always accurate when I turn it 4x90 degrees it never arrive to the same point again<br>one more thing.<br>I managed to calibrate laser 1 and 2<br>I do not know how to calibrate laser 0 and laser 3<br>and please would you release some process files as a reference or guide for us.<br><br>thank you for this nice project and your reply to my comment
<p>Thank you for the great work. But I had problems with the calibration and I wanted to use it in Linux. So I decided to make a firmware that understands the G-Codes of Horus 3d Scanning software from BQ (https://github.com/bqlabs/horus). It works just with two lasers, but it has an auto calibration mode. The scan results are really good and the calibration works just fine. And it works in windows or Linux. If you are interested in the changed firmware I can share it.</p>
nice. yes please share.<br><br>having all the feature of the horus for 1/3 of the price. i think poeple will be interested.<br><br>me to to try the horus software ;)<br>
<p>Ok, here is the link to the code: </p><p><a href="https://drive.google.com/file/d/0BwQz2ycUnr3IU1UtVDJ3NGFrQU0/view?usp=sharing" rel="nofollow">https://drive.google.com/file/d/0BwQz2ycUnr3IU1UtV...</a></p><p>The program is kept very simple. I changed the Sardauscan firmware code to understand just the basic G-Codes. Only turning the table and turning the lasers on and off is implemented (speed adjustment does not work) but it is enough for scanning with Horus.</p><p>I made a video of a scan: </p><p><iframe allowfullscreen="" frameborder="0" height="281" src="//www.youtube.com/embed/cULZhQHzopM" width="500"></iframe></p>
please do<br>same problem here with the software
<p>can you just use one Line laser 5v?</p>
<p>Apologies if this has already been asked, but I could not see it, does it need to be that particular camera, or would anything do?</p>
<p>Greetings from South Africa :)</p><p>I am building my scanner ...<br>I have only 2 line lasers for my build will that matter? </p><p>if it is fine do i need to change it anywhere else ?</p>
<p>Does the direction of the turntable matter? Mine goes CCW, and your demo shows yours going Clockwise. Also does the sequence of the lasers matter? If so what is the sequence? Thanks... yours was my very first 3D print project, and it turned out pretty nice. Will post a pic when everything is tuned.</p>
BTW, my laser sequence is clockwise too.
Hello,<br><br>yes the direction of the turntable matter. (otherwise you could have symetric object)<br><br>the order of laser isn't important.
<p>What algorithm do you use to turn the images into a point cloud?</p>
<p>hello,</p><p>it is explained in the introduction of this instructables: just after the title &quot;How does it work?&quot;.</p><p>you can find all the code on github</p>
<p>hello Sardau</p><p>I am willing to use sardauscan laser Scanner, kindly may asked how to get the turning table (table_AXLE.stl), I all the STL files of the design is available except the file for table_AXLE. stl.</p><p>Also I want to build the circuit in schematic, what software you recommended me as I need to show my lecturer that project circuit function well in software first before I build the hardware part, I tried to use Proteus for building the circuit, unfortunately I didn't find the liner laser in the Proteus library and the type of stepper motor that you use for this project </p><p>any suggestion or guidance is highly appropriated </p><p>thank you </p>
<p>They look like these stepper motors that are very cheap from Amazon. <a href="https://www.amazon.co.uk/KOOKYE-28BYJ-48-4-Phase-Stepper-ULN2003/dp/B01H6F7O8C/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1482366011&sr=8-1&keywords=stepper+motor" rel="nofollow">https://www.amazon.co.uk/KOOKYE-28BYJ-48-4-Phase-S...</a></p><p>They come with the stepper driver board and are pretty cheap. I've used one in the past and have to say the steps aren't very reliable (also noted by other). There must be better types out there!</p>
hello, <br>the stl is this one https://github.com/Sardau/Sardauscan/blob/master/STL/table_AXLE.stl glued on a round shaped ikea mirror painted in black (but you can use whatever you want)<br><br>if you prefere, someone have made a stl for the whole table http://www.thingiverse.com/thing:1859020<br><br><br>for the program i can't help you, i'm a little bit &quot;old school&quot; for schematics, i use paper and pen ;)<br>but for the purpose of this instructable, i've used http://fritzing.org/home/ and photoshop.<br>
<p>Dear Sardau</p><p>Really thank you for your best cooperation and your kindness </p><p>thank you very much </p>
<p>hi. What is m3 and m4 any links or help would be apriciated</p>
M3, M4 are the metric size of the screws and bolts. (the diameter of the screws in mm)
<p>hi starting this build</p><p>are bearing size ? </p><p>624ZZ: ID 4mm OD 13mm Width 5mm ?</p>
<p>i tried to calibrate anyhow on myself for over a month now but still my head wont understand different things and to be honest i have the &quot;schnauze voll&quot; </p><p>when i start the correction matrix what should sit on the table? </p><p>beforethat at first i turn the lasers to little thing in the middle with flat surface to camera. making the lasers match with vertical line in the middle. if i understand right should the correction matrix show me the shape of scanned thingi but my results are weird. all 4 lasers show different crap....</p>
OK, before I attempt to make this I have a few questions.<br>1) Does this kind of thing have enough accuracy to get exact angles for things like prototyping that everything has to fit?<br>2) The extra two lasers are for improved accuracy right?<br>3) Do you know if getting a better camera would improve shape accuracy, or is it purely for color or whatever?
<p>How hard would it be to scale up the project to capture point cloud data of the interiors of buildings?</p>
<p>Now gonna try to calibrate ....</p>
<p>Now gonna try to calibrate ....</p>
<p>greetings, from Papua New Guinea.</p><p>I made the scanner, got it working. However when I scan I don't get a visualisation of the object on the right-hand side of the display. It goes through scan etc.... I can save the STL file and load it in an other 3D imaging program. What am I missing. I am running Sarduascan on Window 7</p>
opengl i think
<p>Hi, Sardau, this is my scan, please show me how to adjust. Thanks</p>
first you z of the camera is incorect by at least 30mm ( the object is not on the table)<br><br>a reflective table is not a good idea, the stange form for under the object is probably the relect of the laser. (but if your camera z is correct, it will be clipped)
<p>I have changed Y , so object is on table. I try to change Z cm by cm over +/- 30cm but not get the good image. I feel it is good just for some first slices, the distant of slices to the center not equal. Is there any way to adjust Z exactly? Please show me what is and how to correct matrix. Thanks</p>
<p>oups, i was talking about the Y not the Z sorry.</p><p>i don't understand what you mean by &quot;show me what is and how to correct matrix.&quot;. see adjust in step 3</p><p>go to correction matrix, </p><p>place the calibration object on the center of the table.</p><p>click &quot;quick scan&quot;. (each laser specific scan is in a specific color.)</p><p>use the mouse to perfectly superpose all the scans (all the different color, must be the same).</p><p>FYI: one square is 10x10 mm</p>
<p>Hi Sardau, i have made a Sardau scan acylic version, i do not underatand matrix calibrate, cannot type angle ( it auto generate random value). Is there any calibrate instruction in english ( i found a French, cannot traslate). Thanks Sardau.</p>
nice build !.<br><br>the angle is not random he is only &quot;rounded&quot; to a close radian value (converted to radian, and from radian to degree, to match the xyz position).<br><br>Sorry there is no english calibration document.
<p>Hello, fist of all i want to say that i love the product, it took me about 6 days to make because of all the shipping and making parts. Everything about it is awesome to me being a 15 year old learner. This project has helped me boost my ability's to the next level of fabrication and engineering. But here comes the annoying part, i need a bit of help... I have scrolled through almost all of the comments and haven't found a definitive answer to my question; which is, all of my lasers during the calibration process are generally doing fine accept laser 1... This laser during the correction matrix falls to the bottom left of the screen and when i scan with only that one it makes a fairly large and flatter version of what i was trying to scan. I have triple checked the angle of the laser in physical calibration and have made sure that the laser is aligned to the center. Any ideas would be a great help. Thanks, Gregory Redlon</p><p>Matrix laser 1 laser 0</p>
It i very strange:<br><br>if you are sure your physical and your build dimentions are totaly correct.<br><br>go to the corection matrix, click &quot;clear all lasers&quot; an redo the corrections.<br><br>scale rottate and translate all the laser scan to match each other.<br><br>FYI: for the scale, a square is 10mm by 10mm
<p>Hello, So what you said earlier worked very well,thank you for that. sadly, I have a few more purtinate questions. One being, is there a good way to get rid of the knife edges, i have only tried using the two filters because of how long it takes to make a quality scan each time and then having to make a new one if you don't like that one. Also, going with the previous question, is there a way to apply the &quot;filters&quot; for lack of better grammar, to the object without having to scan the whole thing over again? this would make things go a lot faster. And lastly, the scanner image that is made resembles the scanned object mostly, witch is great, but there is one thing that i doesn't exactly make sense, witch is when i scan my object the thing that comes out on my computer is kind of stretched, similar to the way putty would in the sense that the outside compresses a little and the height (the measurement going up if i have my grammar mixed up) becomes extended. the preview of the camera shows that it is not due to my camera, my only thought is something is wrong in the build dimensions some how even though every thing else still works fine as is. Best regards, Gregory Redlon</p><p>Scanned object is a girl wearing a large dress with her hands folded in her lap and she is wearing a hat. In the pic she is looking left FYI. also i am not sure how to remove the fuzz in front of, and behind of her, when i make it into a mash it makes these jagad, sharp spikes.</p><p><a href="https://www.instructables.com/files/deriv/F3M/YU7C/IQ14YCT3/F3MYU7CIQ14YCT3.LARGE.jpg" rel="nofollow"></a></p>
<p> you can do a process &quot;scan&quot;+&quot;Save Sar&quot;.</p><p>to scan the raw data. then you clear the tasks</p><p>and then &quot;load sar&quot;+ whatever filter you want. this way you dont have to rescan.</p><p>if your objects are stretched : you can use the scale task or you can scale it via the correction matrix view(but laser by laser)</p>
Ok so how do you use the scale task, when I open it its x,1 y,1 z,1. And when you say, laser by laser, do you mean like enlarge the top view to make it bigger, because I need the total z or height dimension to be shorter.
<p>it you set x:2 for example, the resulting x will be 2 time larger. if you set y:0.5 y size will be half, etc...</p>
Ok thank you so much for the help, I really appreciate it. Love the scanner, it's such an awesome project. Gregory Redlon
<p>is there a way to make the degrees that the stepper motor changes to a smaller quantity to make a slower but more &quot;full&quot; scan so it wont have the large gaps and odd dips and dives? also i was wondering what settings you used with the kitty print because i can get nothing near as nice as that scan with the settings i am using. another thing how did you make the actual colors of the scan to come out instead of the basic Ruby, gold, emerald,etc... colors?</p>
<p>I don't remember exaclty. bu i think i've scan in 800x600 with a precision of 75 or 85. </p><p>angle filter of 3&deg; (i change that with the precision), then &quot;surface&quot; task, (but i don't remember the settings).</p><p>but the most important is that my scanner was correctly calibrated/configured.</p>
<p>select &quot;texture&quot; in the 3D viewer.</p>
it is the &quot;precision&quot; in the scan task settings ( litle gears icons on the task row)
<p>Has anyone made a troubleshooting guide for calibration/tuning?</p><p>Quite a long list of comments to go through.</p>
I am having an issue with the build dimensions. I guess I'm not understanding how to find those measurements like the angles of the 4 lasers, and X,Y,Z axis. I did rough measurements of the bed height and distance from center of bed to where the camera sits(LifeCam HD5001) but my test scans are all over the place. Any help would be greatly appreciated. I searched back quite a ways and didn't see anything that would help me.

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