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>Hi,</p><p>Excellent project and I'm well on with my build. I have a quick question.</p><p>I have got the 20x20 extrusion as recommended, but the 120mm piece seems to be too long for holding the camera/laser mechanism; the one in the picture seems to show the mechanism a lot closer than if I use a120mm piece. Is the height critical and if so what would be the right length?</p><p> Many thanks</p>
<p>Hi</p><p>please i need help:: how to recover the color of my model.</p><p>I uploaded my model in .xyz in to meshlab and i got good result , but there no color </p><p>how i recover the color of my model </p><p>please any suggestion or guidance i will really appropriate </p><p>thank you </p>
Hello,<br><br>the xyz file only store x y ans z informations of points. it doesn't store the color informations.
<p>thank you for your cooperation.. </p><p>which file format you suggest me to export from sardauscan??</p><p>that help me to get the color information in meshlab</p><p> thank you </p>
<p>Hi!</p><p>I have arduino UNO board and it <br>doesnąt response on serial commands. After I open serial monitor and <br>tzpe there &quot;Sardauscan&quot; it should response &quot;yes&quot;, but it doesn't. Sketch<br> is compiliing fine. Does anybody have same problem? It doesn't <br>communicate with sarduscan application.</p><p>In compiling I have only this warning:</p><p>&quot;</p><p>In file included from C:\Users\Misia\Desktop\STEPSTICK ARDUINO PROBA\2\Sardauscan-master\FirmWare\FirmWare.ino:1:0:<br><br>sketch\SerialCommand.h:51:2: warning: #warning &quot;Warning: Building SerialCommand without SoftwareSerial Support&quot; [-Wcpp]<br><br> #warning &quot;Warning: Building SerialCommand without SoftwareSerial Support&quot;<br><br> ^<br><br>sketch\SerialCommand.h:60:0: warning: &quot;SERIALCOMMAND_HARDWAREONLY&quot; redefined<br><br> #define SERIALCOMMAND_HARDWAREONLY<br><br> ^<br><br>sketch\SerialCommand.h:47:0: note: this is the location of the previous definition<br><br> #define SERIALCOMMAND_HARDWAREONLY 1<br><br> ^<br><br>In file included from sketch\SerialCommand.cpp:26:0:<br><br>sketch\SerialCommand.h:51:2: warning: #warning &quot;Warning: Building SerialCommand without SoftwareSerial Support&quot; [-Wcpp]<br><br> #warning &quot;Warning: Building SerialCommand without SoftwareSerial Support&quot;<br><br> ^<br><br>sketch\SerialCommand.h:60:0: warning: &quot;SERIALCOMMAND_HARDWAREONLY&quot; redefined<br><br> #define SERIALCOMMAND_HARDWAREONLY<br><br> ^<br><br>sketch\SerialCommand.h:47:0: note: this is the location of the previous definition<br><br> #define SERIALCOMMAND_HARDWAREONLY 1&quot;</p>
<p>Hi dear MichalR23</p><p>did you fixed the problem because i facing the same problems</p><p>please guide me how to solve this problem</p><p>thank you</p>
Hi,<br><br>there is a critical bug in line with &quot;identfication&quot; function. There is &quot;tification&quot; instead of &quot;identification&quot; word. Find it and change it. Moreover You must have serial monitor/ide closed when want to connect with software.
<p>thank you really </p><p>i solved the problem , my arduino nano was damaged i replace with new one and it work perfect.</p><p>thank you again </p>
<p>hello, check your baudrate ( see configuration.h it is set to #defineSERIAL_BAUD115200)</p>
<p>Yes, it is set to </p><p>#define SERIAL_BAUD 115200</p><p>I didn't change anything in your Firmware, so I don't know where is the problem :/</p>
<p>hiii sardau </p><p>I am using I have arduino NANO board</p><p>my stepper motor is rotating only counter clock wise when i adjust from the turning table, it does not rotate in clock wise.</p><p>and when i start to scan the stepper motor does not rotate...</p><p>please help me </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>i don't tink your laser position and/or build dimention are correct.</p>
<p>if i use laser &Phi;15mm. Do i need to adjust your laser_holder.stl file?</p>
<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>

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